Friday, October 8, 2010

Mission trip to the Los Angeles Dream Center - PART1 - SKID ROW

Statistics from
There are at least 91,000 homeless people each night in Los Angeles County. About 15-20,000 homeless people live on “Skid Row”. This is a ten square block area at the center of downtown Los Angeles. At any given time at least half the homeless population literally sleeps on the streets. The average age of homeless person is around 40 years old. One third to one half of the homeless population is women and girls.
Causes of homelessness shown in research tend to include the following:
  • Lack of affordable housing
  • Poverty
  • Low-paying jobs and labor market changes
  • Unemployment
  • Mental illness
  • Substance abuse
  • Changes and cuts in public assistance
  • Domestic violence
  • Changes in family structure
  • Prison release
  • Chronic health problems
  • Lack of access to affordable health care

Heading to the LA Dream Center, I expected to learn a lot of "facts" and information about budgets, help with establishing a non-profit organization, securing funding, etc., to help our church establish a Dream Center here in Collinsville, VA.  While I did learn a lot about these things, I am SO grateful for the life-experiences that I was not expecting - like the time our group spent ministering to the people who call Skid Row "home".

Trying to describe Skid Row is like trying to describe labor pains to someone who has never experienced childbirth.  Words cannot fully describe the intensity of the sights, sounds and smells that make up Skid Row - amongst which, people are existing - not living, existing.  Stray animals live in better conditions.....

I felt a little desperation come over me when I realized that the cookies and water our group was distributing was gone within a matter of minutes - leaving me looking into the eyes of three dear souls who were waiting for their portion.   Telling them that we had no more, was heartbreaking.  I was quickly aware that I had nothing to offer except a few moments of my time, the offer of a prayer and a hug.  It wasn't until after our group was back at the Dream Center that I realized that those things were, in fact, the best things any of us had to offer.  NO ONE turned down my offer of prayer; NO ONE turned down my offer of a hug.  They accepted those gifts as quickly as others had taken water and cookies from me.

Holding filthy hands in prayer, hugging someone who smells of old body waste, urine or alcohol becomes a precious experience when you realize that you are an extension of Christ's love to that person.  It was truly a privilege to spend time with these precious people who God loves as much as you and me.

We may not have a Skid Row here in Henry County, VA but pain, loneliness, hunger and despair are universal languages which are spoken as clearly here as in Los Angeles.  As Christians, we are called to address these issues.  James 2:14-17 says, "What good is it my brothers if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?"  Can such faith save him?  Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes or daily food?  If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well fed." but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead."

God has called us to action - to build a Dream Center here in Henry County in order to demonstrate His love; to meet  people at the point of their needs, to rebuild lives and offer hope that is only found with a relationship with Him through Christ.  Visiting the LA Dream Center - seeing their ministries in action and hearing testimonies of lives changed - allowed me to clearly understand the impact that a Dream Center can have in our community.

To learn more about the (original) LA Dream Center and it's 200+ outreach ministries, please click this link:  

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My brother's keeper - update!

I made a decision not to blog again until I had something positive to report regarding James, the gentleman I wrote about in my last blog.  Hmm…..May was the last blog entry – a long time waiting for something positive to happen in the life of someone who has so many odds stacked against him. 
Shortly after my last post, James was able to rent a spare room from a lady who attends church with us.  Securing a place to live was the first step necessary for the long process of rebuilding his life.
I am thrilled to report that James has just begun week 2 of his new job; a very good job which allows James the opportunity to provide his young daughter with health care and hopefully, a chance for advancement in the future.  Though the monetary pay is certainly not in balance with James’ work experience, the intangible benefits are priceless!  You cannot put a dollar amount on regaining one’s self-esteem or hope. 
James is also excelling in his GED classes, scoring above High School level in some subjects!  I can hardly wait to cheer him on at his graduation ceremony!
 Though our paths in life certainly aren’t without sharp detours and potholes, we can find ourselves back on track if we remember to cling to our faith, trusting that nothing comes our way that is not first Father-filtered.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.”  Psalm 46:1-3,7

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I AM my brother's keeper.

