Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Fluff , Fold , Deliver... Part II

In my last blog, I told you all ...to be continued. 

here's the recap: I wrestled with God in a BK parking lot. I did not win. I was in the midst of doing a bunch of laundry. 

there, you are caught up. 

So they gave me two full totes. They had not done laundry since last November. I put much care into folding, fluffing, repairing and spritzing love into these clothes. I wanted them to have some "home" smell on them. I tuck in a FAT sharpie, for good sign making! 

8 hours later all was clean and it was time to go deliver. We tucked in extras, warm socks and beanies we are not using. I washed my prized Carhartt jacket to offer to him. ( He did not need it, someone had given him one already! )  I don't work for men and women, I serve Jesus. This was me preparing to deliver to Jesus. I purchased one set of silverware for each, one plate, one bowl and one glass. I wrapped them lovingly in cloth napkins that I am always collecting. I include some dishwashing soap, a towel and sponge. "home" things. 

Bryan and I packed up and prepared to run to the hotel. It's the same old same old. Run down, overpriced rooms, mean management, children peeking out closed curtains. These two run down to see us. They are excited. We drop and run. But first I ask one question: is that ALL the socks you have. He says yes. But we held back a pair to wear while you were washing.  Bryan says: He looks just like Zac ( our son) . I agree. Later in the week, Cora would meet him and say the exact same thing. 

Later that day, I text and ask their sock sizes. I also ask him, if he would mind me getting him a good pair of shoes. I explain New Balance are the only type of shoe that I purchased for clients back in VA. A few days later he requests black ones. One time a man stopped and gave him Jordan's. He was ragged on by passing cars for wearing shoes , expensive nice ones. I tell him , we will keep it low key. 

My new friend has a solid scar from neck to lower back, from back surgery when he was a teen. He took a fall off a 2nd story balcony. The story stops there. There is a shame in his eyes I recognize in my own some mornings in the mirror. His back hurts all the time. The shoes are a necessity. If you can , please donate : you can try our Amazon Wishlist to purchase gift visas for me to use to purchase them. OR you can Paypal me: @TracyNiles  or Venmo  me direct @Tracy-BartonNiles . Please note I am NOT a non profit. I am a person helping persons. 

I received some of the items from the wish list already! Thank you! I actually was wrapping my daughter's birthday presents so I decided to wrap their items. Wrapping for Jesus. Not to be confused with "rapping" for Jesus! :) haha!  They ran to their room, we waited outside, but could hear paper ripping and joyful shouts. It felt like Christmas. God breaks my heart with these little moments. 

We see his bike is out. We offer him a ride... quietly from the back seat he tells us that the socks are really, really nice. What can we say? It's silent. He see's a sign for a local builder. He says the name quietly. Then tells us that his Dad lives in VA, near a new neighborhood developed by that same builder. His Dad has his own struggles. We nod and listen. He works, but can't help his son. 

We know how this is. I think many people are hand to mouth right now. He thanks us for the ride. We go do our shopping and check on him after. He is doing ok, BUT a Woman with a small boy has set up one corner down. He said that they pulled up next to him, offered him $4 to get off their corner. He is nearly in tears. He saw the children. So do other people. He is not going to make the room tonight. I say a quiet prayer. I can't control this. 

We wish him well and we drive home. 

Later, he texts me, and tells me half an hour after we left, they left the corner and he was able to get enough for the room. I cry again. I cry a lot lately. But just for tonight, they are good. Clean clothing and a room. 



Sunday, March 13, 2022

My Church is a washer and a dryer

UPDATED to add an Amazon Wishlist : *please be advised, I am not a non-profit. I am a person helping other persons. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk! 

 Amazon Wish List 

I've been up since 4 doing something that I love. Fluff and fold. Seriously if you don't believe me ask my friends. 

I have lived in our new city for over a year now. I have a confession to make...

I have been ignoring the homeless. I have been driving by , looking in their eyes. I have made mental notes of their location, their signs, the way they dress and walk back and forth, searching for connection. But I never stop. 

