Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday with the homeless

This post may be a bit confusing, bear with me..Im talking my way through this one.

I went to Church Under the Bridge today.
If you don't know what that's a church service for the homeless. 
It's located under I-35, between 7th and 8th street. An area, that is well....pretty rough.

Anyway, God's been pulling on my heart strings for years about serving the homeless population in Austin.

My heart truly longs to help the poor, the needy and the downtrodden.
I have a heart for them...but, I also am scared of them.
Btw, this post is going to be real and ugly and show a lot of my worldly, human side.
I am apologizing for it now, but I also want to be frank because, well, I believe in being real...
And I can't sit here and act like I'm this perfect Christian who enjoys serving all the time, because I'm not. 

So, here I go.
Like most know, I am a germaphobe. 
In a typical day I wash my hands 20-30 times at least.
I'm OCD. I'm a neat freak. It can be annoying and obnoxious. I wish I was normal-ish...but, I am not.

Even in my own church, after we 'greet' one another or pass the offering plate, I either get up and wash my hands or use my antibacterial spray.

If you're sick, or I am...OR my kids...I will be sure to keep them away from school, day care and your family. I think it's being considerate, but I also may be one step away from putting my kids and myself in a bubble.

I'm programed this way. I can't help it. It's part of my personality.

For instance, I tend to give cash to the homeless (when I have it)...and when I do, I hold the money on one end, stretching the money out far and hoping I don't make skin to skin contact.

If I do, I grab one of the half dozen bottles of antibacterial in my car and squirt it all over myself and rub it up to my elbows like I'm going into surgery.

I am not cut out to be a nurse, to say the least. (Btw, God bless you, you beautiful and selfless nurses!)

SO what I'm saying now is this....
God is calling me to serve the homeless...and they aren't exactly cleaned up like a surgeon before surgery would be...(which is what I prefer). So how am I going to serve them?

Today I prayed the entire two hours at the service. I was terrified. People sneezed and coughed around me, and I just knew I was catching some disease.

A woman hugged me in the first 10 minutes I was there. She was sweet and wonderful, and bubbly...
And I didn't die after she hugged me.

Then, I met Reuben, aka Loco. He never left my side. 
He was initially hitting on me. He thought I was in college. So I informed him I wasn't in college (my UT sweatshirt confuses people I think) and told him I was married and had two kids.

He informed me he was 62. (I do believe 62 would be TOO old to hit on a college girl, but I wasn't there to condemn). 

But that didn't keep him from telling me how he needed to get back to church because all the beautiful Christian women he would see. He also told me he was there to 'meet a chick' but she didn't show up.

Reuben kept touching me, but not in a sexual manner. He just liked to nudge me when he made a joke. He shook my hand twice and he literally was standing a foot away from me for a good hour. We talked about the best places to camp around the city. And he complained about the women on the streets who wanted his money (he get a social security check). 

And he didn't like it when people who had homes or lived in shelters who came to the Church Under the Bridge to get free food and coffee. I felt like Reuben was trying to justify why he was homeless.  He told me he could get a home, but he liked to be mobile and camp instead. In fact, I think he was proud of taking care of himself in many ways. He didn't like it when people took advantage of the freebies. I think he may of been trying to impress me some.  

He also mentioned he didn't have a dad as a kid and his mom died when he was 15. 

I listened....
I didn't know what God want me to do there...but I was there.
What surprised me was Reuben's knowledge of the Bible. He clearly understood who Jesus is. He even quoted me Scripture better than I could.

He did tell me he struggled with alcohol. That he was itching to get back to his camp because he left his whiskey there. He also pointed out many of the people's addictions he knew. Most seemed to struggle with drugs of some sort. 

I'm a sheltered girl. I know drugs exist. And I know they are on the streets, but I don't usually hang out with people who do crack or heroin or whatever other vice they have...but, a lot of these people were visibly on some form of drug. 

It was eye opening in many ways. I felt scared and out of pocket, but Reuben made me feel a bit better. He was shorter than me (which may of helped me not be so scared of him.) And he was genuinely a nice man. I think God let him approach me and be my buddy to ease me into being around the hundreds of homeless. 

Reuben wasn't just another 'object' I saw on the corner of the street. He wasn't another piece of my urban setting. He was a person. A man, made in the image of God. Which, by the way, we also discussed.

I came back home after telling Reuben I'd see him again. He said that I wouldn't be back (because that's my business) but I assured him I would. I don't know why I said I would be back...but, maybe God made me say it to be accountable. 

I plan on returning next Sunday. But this time I plan on serving breakfast through Mission Possible Austin.

After breakfast, if I don't see Reuben then, I will find him at the service.
Not sure what God is wanting me to do...but, I'll pray this week for answers.
Reuben asked me to pray for him and he said he would pray for me.
I am definitely going to pray for Reuben.