By the time a man reaches the age of 57, he's most likely looking forward to retirement or at least easing back a bit on his workload.  But, what happens when this man finds himself laid off from his job, lost within a sea of others who comprise a (now) 30% unemployment rate in our community?  He becomes a statistic within the new generation of homeless in our country.  A generation that is growing at such a rapid rate that government agencies, faith-based and benevolent groups cannot keep up with.

Meet James.  He is not an alcoholic, not an addict, not a felon and does not suffer from mental illness.  If he fit into one of these "categories" it might be easier to understand his current situation.  James has worked hard his entire life, beginning as a child picking tobacco at the farm where he grew up.  As an adult, he worked at one of our local furniture manufacturers, ultimately becoming a supervisor.  When that company relocated overseas, James went to work for another manufacturer which, ultimately swept him out with dozens of other workers in one of its many layoffs.  That was a year and a half ago. 

When his unemployment compensation could no longer keep up with rent, utilities and other basic expenses, James found himself with barely more than the clothes on his back.  A local church paid for several nights in one of our low-cost motels which, is where I first met James.  The motel manager called my pastor because it was obvious to her that James was in need of assistance.  He was not expecting me, so when I met him sitting with his Bible open and TV tuned to a church service, I knew he was not setting a stage for my sake.  Rather, he was clinging to his faith while trying to wrap his mind around the circumstances that had now become his life.  A life that no longer supports a once hard-working man's basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. 

So what does the future hold for James?  The answer to that monumental question is not clear right now.  What is clear though - I AM my brother's keeper and so are you if we are followers of Christ.  

When you meet (a) James, and chances are you will, what will you do? 
1 John 3:17 "But if someone who is supposed to be a Christian has money enough to live well, and sees a brother in need, and won't help him--how can God's love be within him?"
1 John 3:18 "Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions." 
1 John 3:19 "Then we will know for sure, by our actions, that we are on God's side, and our consciences will be clear, even when we stand before the Lord."

My Brother’s Keeper Prayer
Lord . . .
When I have food, Help me to remember the hungry.
When I lie in my bed, Help me to remember those who sleep on the floor.
When I have a warm home, Help me to remember the homeless.
When I have work, Help me to remember those without jobs.
When I experience the joy of giving to my children, Help me to remember the agony of those who must watch their children go without.
By remembering, Help me to destroy my indifference and arouse my compassion.
Make me concerned enough to act in your name, to help those who cry out to you for that which I so often take for granted.

(Prayer from

A portion of proceeds from every purchase you make from one of my Websites goes to help someone who is hungry, hurting or homeless.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The ugly truth - my prejudice


Truly believing, from an early age, that people are people- good and bad, I have NEVER been able to understand why anyone could dislike, let alone HATE someone, because of their skin color.  Just doesn't compute in my brain.  So, I'm not prejudice, am I?

The idea that someone could be the victim of a hate crime because they choose to worship differently than I do is a foreign concept to me.  I've always believed that God doesn't care HOW we worship him - as long as we do.  So, I'm not prejudice...... am I?

A woman intimately loving a woman, or a man intimately loving a man, isn't something I pretend to fully understand and yet, I'd rather love those individuals for their friendship and the way they have enriched my life, than to hate them because of WHO they love.  So........I'm not prejudice, am I.........?

Recently, I came to a horrible, embarrassing and humbling realization.....I AM prejudice. 

While dreaming and praying about the homeless shelter and Dream Center our church is working towards building, I was imagining the precious people our group will be serving and ministering to.  There will be hundreds and eventually thousands of folks who, like those we've served since the first of this year, need physical and spiritual help.  Regardless of their skin color, their religious belief, or sexual orientation, God loves each of these precious souls the same way He loves me.  I "get" that.