I have been taking stock of what is available in a community that has no Public Transit. I have seen one location downtown that does a type of food handout. That is it. But yet, I see them. My addressless friends popping up everywhere. Some look approachable. Some rant to themselves. All are someone's child. 

I was out enjoying a solo trip to the old Dollar Store and Thrift Store. Searching for something to fill my own brokenness when I saw him. That kid I always see. That kid that reminds me of my own son. I have a whole story in my head about this young man. God is feeling frisky today and tells me on the way home, I will stop and ask what he needs. 

I LINGER at my last stop...I don't want to make the trip home. I have to drive RIGHT past the guy. But I do. I pull in the fast food parking lot. I back in , Bryan would be proud. I watch the young man walk up and down. His eyes are steady, but sad. It's rush hour in my little town. Nothing like good ol' Chesapeake, but this is the hour to work the curb. Not one person gives him a nod or a handout. 

I sit 15 long minutes, I notice him looking at me each time he walks down the line of traffic. Now I know my God. He is hilarious. It's Jesus looking me dead in the eye, saying : " Are you gonna be a big girl and get out of the truck?" Me: " Hey Jesus, challenge accepted" . I put it off for a few more minutes and text the daughter to let her know I was last seen at this intersection in these clothes and what I am doing. She replies: "Go do It" ! 

last seen wearing pic. I also told her to crop out my cleavage if she had to share it. :) 

Well, now God speaks thru angsty teens. I spend MORE time texting my Husband, no answer, as he is working. well shit...here we go. 

I get out, put my keys in my pocket and walk straight towards him. I declare the entire intersection is watching. He turns around and looks very cautious. I get right in his space and say, Hey, my name is Tracy, what's yours?

 sorry. f the quotation marks. Just let me tell the story :) 

He says slowly and carefully , _________. There I know his damn name now! I have wanted to hear it so long! the flood gates open. I cry. In front of EVERYBODY! I am embarrassed but remember my therapist says: Let that shit out. I tell him I have been here for a year and I am very sorry for not stopping sooner. He says: it's all right. I say No, it's really not. I then do my normal Q&A. 

Where do you stay? inside/ outside? he answers. night to night hotel up the road. 

I say: I am sorry for interrupting you while traffic is busy, should we walk and talk? 

I know this is the prime time for him to get his room money and I am totally harshing his corner. He says no. I ask what do you need? 

He pauses. I say, do you need food, shelter, clothing. What do you need?  

He is bewildered. Then quietly says food. I ask like a hot meal? non perishables what...on and on we go. I offer him the night off by squaring away the room and taking him to the local grocery store. He is reluctant to walk away. But who can say no to me :) 

We shop. We get what he needs. He has a girlfriend, she is back at the room. He stops as we approach the check out. Can I get one more thing? Yes of course. I say. 

It's for my cat. you have a cat? yes. we get can food and I throw in a catnip mouse. 

I would like to mention that everyone we passed gave him an up and down look and frowned or then realized we were together. I met them square in the eye with a big old smile. They smiled back in embarrassment. I know they know who he is . This is a small town. They passed him, just like me. 

We check out and hit the road to the hotel. He literally runs up the stairs and comes back down with his cat. I am introduced to his girlfriend and his truly awesome cat. He begins to carry up his food and then comes back down. I give him the balance he needs for the room. He is again cautious about taking it. 

He asks: why did you stop? are you religious? I laugh, I say yes I am. I explain that my God has a huge sense of humor and I tell him about fighting with God in the fast food parking lot. I tell him about my friend Karen who I helped out in VA, she was floored when I told her I would fight with God. She said, you don't need that kind of trouble, he will get you! And she's right. God gets me everytime. 

I then say, that it was very nice to meet all of them, I offer my phone number on a piece of paper and say I can't do what I did today all the time. But please call if you ever need anything. I offer to do their laundry, since we talked about the cost of that etc. He shakes his head. I say. No truly. I love doing laundry. think about it. 

He says he will. 

