Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cherished Outreach - December

It's been 2 years this month.

It's gone so fast. I don't feel like I've been going into the club every month for the last 2 years, but I have. God has brought me to a completely different mindset about this ministry than I had two years ago, or even last year. I think I've kind of (at least I hope) gotten past worrying about what the results are going to be. As in, am I ever going to help a girl quit this job, this life? I've been reminded and understand that I have nothing to do with it. Only God can bring change into such a dark prison as this lifestyle. I think I've also been able to hang onto the hope that the visits and hugs and conversations we have are more meaningful than I'm aware of. I hope, and depend on God's promise that His word will not return empty, but accomplish what He desires and achieve the purpose for which He sent it (Isaiah 55:11). I've also come to understand that for a lot of these women it's so much more than just quitting a job. That sometimes, when there's sin or unhealthy habits and behaviors in our lives, God has to work on the circumstances that keep us going back to it before he turns our attention to that specific sin or behavior. I got the opportunity this week to talk to a girl who has a friend who dances. She wanted to know how to talk to her friend and encourage her away from this lifestyle in a loving, effective way. While I was talking to her I was able to share that I've learned there is so much more to dancing than just a job. At least there is for a lot of the women I've met. Many of them have built their friendships, community and lives around the place they work. To just up and quit would mean so much more than just leaving a typical 9-5 job. Now that's not all of them, but for the women I've gotten close to in the past couple of years, it's true. So to try to quit without spending time around people who encourage you will be extremely difficult. So it's one step at a time. My hope now is that they know that God loves them, and I can build a relationship with them when they're not working.

Back to the visit tonight. Diana Brosius was so wonderful this month. She single-handedly came up with our gift of handmade, glitter ornaments (thank you Pinterest!). They turned out super-cute, and because we coated them with glitter on the inside they won't shed everywhere! I'm going to have to make some of my own next year. It was easy and fun. Hairmaster (Stephanie) Liby also donated free haircuts for the girls, so please pray that some of them call her and get their hair done. Last time we had 2 people use the cards, so pray that more take that step and let themselves be pampered and loved on. We also made chocolate drop cookies for the guys who were working. It was raining all day today, and bad weather usually means a lot more customers for the club. Not sure why, although I could probably come up with some theories. We didn't get there until 6:30 (we usually get there closer to 6, right after they open) so I expected a busy atmosphere, but there were only 2-3 girls there and 1-2 customers. Anyway, we went in and chatted with "M" the bouncer about his family's Christmas plans. I invited them to church, but they'll be out of town all day. We headed to the dressing room and got a quick hug and "Hey!" from one of the girls who was running back and forth. She did stop long enough to say open a gift and a card and was really excited and happy about it. "P" was the only other girl in the dressing room and I realized that she was one of the girls I met on the first night 2 years ago. I asked how her kids were doing, (they live with a relative who has custody) and she said she hadn't talked to them in a while. She acted very matter-of-fact and breezy about it, and said the relative is mad at her about child support. "It'll be fine once I send some money to her," she said. I asked how long it had been since she had seen them, and she said, "Two years". The she grabbed her phone, checked the date, and said, "Two years tomorrow". Her voice changed a little bit and for just a second you could see some of her pain. She changed the subject and we talked about her plans to be with her boyfriend for Christmas and what movie they wanted to see. I invited her to church for Christmas or New Year's but she said she'd probably be hungover. Honestly, I'm glad she said it. I'm so grateful to be trusted with the truth than to have her hedge and say 'sure yeah' and not come.

The dj came into the dressing room to say hi and we chatted a little with him about his move to another town nearby. His dad recently died and he has been busy packing up the basement in his dad's house, which also flooded while his dad was in the hospital. I expressed sympathy, but he seems pretty ok with everything. He said again that he'll "be in church soon", but we'll see. I know he means it, but I know how easy excuses can crowd out good intentions. We'll just keep after him.

And that was it. I went home knowing it was a good visit, but just sad knowing a lot of these women don't get to be with their kids or all their family for Christmas. And regardless of the reasons for that, it still hurts. It's reminded me to pray for people who don't have the happy, joyous holiday I do. I hope you do too.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Jessie's Must-See Christmas Movies

I hate to state the obvious, but this will be a list of my favorite Christmas movies.

1. While You Were Sleeping - My family watches this movie every year. It is a die-hard (am I right?) Wood tradition. There is nothing not to love about it. "Are you ok? 'Cuz it looked like he was, ya know... Leaning." My dad is constantly throwing out "John Wayne was a tall man" when our family conversations get totally convoluted. :-) There is also the awesome scene of a newpaper kid wiping out on his bike.

