Monday, January 30, 2012

The Power Of Love

In John 13 God commands us to "Love one another as I have loved you."  Christians know this verse... even non-christians often know this verse.... It is so common that it sounds like something you would learn in kindergarten class-  "Love your neighbor as yourself."  We say it so easily but do we really know the power of love?  Do we really know what it looks like to love your neighbor as yourself?  Because I don't know about you... but I think I love myself a lot... but I don't necessarily in my flesh love strangers the same way I love myself... so the big question.... how can I love people that I barely know... or even people that I don't know??? 
     The Answer..... (hint... it is not me...)  God is love... It is who He is... it is His character... God isn't just loving... He Is Love!!  When we walk in the Holy Spirit, we walk in the power of Jesus which means that we also love in the power of Jesus' love... so what does this love look like???
  • This love looks like 20+ volunteers showing up on a Sunday afternoon to stand out in a parking lot serving food to the homeless.  (Thank you all of you!!)
  • This love looks like pans of homemade cookies still warm on the plate as weathered hands reach for them... and then ask, "Can I take a couple more?"
  • This love looks like a truck overflowing with bags of clothes that the Riverside Basketball Team brought because their coach challenged them... rather than making them... The boys stepped up to the challenge and overwhelmed us with their generous offerings!
  • This love looks like kind women stirring piping hot chocolate and laddeling it into paper cups.... to be later sipped while resting at a nearby table... a time of safe, non-threatening rest for the weary.
  • This love looks like homemade hats made of warm flannel... placed lovingly on the head of a homeless man by a caring volunteer... with the unsaid message- yes you are worthy... you are not despicable...
  • This love looks like a friendly smile, a hand shake, direct eye contact, and true desire to know your name.
  • It looks like.... the want to find a hairbrush for someone who has such a simple request.
  • It looks like... taking off your gloves, belt, or jacket and handing them to a stranger who needs them more than you.
  • It looks like... praying with a stranger beside a busy road.
  • It looks like... a cup filled to the brim with meaty hot stew... in the hands of a hungry new friend.
  • It looks like....a woman pouring out her heart in tears with a new friend that she just met....worlds apart.... yet belonging to the same God....
  • It looks like... a group of volunteers and homeless holding hands together... praying to the Lord God Almighty as one family.... thanking, requesting, trusting, and celebrating!
Romans 8:38-39 says, "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through HIm who loves us.  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to seperate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!"   Yes Jesus' love is enough!! Yes... in His Word He promises that His love is enough to help us through the lowest points of our lives as well as the highest points... His love is enough to conquor the destruction of drugs, alcohol, abuse, addictions, and our past....

It is only through His Love that our Sundays can be transformed into a time of fellowship, provision, and celebration of God's Creations... yes... celebrating truly special people who are hurting unbelievably- not so much from the outdoors and the conditions, but rather from broken hearts... past hurts that have ripped them to pieces.... crumbled children's hearts in big people bodies. ....... Jesus' love heals all.... His love is always enough... His love conquors all!!!!

Close to 90 homeless were fed, they were able to hear the message that has poured out week after week-  "Jesus has not forgotten you!!!"  "You are worthwhile and special" "God has a purpose for your life".  God provided clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, toothbrushes, shoes, deoderant, socks, hats, and gloves.  He provided these things through the hearts of people who love Jesus... the message passes on from one side of the box to the other....

It truly is amazing -   "The Power of Jesus' Love"..... shown through so many genuine acts of kindness... Yes it does make a difference!!!
Jesus, It is an honor to serve you every week.  I feel like my heart is being formed week by week... a little more defined than the week before.  Thank you for protecting and loving our 1st Street friends... thank you for oozing your love- through us... your broken little pots  :0)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Snowflake pictures...