Later , he texts me from the girlfriends cell: 

this is our number , and I just want to thank you for today. u absolutely made my day I prayed to god that today would be a good day I didn't pray for money I jus prayed for people to be nice an the day to go smooth and I got off early and got a day off thanks to u. U made a difference in my life an I just want u to know how grateful I am. There's still good people in the world thank u. 

You are right ________, there are good people in the world and you are the good people. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Chasing down a red backpack

December 2, 2018

We are running early for church. We NEVER run early. I should have known right then that God was up to something. We gathered our stuff and loaded up the minivan. We decided to stop at our bank before church to make a deposit in the ATM. 
That's when I saw him. I was driving towards Great Bridge and he was walking away on the other side. A quick look to the rear view mirror, red back pack. A guy in dirty winter wear , walking in the rain with a red back pack. 

Inside my head, I heard the still small voice. Turn around and see what he needs. No, I thought, I need to head to the bank. We got to the bank and Bryan hops out to make the deposit. Here I sit in the driver's seat. Wrestling with God while Cora sits happily unaware in the back seat. God is all over me telling me to double back and find the red back pack. 
Bryan hops in the car. I tell him, we are doubling back. God wants me to go find the red back pack guy. Bryan says he did not see him. I sigh. I saw him. 

We turn out and go back down Cedar Rd. I drive 35 in a 45 praying silently that he has gone off into the town homes on the right. Nope. I look up about a mile and he is just passing a church. Guess what? God has a sense of humor. There is a safe spot to pull off and he has just arrived at it. I pull over and hit the hazards and turn to Bryan. I say, get out and ask him what he needs. He laughs and says, I thought God told YOU to do that. :) I delegate again and he asks the guy if he needs anything. 

The man is shaking, wet, looks exhausted and is the age of my oldest son. These are the ones that tear me up inside. 

Bryan hollers over his shoulder, he needs a ride to Chesapeake Square Mall. I almost say, dang we are headed to South Norfolk...totally out of the way. But Bryan beats me to it. The young man does not know where South Norfolk is. I then come up with a genius plan....or God did! 

Bryan, tell him get in front and we will drive to church. You drop me and Cora off and take him on to Chesapeake Square Mall. We have always chatted about this ...if we pick someone up. One adult stays with Cora in the back and to keep an eye on the situation. One of us is up front with the homeless person. 
I reach over and put out my hand and introduce myself, he timidly shakes my hand and tells me his name is George. I introduce him to Cora and Bryan. He will not look me in the eye. 

I hit the hazards and tell him where we are going, how long it will take and the plan. I also ask if he is hungry. He smells of alcohol and I know he is shaking and feeling like crap. He declines food. I wait a bit and I ask George, what brings you out here to Great Bridge. He replies: I was detained for drunk and disorderly conduct.  I sigh. I say well you are in good company...I have been there before. He looks straight ahead. I am thankful he told me the truth and I now know we are completely safe. Just coming fresh from jail...he has nothing on him. I am sure if he had any weapon of any kind...it was removed from his possession at intake. I then offer him my cup of coffee...I had made an extra for after church. He gets a smile on his face and says YES. He says it is good. For a minute I know I am going to miss having that second cup. Then God slaps me in the back of the head. 

He smells of sweat, stress, alcohol, dirt, and many other things. I want to turn around and take him home. I want to wash all his clothing and let him take a hot shower. But I don't want to get arrested for kidnapping. I continue to church. 
As we turn in I notice our sign...it says The Shelter. :) He is probably freaking out thinking I am dropping HIM off at a shelter. I tell him, here we are. I pull to a stop and kindly ask him to hand me our checkbook out of the door next to him. He fumbles and does what I ask. Then I open the door and tell him I hope his day gets better. He says he hopes so too. I pause. I say, May I make you a plate of food to go? We have a whole spread in there and I know you might be hungry later. He says , yes please. 

Cora and I go inside and I make him a to go plate. I run it back out to the car and he again fumbles to get the car window down. I want to hug him. But again, I don't want to push it. I hand him the container and tell him and Bryan to be careful and goodbye. 

I go in and teach the children Sunday School. The whole time thinking of George. 
Bryan arrives a bit later and tells me he dropped him off, prayed with him, he gave him some cash and that George looked like he was going to cry. Then off he went. 