My struggle (and now I must admit and face the ugly truth)  my prejudice, lies in dealing with someone who has molested a child.  My personal reasons could cover a week's worth of blogging, and honestly, would be an effort to (try to) validate my opinion and feelings.  Truth - however I tried to justify my feelings, they are still strong prejudicial feelings that have NO place in my heart or thought process if I truly want to serve as Christ would.  If I strive to be a Christian, then I must be willing to become His hands, feet, eyes and heart to the world; the ENTIRE world - I don't get to pick and choose WHO to minister to, WHO to show compassion to, WHO to show love to.  Christ's time on the cross was for ALL of us.  His love was for ALL of us.  His gift of salvation is for ALL of us who ask for forgiveness, repent and accept Him......even the ex-child molester.   For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:16-17

So, my ugly truth is out in the open.  I challenge you to prayerfully ask God to reveal any prejudice that may be lurking in your heart.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

.."And under His wings you will find refuge." Psalm 91:4

I truly believe that we, as individuals and a society, can learn a lot from the precious animals that live amongst us.  There are lessons to be learned in acceptance, pure love, safety, prejudices, etc., from the following story, Noah The Dove.  Rather than script this further, or add a personal insight, I wanted to share the simplicity of this beautiful story that has been circulating around the world.  Enjoy.

Noah the Dove These little bunnies, about 6 days old, were attacked by a dog and orphaned. Two out of the litter of five did not survive, and these three were not doing very well.

Noah is a non-releasable, one-legged homing pigeon/rock dove that is in the rehab centre. Noah kept going over to the bunny cage and looking in -- even sleeping in front of the door to the cage.

Then, suddenly, there were only two bunnies in the cage.  When Noah moved a bit from the front of the cage to everyone's surprise...there was the tiny bunny...under Noah's wing...sound asleep! That little bunny rabbit had crawled through the cage, preferring a featherbed, no doubt to snuggling up with its littermates!

Now, they are all together and the bunnies are doing GREAT. When the bunnies scoot underneath Noah's feathers, he carefully extends his wings out to surround them and then they snuggle. When one of them moves and they start sticking out here and there, he gently pushes them back under him with his beak!  It is beautiful and amazing to see...  

Update on Noah the pigeon:
We are Bob and Georganne Lenham of Wild Rose Rescue Ranch in  Texas , home of Noah the Pigeon.
After finding many posts online featuring Noah and the bunnies and reading about the many lives he has touched (his story has been forwarded around the world) we thought we'd post a follow-up and a few new photos.
We knew there was something special about Noah the moment we saw him.
Although the bunnies seem to be his favorite, Noah helps out with many rescue babies here at the Wild Rose Rescue Ranch...
Noah's first litter of bunnies, almost raised and  ready for release.

Now, Noah helps out with many rescue babies here at the ranch...
How wonderful it is to have a full-time soft-feathered nurturer here at the rescue ranch! He cuddles with all the babies as they snuggle under his warm feathers...and he "coos" as if singing them to sleep with a lullaby.  
Noah is truly, truly a God-send.

He will cover you with His feathers
And under His wings you will find refuge.
Psalm 91:4 
This is what God does with us when we need the warmth and love He offers. He gathers us under His loving wings to a warm cradle of protection. All we need do in return is give Him the thanks and praise for being with us.

Friday, April 9, 2010

"And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." Hebrews 10:17

" The Room.."

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings.

As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I have liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.

A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I have betrayed." The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed at."

Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've yelled at my brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger", "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents Often there were many more cards than expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived.

Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to fill each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.

When I pulled out the file marked "TV Shows I have watched," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of shows but more by the vast time I knew that file represented.
When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An almost animal rage broke on me.

One thought dominated my mind: No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards...
But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it. Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh

And then I saw it. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.

And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt. They started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room.. I must lock it up and hide the key. But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him.

No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes.

Why did He have to read every one? Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room.. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me.

Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files.. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card. "No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him.. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, and so alive.

The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood. He gently took the card back He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."

I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Modern Day Hero!

Photo credits:

"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills."

1Corinthians 12:4-11

As horrific as the daily reports are that come out of Haiti, there are many miracles occurring too. Reports of people working in unbelievable conditions, using their God-given talents to do what they can to salvage lives, is inspirational. There are also people who are working stateside, using their God-given talents to not only salvage the lives of the people of Haiti, but also to dramatically change their lives forever. These people are unsung heroes whom you may never hear about on CNN, never read about on Yahoo or in your newspaper. But, they are there, working behind the scenes with the grace of angels and the perseverance
of an Army General.

