Saturday, November 19, 2011

Twilight and scrawny men

Some gals in my Bible study decided to go see the 4th Twilight movie tonight b/c several of them are ridiculous about this love story - even to the point of saying things about how they like scrawny men and such?!?!  You know when people are saying all manner of ridiculous comments that just make no sense like THAT, that they're hooked on some weird craze... 
However, if some gals are going to a movie that's a love story...of course I'm in.  I hate missing a good party.  I WAS planning to read the books because I generally think that's better, but, alas, there was not enough time.  So, knowing that I wouldn't get the "real experience" of reading the books, on Tuesday night with Sandra George (who's in the same boat as me), I started movie number ONE.  After #2 (which I watched alone), I decided they were too scary for me to watch by myself as I am NOT very de-sensitized.... 
It is now Saturday at 3:12, and I have to say I Did It!! - I have 3 movies down, and am ready for the 4th.  I'm not going to lie - they're weird, weird, weird, SO WEIRD ... BUT, I'm also not one to ever be a hater about a good love story.  I'm just really hoping in the end there's some anti-vampire pill that they can all take and the whole stupid "make me a vampire plan" can be scrapped (and Bella can get some warmth for goodness sake). 
...AND I'd love for a cute little gal to come along for that dear Jacob.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ladies Night at the Mission

For the past year and some months, I've been going to City Gospel Mission on Monday nights.  I chat with the ladies who come in there and also open the game room so people can play pool, ping pong, etc.  I've come to count many people there as friends.

This past Monday night I had a "Ladies Night" at the Mission.  I  roped my friend Emma (who I've met there) into helping me as well.  Ladies Night basically just involves having a fun, easy craft to do with the women who come in.  This time we made tissue puffs and had nail polish for nails to be painted.  Pretty simple.

As I was driving to the mission, I was having one of those utterly exhausted kind of days....the kind where you don't feel like you can do anything but stare.  Not good.  So I'm having this prayer to God about how he really is going to have to come through on this one, b/c I don't feel like being loving, kind, generous, etc. etc. etc.  I get to the mission, exhausted, and head downstairs to start setting up.   I honestly really wondered if anyone was even going to come.  I fairly regularly do these kinds of things - get an idea, pass out invitations, and have no idea if it will even work.
However, around starting time, about 10 ladies came down with kids and tons of excitement.  We gathered around the ping pong table, and I began to explain how to make the tissue puffs.  These ladies were so excited...they could not wait to get started!  I show them the little puff I made and they oohed and awwwed over how cute it was!  So I began explaining the steps.  The next thing you know, there is laughing, smiling, crafting, and all sorts of crazy conversation is happening.  I honestly don't understand a good portion of the dynamics that go on when I'm with these ladies...although I do believe I'm understanding it more and more as I have more interactions in this culture.  
Some generalizations:  They are fiercely honest.  If you bother them, they will tell you.  They are loud.  If they have an opinion, they will share it.  They will ask for help.  If they don't know how to do something...they will GET you to help them.  And they talk fast...I don't understand about 50% of some conversations I'm in.

One lady said she was going to figure out how to make her puff on her own...I looked over at what she was doing and she had made about 5 accordians with the tissue paper and had roped them all together going in all different directions!  (Those of you who make tissue puffs are aware of what this means)  I said something like "Wow, I can't wait to see how THAT turns out!?"  and she said "See, you and me, we can learn from each other!"...and then I had to "give it up" and five her.  (She didn't even finish that tissue puff - it was seriously a disaster waiting to happen...)  But I bet I high fived her 10 times throughout the evening, as that seemed to be her affection of choice...every 10 minutes, she was wanting me to "give it up" again and high five her over something........hilarous.

Don't get me wrong.  There are things I seriously don't like, and even hate that I'm in contact with at City Gospel Mission.  I HATE that one of the ladies there is pregnant and supposedly a heroin addict too.  HATE, HATE, HATE that.  I am a friek about germy lady cut her hand while she was using my scissors...the bag with the scissors will be sprayed til kingdom come with germ killer stuff.  I Loathe the fact that there are bedbugs in some places of the mission...again, my friekezoidenss...I didn't sleep well that night b/c I was dreaming about bedbugs.  And I wish I was making that up. 

However, there are some beautiful things too.  I LOVE that Emma calls me her friend...(she actually says "best friend" and one time even added "her only friend").   I LOVE that the people there accept me despite obvious cultural differences.  I LOVE to see the leadership of the men recovering from addiction.  I LOVE that a gal named Kitty came although she seems terribly shy and will hardly speak...and I love seeing her cartoon artwork.  I love that one of the older ladies yelled for everyone who was leaving and called them out on not cleaning up.  I love Dee Dee's smile.  I LOVE Dorothy's faith.  Even when her apartment burned down...she believed that God is good and continued to express her faith in Him.  And one of the highlights of the evening for me on Monday, was when a somewhat delicate lady who had made a puff went over to the table to get her nails painted quietly said,  "I feel better now." 