We finish class and agree that a collection of items for the homeless would be great, and instead of decorating a tree in the classroom with ornaments, we will use gloves, hats, scarves and blankets. The kids like that. 

We go about our day picking up donations for the homeless and I keep thinking about George. 

We sit down at dinner later and I am thinking, he should be here eating with us now. A good hot meal and a shower would have done him good. He mentioned his Mother briefly to Bryan and as a mother myself I think what would it be like to have a boy on the streets. I am pretty sure he has an addiction to alcohol.  But he is a human. 

I am at peace with losing my wrestling match with God. I am glad to have chased down the red backpack. Bryan said when we pulled up he looked like he had been crying. Can you imagine being far from your place and walking on a public street, dirty and wet and crying. He had fresh cuts on his face and his knuckles looked like they had been dragged over bricks. I only caught his eyes once, when I handed him the food. I saw Jesus in those eyes and it broke my heart. 

The homeless are just like us. Hurt, broken and wanting love. I can only hope that George felt like a human being when we invited him into our car. He did more for my heart than we were ever able to do for him. 

God Bless George and you better believe I will be on the watch for that red backpack when I am out and about. 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Why don't you just shout it from the roof tops????

So, I read this great blog called: Juggling the Jenkins. One day on her facebook page the chick says: Looking for submissions...Submit your story of recovery and I will put it on my facebook page and then in a small book she is putting together from all the stories she receives. Proceeds from the book will go to... So I did it. I sat down and banged out my heart for about 15 minutes. Did a quick spell check and sent that sucker to her. Here is THE STORY! 
One day I open up my email and there it is. I'm gonna post up your entry tomorrow. Well, the alcoholic in me is all " yerp, that's right! you are gonna be famous". . . bahahahahahaha
The anxiety-ridden side of me is like "yeah dumbo you just told the NATION that you are a drunk! "
Then the alcoholic and the anxiety ridden side get in a fight because it's a recovering alchoholic to be exact and I stand back and let them duke it out all the while laughing at myself...which I do  a LOT!

So it posted. And it got shared. And it got liked. And it got comments. And I am stoked.
I think I have NEVER been anything but transparent about my recovery. That made accountability quite easy. Tell everyone...then everyone can hold you to it. I don't do family secrets. Can't stand 'em.

So I am basically sharing the post so you can give this gal Tiffany mad props for letting gals like me share my LIFE story all while giving others HOPE!

Plus SHE wrote a real book. I think you should get it! yerp. Here is the link: High Achiever: The Shocking True Story of One Addict’s Double Life

Friday, February 9, 2018

I Am, I Can, I Ought, I Will- our dive into home educating with Charlotte Mason

I have been home educating Cora for about 3 years now. I tried unschooling, I tried replicating school at home, I tried Heart of Dakota curriculum. ALL bored her to tears. Then I stumbled upon a book called For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay.  In this book, which I annihilated with a highlighter, she speaks of a woman named Charlotte Mason. I remember my first year of homeschooling. I wrote that name down on a list to "research" . That list sat for 2 years. Then I did research. I found a woman who thought that nature study was important. Being out doors was important. 

My favorite quote (well , one of many) is: 
Never be within doors when you can rightly be without--Charlotte Mason

So off I went in search of everything I could find. I went to a large conference in KY. I purchased books, like the Charlotte Mason Companion and listened to pod casts from A Delectable Education and quite frankly I fell in love. With short lessons and a 1/2 school day I was hooked. Our morning is spent in lessons of Ancient History, Literature, Shakespeare, Math, Grammar, etc. Then our afternoons are filled with occupations and handicrafts such as "chores" and paper folding, painting and Nature Study. Nothing is longer than 30 minutes and Cora loves it. Actually, Cora is thriving. I am not supposed to brag...but the other day she recited a bit of her favorite poem from Robert Frost, completely from memory. I cried. She laughed at me. I cried some more. Here is the poem: Birches by Robert Frost. I cry when she shouts out, " I am getting it Mom! " when she does her math. Perhaps I need to invest in some tissues for the schoolroom :) 
But the biggest challenge has been doing a daily nature study, which requires us to go outside for at least a good bit of the afternoon. Cora is not the problem. I am. I have been very lazy and we started off our first term with , ahem, indoor nature study. We observed the squirrels in our yard, we have tracked the growth of an avocado plant that Bryan has grown. I just did not want to go OUT. I am a bit of a hermit crab...:) 