One of these HEROES is Shaun King. Shaun is a young man, just 30 years old, but his wisdom is greater than many men twice his age. As a husband, father to 5 children and pastor of a year old church in downtown Atlanta (aptly named **Courageous Church) Shaun is no stranger to leadership and organization. He is no stranger to suffering either, having come close to death himself through a tragic accident. Perhaps it is these life experiences that help to fuel Shaun's passion to press on to help others.

Almost immediately following the earthquake, Shaun began organizing teams of doctors and volunteers to go to the aid of the Haitian people. Obstacles and political red tape are no match for Shaun's Pit Bull tenacity. When he hears of a new situation requiring help, Shaun digs his heels in and does whatever needs to be done to get the right people and supplies delivered. One such situation required contact with a Naval Hospital ship off the coast of Haiti. No easy task. As a Navy Mom, I'm well aware of the limited communications with deployed sailors. Yet, somehow, once again, Shaun rose to the challenge and jumped through whatever hoops he had to, trying to coordinate medical care for many of Haiti's wounded who required brain surgery.

Shaun's latest, and perhaps largest mission, is aimed at the evil people who are trafficking precious children in Haiti. Sadly, this is not a new problem in Haiti, but with Shaun pressing forward for change, perhaps it will soon be a thing of the past. If anyone can mobilize an army to eradicate this situation, I have no doubt that it is Shaun King.

I hope one day I can meet you in person and give you a "Mama hug" for all the good you are doing with your God-given talents. If not here, then I'll look for you in Heaven one day. Shaun, you truly are a modern day hero!

**If you would like to learn more about Shaun's work and how you can help with your God-given talents, you can follow him on Twitter, or read his blog at

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pray, pray, PRAY!

Psalm 61:1-4

Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.

From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.

I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.

Like many of you, I awoke this morning thinking about the tragic situation in Haiti. My heart breaks with news of orphans dying, mass graves being dug, amputations performed without adequate anesthesia......Photos of precious souls with emptiness in their eyes, rip at my gut. The Mama in me wants to be there to rock the babies in my arms, stroke the faces of the dying, pray with the mourning and hold the injured. Reality being what it is though, for now, I am doing what I can by praying for those who ARE with the babies, the injured, the mourning and the dying.
If ever there was a time to "pray without ceasing", it is now. Pray, pray, PRAY people!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti - what will you do to help?

Prov. 21:13 He who shuts his ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in his own time of need.

Mother Teresa said, "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one." With the greatest depth of compassion, she did what she could with what she had in order to bring the love of God to hurting souls. She did not allow the magnitude of the work ahead of her to overwhelm her to the point of doing nothing. Perhaps it is a coping mechanism, but often when faced with a crisis as large as Hurricane Katrina or the earthquake in Haiti, we do nothing because we feel our efforts would be insignificant. Please don't buy into that lie! Certainly, most of us will not be called to physically go to Haiti, but each of us can show love and compassion to these precious people. Every dollar helps! Each of us can do something. No good, done in the name of God, is insignificant. Please, open your heart and your wallet and give what you can to one of the wonderful agencies who are already operating within Haiti. For a partiall list of some of these agencies, you can follow the link below: God bless you and the precious people in Haiti.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"A True Christmas Miracle" (by Hope Kerkof)

The power of God's love can cut through the hardest of hearts. The power of His compassion can restore hope to those who have long ago given up on themselves and society. The power of His mercy and grace can transform an existence into life, restoring dignity and self-worth.

The following link takes you to one of the most compelling stories I have read in a very, very long time, "A True Christmas Miracle" by Hope Kerkof. Them power of God's love, compassion, mercy and grace flow from Hope and Kevin Kerkof into the life of a homeless man, "William".

Grab a handful of Kleenex, you'll need

Monday, December 21, 2009

PLEASE, remember the forgotten at Christmas!

Stock photo, not necessarily depicting homeless in VA.