Wow - one tissue puff, a little conversation, and some nice music later...and she feels a little bit better about her life.  THAT (all wrapped up in God's love, mercy, grace, and hope) is what this is about.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I sometimes let my students create free stories if they finish their work early.  Today I found a paper on the printer that was clearly a story one of my students had typed up.  I thought I might share it in this blog - exactly as it is.

"once there was a boy he got bullied a professional came to train him to fight his name was kato and he was part Indian.  he had a friend named jack both of them was nerds they were best friends they got so mad he never ate his mom always worked so his dad watched him.he grew up in the hood.  He got his lunch took every day.his trainer tought him to break people arm. The next day a guy almost took his lunch but he rip off his arm and started betting him up with his own arm"

yeah - i'm not sending this one home.

ps - my kids do not live in the hood.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Have you ever been prophesized to?  Have you ever had someone come up to you and say they have a word from the Lord for you?   I will say that it is a fairly bizzare experience the first time, a pretty bizzare thing the 2nd time the same "word" is given to you, and a crazy bizarre thing when that message is repeated a third time.

Here's my story:

So it all started with a gift from my mother-in-law, Claudette.  Over the past 7 years, she has given me a gift from Jason each year for my birthday and for Christmas.  These are not just random sorts of things, rather, they have been gifts that she has prayed for and asked the Lords hand in knowing what Jason would want me to have at this point in my life.  These gifts have been a variety of items...and it's pretty amazing how well these gifts reflect where my life is at the time.  One time she gave me a bracelet that said "growth" on it.  Another time she gave me a book of poetry written by a boy named Maddie who died of cancer way too soon.  This particular year, she gave me a necklace that had the word "Soar" engraved on the back.  I took it and thought something to effect of "perfect - it's time to soar in life - this is a good reminder". It was a great gift.

Enter prophesy story #1.
A while later, I was singing at the westside site one Sunday morning.  We had just finished singing a song that was about soaring on wings like eagles.  After the service a gal came up to me sobbing hysterically.  She was so shaken that she could hardly speak.  At the time, this was a gal that I knew as an aquaintance, but really didn't know in any kind of meaningful way...I just knew who she was.  So she came up to me and said something to the effect of "I never do this, but I feel like I have to tell you this."  (and please keep in mind through this whole entry, all of the quotes I use are not actually quotes...I have to paraphrase b/c I cannot remember the exact words...I'm giving you the main idea of what was said. Wish I could remember exactly.)
So she came up to me and said that she feels so strongly that she is supposed to tell me something about "being on the heights"  about "being up high"...the entire time she was talking about this she was visibly weeping/choking/crying and she could hardly get it the words.  So I looked at her and said "You're not going to believe this, but...and I showed her the Soar necklace that I happened to be wearing that day.  "I guess God is telling me to Soar."  And that was that.  Pretty cool, huh? 
I knew she had just gotten married and thought perhaps she is emotional b/c she can't imagine losing her new husband and I'm a reminder that that can indeed happen.  I didn't know for sure, but I thought "okay cool - I'll take that little word from God" :)

Enter prophesy #2
I suppose it was about 5 months later, and I was down at City Gospel Mission on a Monday night.  I volunteer there several Mondays a month.  This particular Monday I was talking to a few men who come in about my job and some particular feelings I have had lately.  All of the sudden, a man sitting at that table, who I did not know, boomed out with his stong voice "I HAVE A WORD FROM THE LORD (or perhaps he said prophesy?) FOR YOU."  I thought, "okay, sure.  i'll take it.  he's probably a little off his rocker, but go for it man..."
He then proceeded to talk about an Eagle.  "AN EAGLE...IT SOARS HIGH ABOVE ITS PROBLEMS...IT'S WAY UP HIGH, IT HAS PROBLEMS, BUT THEY ARE DOWN BELOW...THE EAGLE SOARS HIGH...AND THE LORD, THE LORD IS GOING TO GIVE YOU SOARING POWER."...  of course there was more, but that's the main part that I remember...
wow - really, same word from God?  pretty cool.  okay, so God wants me to soar.  (or pehaps this man is just a little crazy?  but regardless, I'm always glad to get some encouragement.