BUT I became bold this second term and with a challenge put out from my Charlotte Mason study group, I looked to see how I could integrate MORE outside time and nature study for the family. I chose to take 1/2 days on Wednesday for Cora and I (and Dad too if the job permits) to go "tromping" in the woods, the shores or the mountains. 
Our first Wednesday was a flop, she woke with a stomach ache and a head ache...
But our second Wednesday I let her determine the time we would leave, what to bring (binoculars, Swiss army knife, bug spray, snacks and canteens) and where we would go. 
She chose Northwest River Park.  So off we went. 

Two hours later, and a back pack less heavy since we ate all our snacks and drank most of our water we exited the woods of NWRP happy and laughing. We had ambled through about 3 miles of trails. We saw deer tracks, duckweed, danced in mud puddles, sat on perilous logs over the river (she did) , climbed ridges and shouted "I'm the queen of the forest" (again Cora) and came down so fast that she nearly took out a small tree or two. I showed her to slow down and LOOK down. Moss. My favorite joy as a child, I would pull it up and play with it like carpet for my tiny figurines. I showed her how springy it is, she lay her head on it and proclaimed "I love it, I need a pillow made from Memory Moss!". We decided that all the cool squirrels must have Memory Moss pillows and beds. Later we found a bigger patch and she laid right down on the trail and put her head upon it. I thought, "I hope no one walks up on us, with her laying prostrate on the ground and me standing over her with a large walking stick!" 

She could not get enough of it and laughed when she stood up with leaves in her hair. I tried to remove them, but she said, Leave them there. Get it! :) 

We made our way to the Northwest River and the wind must have been blowing about 40 mph. Cora and I went to check out a tree with a large hole chipped out. As she climbed she said I knew there was a reason to climb this tree. There are more holes up here Mom. Sure enough, there were. Someone was building a condo! We admired the river for a while, walked on the dock and decided to turn back to try another route on the map. 

Onward we moved to another trail, where we found a large tree cut down. The stump still intact. I told her find out how old that tree is. She sat down to count the rings, 61 years old! She laid across the trunk and played with the saw dust that surrounded it and said how good it felt. I remember many days of playing with sawdust under my Dad's saw horses as he created things out of wood. Sawdust is still one of my favorite smells. 
Some of the items we collected and will identify and sketch. All were found on the ground. 

We mucked through a path that she swore was a shortcut and emerged right where she said we would. We both had walking sticks but she stuck a sprout of bamboo in the top of hers and proclaimed she was queen of the forest again! Today we are going to use my wood burning tool and put the initials of the park we visited in our walking sticks...a tradition I hope to continue many more Wednesdays. I left the park tired, exhilarated and hungry for more time in nature. She declared it a good day. I wistfully thought of me being 60, with a full crown of grey hair, long and lean from many miles of Wednesdays...with her by my side as adult. Still holding onto our Wednesdays. It would be wonderful if that came to fruition. I truly hope it does. I would love for her to have a place to "go" to remember me when I am gone. 

But for today, I will thank God for the gift of two golden hours in the woods with my daughter...67 degrees and sunny right in the middle of February. Yes God. Thank you for that. 

Until next Wednesday...get out there, find some mud and leave your tracks....get it? LEAVE your tracks :) 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Jesus wrecked my date night...

Sometimes in the our household all the stars fall in line. The dogs are fed. Everyone has been out. The guinea pigs and rabbits are resting. The hermit crabs are well "hermiting". The tortoise is doing his usual thing with his pet rock and the girl...well....she spends the night out! YES! The holy grail of parenting...the sleepover. Then you add this....the company Christmas dinner and BOOM you have a DATE night. 