What I do know is this,
I came home to a warm home and ate a big meal (leftovers from our date last night) and I was sad.

I was sad, because I have so much and there's so many that have nothing.
I just saw hundreds of people who carried their homes on their backs.
Who hadn't had a warm, big meal like mine in ages...
I had security.
They didn't.

I don't know what God wants me to do, but now that my eyes are truly opened, things can't be unseen.

I know I have to do something.
Serving my flesh is fleeting.
Serving me isn't filling.

I may not be able to buy and do for everyone, but I can serve. 
And I can learn to love.
And maybe God can help me get past my hang-ups.
Maybe next week I won't rush to jump into the shower once I get home.

Pray that I see the doors God opens for me and that I go through them.
I don't want to sit on the sidelines anymore.
Or in this case, my comfy pew or couch with my bottles of antibacterial.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Life lately, it's Fall!

I haven't posted the ins and outs of life lately.
Things have been going well since Fall began!
I love Fall. It's by far my favorite season.
Football starts, the weather gets cooler, we spend more time outdoors...jeans and scarves. You know, the usual stuff people like about Fall.

I also have Kie in MDO, on Tuesday and Thursdays. It runs from 9-2pm. It is perfect time because it's not too early, and gives me just enough time to spend some quality time with Kix and get a lot done. Having one baby, means most everything gets done. Kie loves going to his 'school'. Plus it's so close we can walk to it. We haven't yet because it's still been too warm but once the weather dips into the 70s and lower we will be walking.

At home, Kix plays nicely alone and I don't have to play referee.
 Boys will be boys and there's lot of rough and tumbles between those two when they're together.

That said, I get dinner started usually (prepped) and clean the house while Kix naps. Before that we usually run errands and do 3.6 miles around Town lake, by far my the best part of the day (besides picking Kie up from school). You can't beat a cool breeze off the lake and beautiful mother nature!
Kix definitely misses having Kie in the double stroller but I bring toys and snacks to entertain.

I have a love for Town lake because I forget I'm in the city. It's just so much nature all around. But it does have the urban sneaks and peeks. I also like that I don't have to deal with cars and traffic. You have miles and miles of beautiful, no car trail.

Which brings to my new update. Since I'm not lifting weights for awhile, I am resuming my running. I am not going to be doing long, long distances like I was a few years ago. But, just build myself up to a few miles. 

I have a knee that aches on occasion from a bad ski accident so I am going to be nice to my knee. If it hurts, I'll stop running and get back to cycling or introduce more yoga.

I do enjoy running and have missed it because I love that runner's high you get. It's very addicting.
I got it yesterday night after a short but fast run, and I was like 'Oh yes, this is why I like this!' 

Anyway, last week (or was it two?) was my birthday. I am now 28. I still feel 22, but I am guessing I'm nearing 30.
I am not worried about aging.
If God let's me get old, then I welcome it.
Being a mom with two little boys, 3 and under means I get gray hair and wrinkle lines.
I will take it! I am blessed and grateful for them.
So with my nearing 30, and not 20....I vow to keep being healthier. And working on making better choices. (Less chips and salsa and more veggies!)

That said, today officially feels like Fall. It is cool out, I have all my pumpkins and mums everywhere. And the screen door is open :)

Justin was a real sweetheart and did ALL my chores for me this morning before work.
So I'm able to sit down and write a bit.
Also, we are waiting on my parent's to get in. Another reason I love this time of year.

They are here for the UT game (oh Baylor don't beat us up too bad!) and that means J and I get a date night!

Anyway, my little break is running here is some pictures! Enjoy.

Until next time,
best daddy :)

Dancing at Casa Maria's
AH, swoon. This man still makes my heart flutter.
Running wild!
So beautiful out

loving our Fall flowers
Pumpkins galore
cool Fall evening

Justin welded us a place to put up Kie and Kix's art work

Art by Kie!

We love our pumpkins!

J has the best green thumb

Feeling so grateful for everything these days :)
Suish from Central Market with Kix. Double avocado roll
Starting October off with my coffee in my pumpkin mug
Saw Dr. Lisa this month. Loving Clear Point Wellness

Gluten free cookie dough, the best!
Kix, the Cat

Saw my beautiful friend, Cait 

Morning hair, measuring his pumpkin

Gorgeous Fall day in Austin
New trees Justin got for me :)
Yummy Sketti
Sleeping baby after church
Walking with Brittany at Town Lake
B & Lily Pad
Parent Night out, spent it at Broken Spoke!
James White, owner and founder of the Broken Spoke

Me and George Strait, hanging out at the Honky Tonk

Dinner at Hyde Park 
Birthday presents from my boys with SPIDERS. I'm a boy mom.

Before the monsoon hit Austin

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