Thursday, March 25, 2010

His Name is Jerry

My yard is a wreck.  I still have tree limbs dangling from the Ice Storm of 2010 along with hundreds of pecans littering my backyard.  My little dog has to hurdle the patches of weeds to find a suitable location to do his 'business' outside.  Birds fly past my yard, wince at the sight, and continue on.  I received a notice from the squirrel union this past week, that unless I make suitable working conditions for them, they will be boycotting my yard.  I am surprised the grill has not left me for a garden paradise yet, since I have neglected cleaning and using him as of late. 

I share all of this with you to tell you another story. 

Today my doorbell rang unexpectedly.  Standing on my porch was a man dressed in dirty ragged clothes holding a garden hoe and rake in one hand and a battered thermos in the other.  He asked my husband if we had any yard work he could do to earn some money?  He needed to eat and was trying to find some work to provide for himself.  He was missing four of his top front teeth and smelled as if he had missed a few shower dates. 

I stood in the background listening to my husband relay to this man that we did not have anything for him to do.  We had just had the yard sprayed two days prior and were waiting for the chemicals to take effect on the weeds before we mowed.   The man asked if there was anything else he could do, and my husband politely declined him.  He turned and walked away.  My husband closed the door and turned to look at me. 

I asked him what the man had wanted.  He said, "Some work so he could buy himself a sandwich."  I looked at my husband and we both knew at that moment there was no way he was walking away without a meal. 

My husband walked outside and invited the man back to our porch.  He then drove him to Subway and bought them both a sandwich, chips and drink.  They sat on our front porch and ate their meal while my husband tried to find out a little about this man. 

He had a place to stay but no formal education.  He was scared of our dog because they had been used to torment him as a child.   He was willing to do work, but his blood-shot eyes revealed that the money was probably used for alcohol.  They chit-chatted a while and then Jerry asked if there was any work he could do for us.   Anything at all for twenty dollars?

My husband came inside to throw the trash from their lunch away and relayed the information and request to me.  I looked at my backyard and then at my entertainment center.  On top of my dvd player sat the movie we had watched the night before; Blindside.  My mind replayed a conversation I had with my children three days prior.  We had discussed being a blessing to others and helping them in times of need.  We talked of loving Jesus and wanting to be like Him.  Would we be that now in Jerry's time of need? 

I told my husband that Jerry could rake the front and back yard.  He could gather the small limbs that still remained on our lawn and coral as many of the pecans as possible.  I also asked my husband to extend an invitation to Jerry to eat lunch with us each day. 

He immediately went to work humming all the while.  I watched him as he raked the backyard and was surprised when I realized God had answered a prayer I had uttered just the day before.  It was not so much a request as it was me sharing in conversation with God what I desired.  I wanted to get my yard work done, but felt guilty spending a beautiful day outside working instead of spending it with my children.  I have missed so many gorgeous days with them in the past, because of work, and I could not bring myself to use that time for my own ambitions.  But I knew the work needed to be done; soon. 

God knew my hearts desire and He answered my prayer.  His name is Jerry.  He sent a hungry man in need of a meal to my door step.  He knew of Jerry's hunger (he had not eaten in several days) and of my need for assistance and He blessed us both. 

 I sent a loaf of bread, four cans of tuna (with a can opener) and an unopened box of chocolate chip bars home with him, along with the twenty dollars we had agreed upon.   I do not know if Jerry will return for another meal, but I am grateful for the blessing he was to my family today. 

Thank you Heavenly Father for your provisions and your grace upon our lives. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

For Pet Owners Everywhere

This post is from an email that has been passed around many times, but I just had to post it here with pictures of my cat and dog.  Hope you enjoy! 

8:00 AM - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 AM - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 AM - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 AM - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 PM - Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 PM - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 PM - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 PM - Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 PM - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 PM - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 PM - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

Day 983 of my captivity.

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.

In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am.


There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe.

For now...


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I have been latent in getting news to you all, as to how the basketball team is doing, since my last post.  I have set down several times and began posting, but have erased them before being completed.