Dear Friends and Family,

It is hard to believe that 5 years have gone by since Tom and I moved to Martinsville, VA. Even harder to believe is the continual rise in unemployment and poverty in this area.

This region of VA has a rich history rooted in furniture manufacturing including such companies as Hooker, Bassett and Stanley. Martinsville was once known as The Sweatshirt Capital of the World, and was home to America's largest contract embroidery company. Sadly, these companies, along with many others, have either closed altogether or moved their plants out of our country. Martinsville and Henry County are now known for having the highest unemployment rate in the state, currently at 19.7 percent.

Adding to the struggles of the unemployed is the fact that many people have seen their electric bills double within the last 5 years due to Appalachian Power Co. rate hikes. Unemployed and underemployed people simply lack the funds to adequately heat their homes. Yet, they are the lucky ones – at least in the eyes of the homeless here; earlier this year, Martinsville’s homeless shelter closed its doors.

Though the facts of life are tough for so very many here, the people are some of the finest I’ve met in my life. There is a true sense of community here, the type I used to only here as elders spoke of, “the good old days

when neighbors helped neighbors.” I’ve seen time and time again, people willing to give to others in need when they had virtually nothing to give. You’ve heard of the type of folks who would give you the shirt off of

their backs? These are the type of people I’m proud to say live here.

Local churches and individuals are launching programs to do what they can to assist the people in Martinsville and Henry County. I’m excited to say that Tom and I will be helping as our church begins feeding the homeless and others in need in January. And, recently I began a blanket program to purchase washable wool blend, American made blankets for the homeless and those who cannot afford to adequately heat their homes.

Mother Teresa said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” It is with this philosophy in mind that I am asking those of you who can, to please consider making a donation of $12.66 to purchase one blanket. Should donations exceed the number of blankets needed, 100% of any remaining funds will be used for our church’s meal program.

This has been an extremely tough financial year for most of us. If you are not able to make a donation, would you please add the blanket and meal programs to your daily prayers? That would be a wonderful gift!

God bless,


Donations can be sent to:

Donna or Tom Pratt

P.O. Box 4669

Martinsville, VA 24115

Please make a notation on your check: Blanket Program

Thursday, December 10, 2009

We are Christ's "body" on earth

"Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours, no feet but yours.

Yours are the eyes through which to look at Christ's
compassion to the world.

Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good.

And yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now."
~St. Teresa of Avila 1515-1582

Though these words were penned in the 1500's, they are SO very true today. As followers of Christ, we are commanded to love our fellow man as He would. We are to do the work that He began here so long ago. As individuals, we fall short of the ability to change a nation but, as individuals, we can each do something to make someone's life better. If each of us do something our community will be a better place.

Today, pray asking God what He would have YOU do. Then, open your heart, your eyes and your spirit for the answer.

Father, open my eyes, my spirit and my heart today and show me what I can do to help even one person. Help me to be sensitive to your Holy Spirit's leading so that I don't miss an opportunity to serve others for you. Amen

"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:17-18

support our efforts to bring the gift of warmth and compassion to the homeless. Purchase ANY cross pendant or necklace from either of our websites and 100% of the profits go to buy Friendship Blankets for the homeless. If you'd prefer, for just $12.66, you can purchase a Friendship Blanket in honor or memory of someone special. We make NO monestary profit on the Friendship Blankets. Our profit is knowing that you and I are making a difference in people's lives. Please, open your hearts!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Give me your eyes (Lord)

"There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land."
Deuteronomy 15:11

Christmas is approaching and as usual, my mind is racing with all the "things" I need to do or will be doing with friends and family. This wonderful time of the year is precious to me, but I'm becoming more and more aware that for many others, this time of the year is especially tough. Financial worries, lost loved ones, and loneliness are just a few of the burdens that so many dear souls carry daily but are exaggerated during the Christmas holiday. Many people will not receive a single card or gift this Christmas.......and too many have no place to call home.