Like A Snowflake

Each week that we go out is just like a snowflake-  no one is the same as another....This week was no exception.  With all of the snow this past week, we decided to bring hot food so we had hotdogs, chips (thanks to Mr. Frito Lay Kevin), cake, and hot coco.  We set up across the street from our normal place because we didn't want to get stuck in the snow.  Janet suggested across the street at the old Lariet Burger place.  It was perfect-  There was a covered area to set up under which was perfect because it was snowing like crazy.  We weren't sure how many people would show up, but even in the snow... they 
      Janet and Ken brought two propane heaters and before long we had a pot of hot coco and a pot of hotdogs!  Yum...Plenty of people showed up because they tore through 150 hot dogs!  We encouraged them to take more than one so they could have some for dinner later that night so I think it is safe to say 50-60 people were fed.  Thank you Jesus!!
     There were really neat things that happened today.  We brought our snow shovels and some our first street friends jumped in to help.  They helped shovel the snow to clear the area and they helped put up our canopy while others stepped up to help unload boxes.  A few said, "We didn't think you guys would come today because of the snow."  People seemed to hang around longer today drinking hot coco and visiting.  It was neat to get to know them better.  New volunteers came which was also fun.  It is always fun seeing people's reactions when they haven't been out before.  Usually they start out hanging back a little, but within a very short time... they jump in and are wrapped up in the middle of it!  Very Cool!! The blessings go around and around the group! 
     Another thing that was different was that after we had all the food ready and the people lined up... I was able to speak to them... about Jesus... See we don't preach.... but I felt like I had a word for them... and the word went something like this..."Please know that the reason we come out here on a snowy day is Jesus. 