Many things have been going on in and around my life in the past week and my mind has been cluttered with numerous thoughts.  I have been unable, til now, to sort through them in a comprehensible way to allow myself to express them to you. 

My journey with the basketball team has been a great learning experience for me.  I  hope the boys have learned as much from me as I have learned from being around them.

Our team has a record of 1 - 10.  Yes, it is a losing record; from one perspective.  I am going to tell you about two of our most recent games.  The first took place the day I posted Repeat???  Please!!!   The second took place one week later.  (We had a total of five games during that week.)

The first game was the game of a 'lifetime'.  We were playing a very tough and successful opponent.  Our team took the court and in the first half we were down by 14 points.  There are four quarters in a game.  Each quarter is five minutes long.

At half-time I took our boys aside and stared into the eyes of defeat.  Each boys' head was hung low and tears were quietly hiding waiting for a chance to escape.  Frustration oozed from their pores along with the sweat of battle.  I was amazed that they saw defeat with so much time left to play.  I quickly realized that for them to succeed they had to see themselves as I saw them.  As their parents in the stands saw them.  They had to see the victory that could be theirs and they had to want it.  They had to be desperate for it!  They had to have a do or die attitude.

I let my passion for the game spill forth from my lips.  I told the boys that they had a choice to make.  To give the other team the game, or make them earn it.   Up until that moment, every point the other team had scored was from our mistakes they had capitalized upon;  our bad passes, our poor rebounding, our lack of hussle.  They had not earned one point.  We had not made them play to their best potential, because we had not played to ours.

I told the team that according to city league regulations I did not have to play subs in the fourth quarter.  I could play whoever I wanted for as long as I wanted.  I set the ultimatum before them,  "You play hard and show me you want to win and I will play you in the fourth quarter.  You act like you don't care and give minimal effort; you will sit the bench.  I don't have to sub anyone.  If you want to play in the fourth quarter, then you better show me in the third.  We can shut this team down and win this game.  But you have to want it." 

Every face changed at that exact moment.  There was only one word to describe it; Determination!  Desire was burning in their hearts.  They took the court in the third quarter as a team, and they shut the other team down!

There was a passion burning within them that could no longer be contained.  The other team was stunned.  We took the lead.  We did not allow them to score one point until the final minutes of the game.

It was an epic battle.  Comments were being made by the score keepers and refs that this was the best game they had ever seen.  Emotions ran high in the stands and emanated from every person in the gym. 

I wish I could say that we won that game.  But we did not. 

This brings me to the second game I wanted to tell you about.  This game took place a week later with three games between the 'epic battle' and this game. 

We were playing the only undefeated team in our league.  We had met them once before on the court and lost by 11 points.  We had not played our best against them, and I was hoping for our team to show up ready to play.  To be the team they had been during the 'epic battle'.

But no matter how hard I tried, no matter how many heartfelt and spurring speeches I gave, that team was nowhere to be found.  We lost the game 51 - 4.  Yes, we only scored four points.  It was disheartening to say the least.  I had watched our team play their best and then watched them give up on themselves. 

I believe my team lost heart when they lost the 'epic battle'.  They had given it all and still came up short; in their eyes.  You see... I left the 'epic battle' game stoked at what I had seen.  I saw that we could be amazing!  We could shut down any team we wanted to... if we worked together... if we wanted it bad enough.  But they left the game with defeat clearly visible upon their shoulders.  Instead of laying it down, they have carried it into every game we have played since.

I also saw something within myself that I have to lay down.  I have known for many years that I have a 'people - pleaser' personality.  I want to make everyone happy, and will go to great lengths to make it happen.  At times, I have tread on dangerous ground.

I wanted desperately to make my team happy.  I wanted to make their parents happy.  But I have to realize that they determine their own happiness by how they handle and view a situation.  No matter how hard I try, I can not make them change. 

We have one regular season game left and then a tournament.  I still believe that we have an amazing team.  I have not lost heart!  And I hope that the boys will remember it before the end.  But no matter the outcome, I am glad I coached this team and that I met these boys.  They are an amazing bunch, whether they see it in themselves or not.