Lord Jesus, help me to see the lonely, the broken hearted. Move my heart to do whatever I can to show your love and compassion to everyone whose eyes I look into as I busily go about preparing for this blessed season. Give me YOUR eyes, Lord. Amen

Brandon Heath Lyrics – Give Me Your Eyes

Looked down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight
Touched down on the cold black tile
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breath in the familiar shock
Of confusion and chaos
Are those people going somewhere?
Why have I never cared?

Give me your eyes for just one second Give me your eyes so I can see Everything that I keep missing Give me your love for humanity Give me your arms for the broken hearted The ones that are far beyond my reach Give me your heart for the once forgotten Give me your eyes so I can see
yeah .. yeah .. yeah .. yeah

Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide whats underneath
There’s a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
To ashamed to tell his wife
He’s out of work
He’s buying time
Are those people going somewhere?
Why have I never cared?

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me your heart for the once forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see
yeah .. yeah .. yeah .. yeah

I’ve been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just moving past me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way you see the people all alone

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me your heart for the once forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see
yeah .. yeah .. yeah .. yeah

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me your heart for the once forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see
yeah .. yeah .. yeah .. yeah

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Words to live by.

Thanks to Rose who sent this to me.


"People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you'e got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It never was between you and them anyway."

~Mother Teresa

Please support our efforts to bring the gift of warmth and compassion to the homeless. Purchase ANY cross pendant or necklace from either of our websites and 100% of the profits go to buy Friendship Blankets for the homeless. If you'd prefer, for just $12.50, you can purchase a Friendship Blanket in honor or memory of someone special. We make NO monestary profit on the Friendship Blankets. Our profit is knowing that you and I are making a difference in people's lives. Please, open your hearts!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

He is in control of all situations.

I'm a pretty upbeat and positive person by nature but yesterday I found myself feeling a bit blue most of the day. Lingering within my thoughts was the fact that sales have dropped on my websites rather than increasing during what is typically known as the start of the Christmas shopping season. My desire for sales is truly not for personal income because I'm blessed to have a husband who provides very well in that area. But, I want to serve God by helping my church family provide food and blankets for the homeless in our community. God has clearly put in my heart to give 100% of all profits made from the sale of any cross pendant or cross necklace I sell to buy blankets. I am to give 10% of all other profits to help buy food.

Seeing no sales the past week, left me feeling discouraged. By the time I was ready to turn the computer off last night, my discouragement had turned to a low-grade anger. From the desktop view on my computer monitor, I saw the links to my two websites. I sat there looking at the links for a few moments, then decided to step out on faith, put my fingers on the screen, and pray. If this seems foreign to you, let me just say that touching the screen was simply a tangible point of contact for my prayers nothing more. I prayed that God would allow me to make a sale on both of my websites. This was truly stepping out in faith because I'm used to making a sale on one site or the other, not both in one day. I told God that I would give him the honor for the sales.

Well folks, this morning when I checked my e-mails, there were two sale notifications - one for each of my websites!!! My heart was so full that my eyes were flooding with tears. God was clearly reminding me that He is in control, that He hears my prayers, and that He knows the attitude of my heart.

I was also reminded that because I am obeying what God has directed me to do, I can rest in knowing that He will handle the outcome. I must trust in God's timing, not my own. I must trust, knowing that though I may not understand, HE does. I am simply a vessel doing what I am purposed to do. I am not responsible for anything other than that!
Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust the Lord completely; don't ever trust yourself. In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success."

Father, I thank you for the lessons you continue to teach me as I struggle to remove my feelings and emotions from situations, to do what you have called me to do, and to turn the rest over to you. I thank you Lord for answering prayers and renewing the passion that is in my heart to help others. Thank you Lord for allowing me to be a vessel to show your love to others. Forgive my doubting heart and I thank you for for reminding me that your timing is perfect in all situations! Amen.

Please support our efforts to bring the gift of warmth and compassion to the homeless. Purchase ANY cross pendant or necklace from either of our websites and 100% of the profits go to buy Friendship Blankets for the homeless. If you'd prefer, for just $12.66, you can purchase a Friendship Blanket in honor or memory of someone special. We make NO monestary profit on the Friendship Blankets. Our profit is knowing that you and I are making a difference in people's lives. Please, open your hearts!