It all goes back to Jesus!  Yes.. Jesus is the reason for the season.... Jesus is our strength and our comfort... Jesus is where all peace comes from.... Jesus is the one who knew us before we were born... He knew us while we were still in our mother's womb...before we were knit together!  He has a purpose and a future planned for us.... plans for good, plans to prosper us.... It always goes back to Jesus!!!   So..... I started out by saying... "Please know that the reason we come out here on a snowy day to be with you is Jesus."  I said, "We are not rich, we can't come up with all of this stuff on our own, but when we share what we are doing with our friends, people from all over the community donate items."  I told them that strangers care, we care, and most importantly Jesus cares.  I continued..." You need to know that Jesus has not forgotten you.... that He has never forgotten you and He loves you very much."  I said, "We love you guys... It is crazy because we don't even know you and you don't really know us... but because of the love that Jesus puts in our hearts.. we love you and want to make sure that you are fed and that you have warm clothes." 
     A Native American man about 40 ish seemed very touched but he also wanted to make sure that we knew that they are not "bums"  that they are trying.  He said that he shoveled walks all day today to try and earn money.  He had a desperation in his voice that seemed to scream out to us his huge need to make sure that we knew that they were not lazy or losers.... The cool thing was that I was able to assure him that it could be any one of us out there and that within our group of volunteers we had people who were recovering addicts, divorced, abused, bankrupt, etc.... we were there to love- not judge because as the Lord said,  2 John  8:7 "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast the first stone."  I believe that our 1st street friends got it... that they really understood that we were there because of Jesus' love over flowing from our hearts.  Jesus continues to build trust between "them" and "us" and is showing us that the gap between people on either side of the box ....really isn't that big at all....We prayed together as a group for our meal... and then dished up... followed by distributing clothes, boots, toilet paper, and toilettries.  (The crazy thing is that the morning before... we did not have anything to hand out except for a bag of underclothes... by 5:00 P.M. five people had come by our house and dropped off a ton of clothes, blankets, boots, and toilettries!! Wow!  God blows me away every time!!!)
     People hung around a little longer, they talked and visited a little more... there were a lot of smiles and much laughter....and they seemed to bask in the "peace that goes beyond understanding"  on a cold, snowy day least for a little part of their day... My prayer is that the peace that goes beyond understanding.... follows them down the street to wherever they were headed..."  I know that we..the volunteers... were extremely blessed.... and that every time we go out...Keith and I are changed.... on the inside... and it is starting to leak through to our outside... Thank you Jesus for not forgetting any of us.... Your love brings peace and healing beyond understanding... Thank You!!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I guess I am not ready to leave the blog yet... there is still more mulling around in my head about today.  It was different today... every time we go down is different, but today was a lot different than the last month or so.  It was more like back in November when we started going out.  The difference I think was because for the last month... it has been relatively warm compared to the last week.  And if you remember from the last blog... there has been a lot of violence down by the river so people have lost some of their belongings... all of this led to a bit more desperation and urgency....
    We pulled up and right away there were probably 20-25 people waiting for us.  As we were unloading someone from the crowd called out-  "Where's the trailer?"  because usually we have the 2 vehicles plus a trailer full of things for them.  Keith felt like today we needed to just bring the essentials such as hats, blankets, gloves, socks, coats, and toiletries.  Janet and Ken had their rig  and they were unloading as quickly as we were because you could tell that people were anxious to get at it.   As we were unloading the boxes and bags... I felt a little funny (can you say "Awkward") standing there.... this little white lady.... asking all these big men to get in line... and then eventually assigning this one guy as "line leader" so that we could get some crowd control and a little order.  (I didn't have to bring out my teacher voice though, so that is a good thing  lol)  But Keith did almost have to bring out his "bouncer" skills because some guy was trying to cut in front of the line and get at the blankets first.  (And no he has never been a bouncer, but I think he has "skills" lol)   O.K.  anyway.... The urgency was from the cold.... and the growing need....People were genuinely hungry today.   We had sandwiches from last week that I had put away in the freezer, Janet and her family brought sandwiches, Jerry and Mel had candy bags, and Don and Julie had donated more donuts from the days left overs (Thank you Lord!).  People had an urgency and a real need for the shampoo, soap, toilet paper... for the sweatshirts, socks, and gloves....Again I am amazed at how much went... but like always God went one more step and showed me repeatedly how his "enough" is always "enough".  We had run out of food and a new group had walked up.  It is a horrible feeling to say, "I am sorry, but we don't have any more food." Well.... Doug ran over to his truck and brought out a pot of chili-  He said it was only "luke warm" but let me tell you-  Luke warm chili served in a cup with a nice plastic spoon accompanied by some wonderful chips that Keith found in the back of the Suburban (donated by our neighbor- God uses so many people!!! )  made for a wonderful outdoor lunch.  :0)  Let's just say,  God's "enough" is always "enough".  Earlier in the day, this very nice- soft spoken man asked me for a hat... I checked down the line and asked Olivia if there were any more stocking hats... no hats.... but then.. wait... there had been a stocking cap smashed down behind my seat in the truck all week.... I told him to hold on and I ran to look in the truck... yep yep... I was honored to put a nice warm stocking cap on the head of this very thankful man....God's "enough" is always "enough"  It is the fishes and loaves from the bible that always, always, always blows me away.  It doesn't matter if I am at work, at home, or down on 1st street... God is continually showing me that just like in the bible when there was enough "fishes and loaves" to feed the masses.... God always makes "enough" be "enough".  My faith grows by the week as he continually grows me.... I was able to speak with one woman today right before we left... she looked to be about my age or maybe a bit younger.... she was disturbed both mentally and spiritually.... you could tell that she was tormented by her past and by the pain that she was dealing with.  She was a believer, but she talked in confusing circles.... she talked for about 5 minutes with me, but I really can't say what we talked about because it was very confusing.... the gist of it was that she is hurting emotionally, mentally not all there, spiritually searching... then at the very end... she saw something in me (not anything that I can take credit for though... I didn't know what to say, but I said that God wants to grow our joy and heal our pain every day... and that it is a process that he will be working on for as long as we live... even when I am 90 something I know that God will be continuing to grow and stretch my faith and my joy.  Well something of Jesus must of reached her because she smiled a huge smile, grabbed me and hugged me and with a clarity I hadn't seen said, "God bless you... I love you and will see you next week."   Once again I was left with the feeling like... Wow... what the heck just happened... I knew it was a God thing and that I was able to be a part of it.... I was able to witness God speaking to someone's heart....and see what that looked like in her eyes.....  Thank you Jesus for letting me be apart of something called "Life" that is so much huger than me or any one of us.... Thank you for showing me that Your "enough" is always "enough.  I am humbled and thankful!! Thank You Jesus- Amen, Amen!!  :0)

23 years old.... and lost...

