Monday, January 25, 2010

2nd Ave Adventures

Ever since I first started this blog, I've been wanting to write about some my past experiences while living in Oak Park. It has been hard to think which story to tell first, but I'm going to go with the story of Ron and Anita.

Ron and Anita were some neighbors that lived right across the street from us. This was when we lived on 2nd Ave a few blocks from where we live now. The house they and their kids lived in was a chopped-up remodel mess. It was a rental and it always seemed to be rented out to bad people. One time a woman and her kids rented it and, after a few days, I never saw them again. It had been taken over by drug dealers and all kinds of crazy.

Thankfully, Ron and Anita were good people. They had 5 children who were 12 and under. I think they had a blended family and the children that Ron was responsible for were named Ronnie, Ronnell, and Ronita. Quite George Foreman-esque.

This family had come from South Sacramento and were hoping for a better situation on our street. Ron had some pretty wild friends. It was clear that they had been through tough times and had experienced a tough life. Many times on the weekends his friends would come over and they'd party. We'd always say "Hi" and be neighborly. I remember when we stopped by and it was a warm summer day. Victor said to Ron and his friends "Are you having a good time hanging-out today?" Ron right away said "Vic, 'hanging-out' means that you have nothing to do and you are looking for trouble. We are 'socializing'."

A night came when Ron and Anita's big front window was shot-out by someone driving by! No one was hurt, thankfully, but it was scary. One of Ron's friends came over the next day. I wish I could remember his name because it was a tough-guy name for sure. He had, somewhere in his past, been hurt in the throat and his voice was very gravelly and deep. Anyways, this friend was into some dangerous stuff. He asked Ron if he wanted anything-anything at all. "Do you want a machine-gun?" (Ron was telling us this later and we had such a heart-stopping moment until...) Ron said "No! I DO NOT want a machine-gun. I have kids in my house!" (Whew)

Tough Guy liked Victor and once said to him "If you ever need an army, for any reason at all, I got one for you." Victor answered him "Thanks, my friend, you know I have an army-a heavenly one." TG said "I know that, but if you ever need one on earth, you call me."

I smile as I remember that...

I like how the Apostle Paul said that he tried to be 'all things to all men'.
He was able to take people as they came and share the love of God with them.
This is what the world is hungry for.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jewelry Giveaway by Rosy Revolver

One of my dreams is to someday create beautiful jewelry. I'm talking soldering, melting, oxidizing, hammering and setting. I've never tried my hand at this-it may turn out that I would be absolutely terrible at it.

I happen to 'follow' a couple of jewelry makers' blogs. Rosy Revolver is one of them. Right now, she has a jewelry giveaway-a beautiful turquoise and sterling silver necklace. Check her out below:

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Thought All Hell Was 'Bout To Break Loose!

Last Thursday night at the Arco Arena I took my kids to see Madea's Big Happy Family. It is a play by Tyler Perry and in it he plays a woman named Madea-kind of a take on 'my dear'.
Madea, an older woman, has strict standards of respecting yourself and your elders. When she misunderstands what a character says and thinks that there was some disrespect toward her, she has to ask again what that character has said. When she finally understands she will say something like "Oh, I thought you were being disrespectful to me and all hell was 'bout to break loose!"

I like Madea for many reasons. She is edgy. She packs 'heat' in her handbag. She isn't a real faithful church-going woman, yet she will bust out with wisdom. It is so funny when she tries to quote scripture-it is always a mix of parables and OT stories. She does get her point across though.

All of the people that are in Tyler Perry's productions can sing like you've never heard! Each person at some point in the play sings a solo and it blows you away. Such talent.

Oh, and do NOT be late to his play. He is known for breaking character and asking you why you were late! Sure enough, it happened Thursday night. (We were in the second row by the way)

Madea stops.
"Here you are, you've paid all of this money to sit up front and now you are stepping over folks!"

"Why are you late?"
"Where did you come from?"

"Quit taking pictures-you know it isn't allowed-see that man over there, security? He's gonna snatch you!"

This was my 3rd Tyler Perry play that I've seen live. I think he is a good man who cares about young people, his own community and encouraging people in their faith. This particular production was in honor of his mother who just recently passed away. It was really a touching story emphasising how important a mothers faithful prayers for her children are-he made me cry!

Thanks for the early Valentine, Mr Perry!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Neighbors and JW's

This week we've had two houses on our block looked at by potential buyers or renters. This is always something to make note of for The Band of Mothers. We are concerned that the homes get filled with GOOD neighbors. One of the houses being looked at is the house that just got cleaned up by us. I really hope that our reputation has preceeded us-that we will be very nosy. We are just not going to let harm come to our kids.

In other news, I took Victor to the airport before dawn. He is heading to the North East and left with a big cold-bummer. He speaks tomorrow morning at a church. They want to learn about CUFI. I hope he feels better in the morning. He will be going to Connecticut, Pennsylvania, DC and New York.

Some Jehovahs Witnesses came to the door today-Oy. I am not good at talking to them. The man had a small boy with him and he was the cutest! Before the father got too far into his talk, I asked if we could just say "Jesus is Lord!" together so that I would know that the Spirit of God was living inside of the man. I started saying, enthusiastically "Jesus is Lord!" and the little boy chimed right in. I thought that was pretty great especially since I wasn't talking to the little guy.

Overall I don't think I did very well with the man. When he left, his wife had come up and she was mad and I just had a funky feeling. I prayed for them and for me.

Today is day 6 of the Daniel fast. I'm doing good on it, but today I made a salad for a get-together and I don't like it. I am contemplating whether to take it to the gathering or not...
New recipes are being tried a lot at our house. Most have been really great and I will add them to our family's regular menu.

Hoping for good things coming down the line.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Year, New Dreams

I had a strange Autumn this year. Several things that I was going to begin: School, helping a relative, and a bible study- didn't happen. Circumstances changed and I couldn't do any of those projects.

I honestly felt thwarted.

Praying about this has helped a bit, yet, I want to do something creative.

Our whole church is beginning this new year with a Daniel's fast and prayer. I am praying that the Lord will touch my life and direct my path. This fast will be 21 days long-like Daniel did.

I am helping out a bit more at church and that has been a blessing. It feels great to get back in the game. After our really bad experience a few years ago, I haven't been stretching my 'servant wings' on a real regular basis in a church.

Ok, God. I am waiting on You. I know that You are a mighty God and You stand alone-none compares You and I certainly can't imagine what You have in store. Help me to hear Your voice. Help me to dream. Amen