I do my makeup, my hair, dress like an adult...Bryan puts on some extra essential oils and changes his shoes (more on that later) and out the door we roll! 

Last night was THAT night! I even thought ahead to bring our two angel tree kid wish lists so we could do a little retail therapy later after dinner! 

So we had a GREAT dinner at the local Japanese Steak House. We saw new babies and old friends. We ate. We laughed. We ate. I met new people. "Peopleing" is hard sometimes for me, as I sometimes experience social anxiety. Back in the old days drinking made that go away...but now I have to adult and do it dry....:) God helps that by holding me strongly on the back and gently pushing me out of my comfort zone :) 

So you are wondering where Jesus came in like a wrecking ball? Well, just wait, meanwhile try to burn that image out of your mind....

I told you we ate and I totally cleared my plate. I had purposely not eaten all day so I could , ahem, take it all in! I literally was food drunk when I pushed away from the table! At about 8:30 we decided that it was time to pack out and make our way home. Bryan muttered something about Dairy Queen...and I just chuckled. 

So out the door we went. As we were buckling up a young man with a backpack went walking by. Then he backed up and motioned at the window. I instantly went to reach for my wallet but paused. He asked if we had any spare change, he was looking to purchase a cold weather sleeping bag. 

I instantly took him off guard and said, you are not going to believe this, but I have a sleeping bag in my trunk. Would you want to look at it? He said, yes mam. Right here I am going to quit with the quotes. I hate quotation marks and can't seem to handle them...just like my liquor! :) 

I jumped out and Bryan popped the trunk. The bag turned out to be too lightweight. I pressed on and said do you need a new shirt? How about some socks? He was in shock. He mentioned toiletries and tears came to my eyes. I had NO Homeless kits left. I gave them all out on my TN trip and had not reloaded the car yet. Here is where Jesus steps in....
I had a roll of TP and asked if he needed this...he said, no mam, I go into places to use the restroom. I dug some more to make sure that I did not have anything. Oh, would you like a liter of water!? Yes, I will take that. 

Then I turned around and asked him his name. Enter Jesus. No I can't remember his name. But I introduced myself. He said he was not a bad person, it was a generational thing. His father had started out this way and now he was on the streets. I looked at his face. He was Zac's age. Zac is my son and 27. He said he was on probation and getting things straight. He said again, I am not a bad person. I stopped him right there and said, Honey, I too have been a "bad person" , we all have been bad. I told him, it's the ones that say they have done no wrong that we need to worry about. He laughed. His smile was glorious. 

Jesus is about to let the wrecking ball drop. 

I asked him, Can I give you a hug. He opened his arms wide open and gave me the biggest hug. Then he hugged Bryan and he said I feel like we are family....and Bryan said something about we are family...but that was when the wrecking ball hit my chest and the ugly cry was starting to come. 

I tried to gather myself and told him, let me see how much money I have so you can get that bag you need and some other stuff, and my husband said, no, I have it. Bryan had done some work for his parents and they always give him some money. 

He handed that boy a $50. His face was perplexed. He said, the sleeping bag costs $49.95. That is exactly what I need! Bryan handed him another bill and said, for tax....take it. He said he really appreciated it. We chatted a bit more and then he said goodbye. 

He mentioned that he had a tent set up by the church. I know Ward's Corner pretty well and knew exactly which church he was talking about. 

Sure enough when we eventually pulled out of the lot I saw him, walking with a little pep in his step to that very church. I wish I was better with names. It takes me about 4 times to meet you before I get them. But I do remember his daughters name. He told us he had a 3 year old girl, named Havilah. I told him it was a beautiful name. He said the girls mother had chosen it from the Bible. 

I am still wrecked reading this. Normally , when I roll along encountering the homeless, I am alone and hold it together until I pull away. This time, as I sat outside a restaurant that I had just eaten about $30 in food. I could not imagine what ALL that money could have gone to, how many lives it could have changed. There were probably about 40+ people inside. 

