Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cherished Outreach - September

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ~ Ephesians 2:1-10

This was the chapter I read for my quiet time today, and it was so perfect for the outreach tonight. I was once dead, and now because of God's grace am alive. I go to let people know God loves them, people who are the same as I was before I surrendered and was saved by grace. It sounds so cheesy and "christian" to say, but it's true.

Tonight was really good. My friend Sarah went with me, and we took chocolate chip cookies for the guys and mug with packets of hot chocolate in them for the girls. A few women from church got together and painted the mugs. They all either said "You are Loved", "I have loved you with an everlasting love" or "She is worth far more than rubies". I prayed so hard that they would be taken in the spirit they are given, and that no one would be offended or feel preached at. All the women we saw acted very blessed and seemed to like them, so I hope the other girls who come in later feel the same way.

We walked in and talked to the guys (2 bouncers, bartender and dj). They were friendly and I was struck by what a difference it is from how cold they were for the first 10 months we were going in. One of the bouncers gave me his email address so I could invite his wife to a playdate, which I'm really excited about. They have 2-year-old twins, so we always talk about kids. He promised to give her my message when I email him. We made small talk with the other guys and I asked the dj about coming to church (he's said over and over he's going to come), and he ducked his head and said he'll come sometime. I told him I'd keep after him about it. :-) He doesn't mind my asking him about it, which I'm thankful for.

Then we went and talked to a dancer and the waitress who were sitting at the bar. The dancer was very excited because she is going to be reunited with her son in the near future. He's been with a family member for almost 6 months, but she's been able to visit and call. Now she's almost done with a program and classes and has done everything she was told to do to get him back. I'm so excited for her. She almost cried when she was telling me how long he's been gone and how much she missed him. I also invited her and the waitress to church, and the waitress was quick to let me know she still attends the church she grew up in. :-)

We took the mugs into the dressing room and talked to the girl who was getting ready in there. She was very friendly, but it was surface-level conversation. As we were starting to prepare to leave, 2 more girls came busting in and one of them seemed angry. Her boyfriend (?) was talking to her from the other side of the "door" (it's a curtain) so we packed up to leave, but then he left. We said hi to the girls who came in, and they liked the mugs, but it was time to go. But when I gave the first girl a hug as we left, one of the others reached to give me a hug. I'm so lucky to get to do this ministry. It means a lot to me that she wanted a hug. When we left I asked Sarah about her perspective and she said the thing that stuck out to her was how much I touch the girls. I hug them, but more than that, I touch their arm from time to time while we talk. I learned in the training we did in LA that it's really good to give 'healthy touch' as much as is comfortable for them (and me!), as it might be the only healthy touch than they get all night. Mostly it's just another way to let them know we care.

I love these girls. Please pray God brings them out of this darkness and they want Him.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Look at me, regularly posting!

I know that two posts in two weeks doesn't really count as "regularly posting" but it's a start, people.

Yesterday was the best day ever. Maybe not ever, but it really really helped my life. To catch you up, I've been to the eye doctor way too much lately. I lost a contact a while back and that led me to get an updated prescription for my glasses. Then I found said contact and barely wore my glasses for a while. Then I started seeing "floaters" in my field of vision and went to have that checked out - totally normal apparently, and you just have to live with it. It's proteins floating in your eyeball, and sometimes you can see them. It's like having lint just float through your eye every once in a while, and you can't do a thing about it. Blech. THEN last week I completely lost my contacts. Woke up, went to put them in and my contact case was empty. I have cleaned more in the last week than usual, and cannot find them ANYWHERE. So in the meantime, I'm wearing my glasses, of course. The problem is, I start noticing that the glasses are not as good as my contacts. Everything more than 5 feet away starts to get blurrified. Which makes me utterly miserable. And our insurance won't pay for new contacts until January 30th, so that's when I'll go get more. I know that I shouldn't allow my circumstances to determine my mood or affect my peace, but it really did. I just felt like I was in a funk. Ergo, less posting.