Favorite Quote: "I don't want any flowers from you, I am not wearing black underwear, and I definitely do not want to move in with you, Jo.. JACK."

2. White Christmas - Classic. Enough said. ~ Ok, of course I have things to say. I have been watching (most) of this movie every year since I was a child. We had a VHS recording (pirated off tv) of White Christmas that somehow was missing the last quarter of the movie. So for me, it usually ended soon after the "Choreography" number. Which I LOVED because of Judy's awesome outfit. My other favorite part was when Judy did the rehearsal dance with random dance guy right before they realize that Betty's leaving. My other favorite part is when the guys dress up and do "Sisters". Danny Kaye is hilarious. *Sidenote, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was also awesome - although now I want to see The Court Jester, because according to Wikipedia it is his most accomplished performance.

Favorite quote: "How does a guy that ugly have the nerve to have sisters?" - "Very brave parents."

3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas - I'm not going to make some grand sweeping statement here like, "Jim Carey at his best", because I don't have time to go into that kind of argument or the research and thought required. But it could be. It's at least in his top 3. Regardless, I love love his Grinch and Christine Baranski's well-placed sighs of longing and regret, along with Molly Shannon's wonderfully casual theft of a traffic light for her Christmas decorations make it just that much better. But I think my favorite is Jim Carey's impersonation of Ron Howard as he tells Max how to play Rudolph. So awesome.

Favorite Quote: "We're gonna die! We're gonna die! I'm gonna throw up, and then I'm gonna die!" *Sidenote: I said this a lot during my pregnancy with Stella.

4. Four Christmases - And now we come to a new personal favorite. It's been on tv a lot, so I hope I don't get burnt out on it, but I love Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon, and Jon Favreau, and Kristin Chenowith. And Tim McGraw. And Mary Steenburgen. And Robert Duvall. And especially Katy Mixon. At some point this Christmas I will be doing my impersonation of her character. Especially if we play taboo: "This game is so easy."Her accent is the BEST.

Favorite quote: "I'd also like to give myself another gift. The gift of a scheduled c-section that goes routinely." - "Don't most women want to have a baby naturally?" - "Yeah, most women who haven't done it before!" also, "YEA-YUS!" (during taboo game).

5. Home Alone - I haven't seen this one in forever, but it makes me cry at the end and I remember laughing so hard I couldn't breathe when I was younger.

Favorite Quote: "Ma'am, I'm eight years old. You think I would be here alone? I don't think so."

6. The Santa Clause - I have a very special place in my heart for the Tool Man, and he did not disappoint in this movie. I prefer his reluctant, scroogy Santa to any other Scrooge, and that includes Bill Murray. Oh yeah. I went there.

Favorite Quote: (referring to the reindeer) "These are...a gift. Probably from the cable company. We're getting the Disney Channel now. Merry Christmas."

7. A Christmas Story - Another one I haven't seen in a long time, but a good one. I don't think there is much to say about this, except that the narrator is my favorite. That guy deserves an Oscar. So does whoever wrote the script. I should probably check to see if they did if I'm going to make statements like that. :-) This is another one that is hard to pick just one favorite quote from.

Favorite Quote: "Getting ready to go to school was like getting ready for extended deep-sea diving."

8. Miracle on 34th Street - There are things to love about each version, but the one I enjoy watching the most is the newer one with Elizabeth Perkins and the little girl from Matilda. I do love Maureen O'Hara, but her Doris was a little too harsh for me. I really like Elizabeth Perkins. And Natalie Wood is a great Maria, but you can't touch Matilda. Although now that American Horror Story is a thing, I'm not sure I can watch Dylan McDermott the same way. And to be honest, he's a touch creepy in the 1994 version. I did love Dark Blue though. That was a good show.

Favorite Quote: "We're going to get the catalog house, right. That's what I wanted. He took the picture from me and told me he will get it. I'm sorry Mother, but you are wrong."

9. Die Hard (see, I was making a joke earlier) - Nothing says "deck the halls" like jumping off a roof tied to a fire hose. (Not original with me, but I love that line, and it is so true). He saved everyone. Merry Christmas.

Favorite Quote: "Nine million terrorists in the world and I gotta kill one with feet smaller than my sister." and "Yippe-ki-yay, M**-F**." (I know it's a bad line, but it's become a classic and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I like it.)

Now obviously, there are some typical favorites that didn't even make my list. Elf is great, but it's not a must-see for me. It's just on tv way too much. I've never been in love with It's a Wondeful Life or any version of A Christmas Carol and I couldn't tell you why. And I just noticed that there are only 9 movies on my list. What movie would you add?