I know we all need fun sometimes, and it's nice to celebrate the season with others. But for me, the Lord has broken me to pieces and wrecked my date night by giving me the eyes to see, the heart that breaks for what breaks His heart. I pray for that every night. 

So yes, Jesus wrecked my date night. In a good way. I got a reality check. A tiny Bible slap that while we have so much, some have so little. It's our job to even the score. 

On the way home I looked in the mirror at the Tracy that had just had an ugly cry. Makeup wrecked, eyes puffy, heart hurting. All ideas of shopping late night went out the window. 

I love me some Courtney Love :) 

Instead we went home to our warm home, let the dogs in and out, locked our doors and laid in bed eating ice cream quietly. Well as quiet as you can with two little dogs watching your every move! I could not help but think of people who were sleeping outside, while I was nestled in my bed. 

I hope Jesus keeps wrecking my life. 

God Bless 


PS I said I would talk about Bryan changing shoes to go out. Scroll back up to the top. See that plaid shirt. Yep. plaid. Guess what shoes he wore out and I did NOT notice until we were walking back in our front door last night AFTER the festivities....here is a picture of the shoes!  ( #WifeFail ) :) 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

We'll leave the light on for ya....or not.

Church. Open Doors. Lights. Shades. Locks. Words all running thru my mind. Add in Motel 6 and there ya have the title of this blog. 

I will explain all this hopefully in this quick post. I got hit this morning with the idea of churches being open to all, available and a safe place. 
Then I thought a little harder, as the coffee kicked in and thought. Am I, as a Christian, open to all, available and a safe place? 


Case in point. I have been known to stop for homeless. pets. people. anyone. Give them all I got. The hat off my head. The bible off the seat. You name it. 
The other day traveling thru Downtown Great Bridge. We saw a man in a white button up shirt and tie walking toward the ATM. As we did our banking , he turned and started back the way he came. When we finished up our drive thru biz...we found him once again walking on this sweltering day. 

Bryan: let's pick him up. He needs help. 
Me: NO! we can't put him in the back seat with Cora. 
Cora: huh? 
Bryan: why not? 
Me: He could be a serial killer...or something along that line...

Don't quote me. But the convo did go like that. somewhat. All the while Bryan is braking and driving, braking and driving. In the end he gave in to my NO and kept going. 

Why did Tracy not let that man in the car. Why will Tracy stop in busy intersections and pray with homeless and give them her last dime, but not let Mr. Whitebread America in the car. Do I not trust a button up shirt , tie wearing guy? I do have a certain aversion to middle age, slightly graying men who dress business like. What the hell is that? I come from a blue collar family. That could be it. I ain't scared of " the man" . that's not it. Perhaps that is the general population that looks me up and down and says harrumph at my tattoos etc. who the hell knows. What I do know is that at that moment. I was not a "church" . We are all walking churches if we have Jesus in our hearts. All people, whether walking in button up shirts and ties OR in full biker regalia OR in rags are children of the God most High. So. Mission failed. So much for the Golden Rule...treat others as you yourself would like to be treated. BAM! 

My church was closed. I had locked the door. I had drawn the shades and worse off...when the doorbell rang. I ran and hid behind the couch and told the other people in the house to shhhhhhh, they might hear us! 

What the What? 
Being a Christian does not mean you have "Christian" hours. Like on Sunday between the hours of 10am- noonish. You are open 24 / 7 . . . you are a bit like an IHOP. You are serving it hot 24 hours a day. Rain, shine, running late, good hair day, bad hair day, step in dog poop day. You serve God. When you serve God, you serve others. You love others. You help others. You just do. There is no blinking neon sign in your eyes that states. I am a Christian now...hurry up. Closing in 5 minutes. :) 

Your light is always on. I seriously used to laugh at the bracelets that said WWJD? But now, I find my inner Tracy saying...what would Jesus do? Would he lock the doors, pull the shades and keep driving. Would he say, but I have to pee really really bad and I ain't got time for this. 

NO he would not. He would stop. He would ask: Did you need any help? And then he would listen. 

Don't forget to listen today. 

Remember to leave the light on . . . :)