But then yesterday happened. I finally was fed up enough to call Dr. Bizer's and ask what it would cost to re-check my prescription, because it's really that bad. (FREE!) So I dropped the kids off at my Mom's yesterday morning (so glad to say see ya later to a fussy, teething baby for an hour) and went to check my eyes. And thank goodness, it wasn't just me. They really were as bad as I thought. Dr. Swartzentruber told me I had had a drastic change in my prescription in just one month, and that she thought it was good that I lost my contacts. Her thought is that my (hard) contact lenses were re-shaping my eye in a bad way, and now that I'm not wearing them, my eyes are shifting back. So she gave me FREE contact lenses to wear for a few weeks to see if my eyes revert more. If they don't, we'll go ahead and get me new glasses, and if they do, we'll get new FREE contacts to wear until my eyes quit and we know what prescription my glasses need to be. This way I'm not getting new glasses every month. I was naturally concerned about whether or not my eye would just keep reverting until I was blind, but she said that wouldn't happen. She better hope not. :-)

So now I can see, and my life is better. I came home and did a bunch of cleaning because I could see the dirt more clearly. Happy day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Random Post to Catch-Up

Well team, it's been quite a while since I last posted. And I would say the reason for that was first business and then because all I could think to post about seemed like complaining, and I hate when people only use blogs and statuses and tweets to complain. It's annoying. But after a while, I started to think that maybe the 'nobility' of not posting to not complain smacked a little of laziness and ungratefulness for all that is wonderful in my life. Ok, maybe more than a little. :-) So here I am, back in black. (Actually in a gray EKU t-shirt, but you get the picture).

A quick recap on some of the highlights of the last month:

  • Stella is starting to get that pudgy, stuffed animal feel to her. I LOVE when babies feel like that. I just want to squeeze her to death! But I won't.
  • Josiah is awesome. I kind of thought that because I enjoy Stella so much I would start to think he was less fun, but that definitely hasn't happened. He's so funny, I love that we're getting into the "Kids Say The Darndest Things" phase. By far my favorite, though, is how he randomly shouts, "I LUB YOU MAMA" from whatever room he's in. It makes me so happy.
  • My husband is AMAZING. Our basement is looking so so good. I'll try to take some pictures so you can see, but it's been crazy how the more walls he's put up, the bigger the basement looks. We now have a bedroom, a couple of closets, and the bathroom walls up. Joe moved down last week and Stella moved out of our room and into her room upstairs, WHICH I LOVE. No more waking up everytime she grunts in the night. This past Saturday we had my family over to watch football in the basement and TJ even swept and mopped it for me. I am so blessed to have such a hard-working husband.
  • Yesterday was super-fun. DeeAnn Miller and I (and Stella) went up to Lexington to Once Upon A Child and Plato's Closet. I had a load of stuff to buy and to sell, and also picked up some fall boots at Rack Room. I am in love with my boots and am looking for excuses to go places so I can wear them. TJ initially asked that I get heeled boots, but all the heeled boots make me look like a pirate. Slouchy boots are definitely not flattering (at least for me). So I got the go-ahead for riding boots!! :-) I also did really good getting stuff for the kids, but I won't bore you with the details. It was a fun trip.
So those are just a few of the things I have to be happy about. I will admit the thing that does have my mood dragging a little bit is that I've lost my contacts. Not one, but both of them. I have absolutely no idea where they are. I thought they were in the contact case on the counter, but when I went to put them in, it was empty! As were all the other contact cases I have. I went through the trash twice (which was disgusting because everyone except for me has a cold) and looked in every crevice of the floor and toiletry bags I keep in the bathroom. No luck. Josiah says he played with the, but I'm not sure he actually did, as the case was exactly where I left it, with both sides closed. I think if he had been playing with it, it would have been in a different place and probably open. But I could be wrong. On the upside, I just got new glasses that I really like. On the downside, it seems that as I've gone without my contacts, my prescription is slightly blurry on the right side. I wear hard contact lenses, so they re-shape your eye. I imagine that the longer I go without them, my eye reverts to its bad shape and worse eyesight. It's extremely frustrating knowing that I would see more clearly if I had my contacts. But I keep telling myself I should just be happy I live in a country and time when I can get glasses to help me see as well as they do. Feel free to pray that my contacts turn up though.

Alright. Time to fold some laundry. I promise to more faithful in the posting. :-)