Enter prophesy #3 (aka - the time I decided God was really speaking to me)
Believe it or not, this situation happened in Mumbai, India about 2 or 3 months later.  I had joined a trip to Mumbai with a group of people to move along the cause of justice through a church in Cincinnati, International Justice Mission, and the Crossover Foundation.  They are working to build quality aftercare facilities for girls rescued from trafficking as well as building transitional homes. 
It was our first day in Mumbai.  I was sitting at an Indian restaurant beside one of the founders of the Crossover Foundation - his name is Keith.  Keith quit his job in India in order to start this foundation with his dear wife Ramona.  I had heard Keith speak in Cincinnati about a month before the trip.  They had come to Cincy and had a little gathering where they shared the vision for the Crossover Foundation.  So Keith is talking to me about his family, and I was listening to the things he was sharing.  All of the sudden he said something to the effect of "Hey, were you at that meeting in Cincinnati when we were speaking?"  "yes"  "and were you sitting in the front of the room?"  "Yes I was - I have long blond hair (it was up at the time), I was sitting at the front middle table..."   "Okay, so there is something I feel that the Lord wanted me to tell you that night...and it was crowded and busy and it didn't work out for me to tell you then, but I wanted to make sure I told the right person..."  I have a prophesy for you...

And yep - you guessed it - the Eagle again.  He started out with "Those who wait upon the Lord will"....and he continues the verse about Soaring like an Eagle.  He went on about the Eagle, and that the Lord is preparing me to soar, and about abundance, etc.  I seriously wish I could remember everything.  At this point, I was listening to him with tears running down my face in the middle of an Indian restaurant. 
Coincidence?  I have to say I don't think so... 
What does it mean?  (It helps if you say that like Double Rainbow :)

I'm not sure exactly - except...

In that moment when Keith was sharing the prophesy with me I knew that I was not forgotten.  In the waiting, the longing, the waiting and the longing...and sometimes not even knowing exactly what for....that I am not forgotten.  God has a plan.  It's a beautiful plan.  It's an abundant plan.  And it's going to involve soaring, I suppose. 
How cool that the God of the universe, the God who made rainbows, and my puppydog, and leaves that change colors, cared enough to send three people to encourage me, and give me just a little hope for the day.
What crazy love.  I am not forgotten....

and to that Truth, I cling with everything I have within me.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Blessings of Excellence

I had a challenge this week to read certain chapters in Job.  I've read these before, but it was a particular challenge for the STRONG Journey that many churches in Cincinnati are doing - I am a part of this church journey as well and am loving it.  You probably know the story - Job loses his children, his possessions, his servants, and even has health issues.  He is grieving severely and questioning God.  By the end of the book, however, God ends up blessing him with twice as much as he had before he lost all his possessions.  He is blessed with many more children, and it even says that his 3 daughters were the most beautiful women in that land.  He lived to see the 4th generation and died "old and full of years".



Redemption is absolutely one of my favorite words.  I LOVE redemption.  If there's going to be redemption, you can press through pretty much anything in life.  It's when we lose sight of this piece that we fall into despair and hopelessness.  The belief in a God that REDEEMS is why I keep walking....and perhaps why you do as well.

But there is more.

I find that sometimes I begin to look at particular areas of life where I want/need redemption, and I start thinking of ways that I can make these things happen.  How can I redeem this?  How can I help God out?  How can I change my circumstances?   Now I don't want to diminish the fact that I DO think we should be moving, and that there is certainly a part on our end to find out where we need to "take off some roofs" in order to move in the direction God is leading us.  Even in the Bible, the friends of the paralytic took off a piece of a roof and lowered their friend into the house, completely interrupting Jesus, in order to get what they wanted...healing.  I pray regularly for God to show me where I need to "take off some roofs".
However, there is another principle that coincides with this one as well.  And this is the idea that I can somehow muster up enough gumption to "fix" my situations.  Well, perhaps I can....but do I want Danielle's fixings?  Or do I want God's abundance?  I have come to believe over a span of many years that when God blesses, He BLESSES.  I don't see him giving meager, just enough to get by kinds of blessings.  When He blesses, it is a blessing of excellence.  I imagine this is because He is a God of excellence.  When I look at creation, I see excellence.  I look at my life, and the times that I have waited on him to come through, He came through with MORE than I thought I was going to get - Jason, my friends, my job, my house, etc.  I look at these places and I wonder "Why do I question that He will bless well again?"   It's almost as if I think He's going to say "Well, I know this isn't much, and it's certainly not what you were really wanting, but, here you go - I guess it's better than nothing."  REALLY??  Do I really think that is God's way?  When He blessed Job, it was DOUBLE what he had lost.  God didn't just say "And Job was given really great daughters."  NO - they were the most beautiful gals in the land!  Was that even necessary!?  I LOVE the extravagence!  It was beauty and redemption - and redemption of abundance - not redemption of meagerness.  I must cling to this in places of my life where there is waiting.  In places of my life where things don't seem "quite right" and where I believe God has something different, new, beautiful.  I need to continue to wait upon Him, be still and let Him fight my battles for me, while still asking where I need to take off a few roofs.  He will bless with excellence.  I will not be disappointed.