     This week I have another haunting thought...You know the kind.... it goes through your mind and then your driving down the highway and wham!.... the thought goes through your head again.... and two weeks later... you are still dwelling on the person....Chris  (the prostitute that we met 12 weeks ago) haunts me... I wonder where she is... I haven't seen her for 3 or 4 weeks.  D- haunts me because his twitching and writhing is so bad from all of the drugs he has done, I wonder if the damage is permanent....
      and now there is T.... T is a 23 year old skinny, 6ft.something... African American young man that came up to us today.  His pants were hanging down lower than they should be... and his hair was sticking up higher than it should be...A fro that definately needed a cut and probably some shampoo.  He caught my eye right away because we don't see too many African American's down here.  I knew that Keith would connect with him right away because he tries to connect with anyone that looks new, but especially if they are black.  I think since he is black too, that they usually connect right away.  He wants so much for them to feel comfortable.  When Keith told me about their conversation.... I wanted to cry.   We have an almost 22 year old son who is living away from home.... but the stories between our T and the T we met down on North 1st street are so so different....  Keith's conversation went something like this:
K:  Hey- what's your name?
T:   Pause... T
K:   How old are you?
T:   Pause....(the pause is processing time because he was high )  23
K:  Wow man... where are you from?
T:   Elgin, Illinois
K:  Wow.. that is far, how did you get here?
T:  P.a.u.s.e..... walked
K:  You walked from Illinois?
T:  Ya...
K:  Is your mom there?
T:  Don't know
K:  Is she alive?
T:   Uhhhhhhhh Don't know.......
K:  How about your dad??
T:   Hmmmmm... Don't know......
K:  What do you want to do? (Like what are your plans??)
T:   Go to Idaho
K:  Really?  What is in Idaho?
T:  Open space.................
K:  Did you grow up in church?
T:   Ya.....
K:  Can I pray for you?  Is there anything I can pray for?
T:  Ya..... My Soul..........
Keith went ahead and prayed with T and then told him that he hoped to see him next week.

When I heard the conversation, I wanted to weep.... God did not want our babies to grow up to walk aimlessly across the country,  to not know where their parents are or if they are even alive... I know that there are far worse things in this world that go on but this just touched my heart.  We also have a 20 something year old.... he text me tonight and is doing great... he lives in Seattle- works for Microsoft and is taking a short break from classes at the Seattle Art Institute.  He was telling me how much he has in his 401K and also how much he has in Microsoft stock..... I personally wouldn't care if he worked for Microsoft or Babysoft.... the fact is .... he has a job, he has a future, he is exicted and striving for his future, he knows that he has a mom and dad that love him, and he knows that even though he isn't embracing Christianity at this time... that God is real and that God loves him....
       T  wants open space.... and if you could fill in the blanks... he would also say-  food on a regular basis.... and something to keep him warm... probably a pillow wouldn't hurt either.... He asked for  prayer  for his "soul"  Even in T's stonned state- He knew that he needed God... and he cared enough about God to ask for his help.   T had the vulnerable, little boy look to him that made me imagine what he probably looked like in kindergarten.... His body was long and gauky like he hadn't grown into his "man body" yet.... unfortunately he has probably experienced much too harsh a life then most of our men..... T is so young,  so needy,  and so lost.... only God can  heal all that needs to be healed, only God can fix all that needs to be fixed.   T will haunt my thoughts for a long time.... this is not a bad thing though because then in my busyness I might remember to pray for him.... in my hustle and bustle and inconveniences... I will thank God that I have "hustle and bustle" and not complain so much.... And maybe when I think about my own son.... I will appreciate his text's a little bit more.....  And remember to pray for the souls of all my children.....

Dear Jesus,  Thank you for helping me to see people through your eyes.  I believe that the anguish I feel for them... is only a smidgen of the anguish you feel for the world.... Thank you for growing and stretching me every day... In Jesus Holy Name... Amen

Sunday, January 8, 2012

One More Thing....

And one more thought..... It would be so horrible to tormented day and night by an addiction... your entire day and night would be ruled by how you were going to get it, what you would have to do to get it, where you would get it,  if you would have enough of it..... it would be a living, waking, walking hell that would hold you in oppression... it would push down on you like a bully holding your head down in a toilet bowl-  swishing and swirling- only letting you up long enough to take a quick breath and then back down again....  I am blessed to not have something so obvious oppressing me, but I can't help but wonder what little things in my life  I let oppress me, obcess me.... rule me.. on a much more understated level????   Are there thoughts that I focus on day and night??? Are there things that I rely on for a "fix" that I can't wait to get to??? Are there things that I go out of my way for to make sure and put in my day because it makes my day easier.... less painful.... more handleable.... I am not shootiing up or drinking a fifth a day... but I can easily be oppressed by depression to the point of dysfunction-  thankfully there are legal medications for that!  Depression, bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, hatred, complaining, judging, comparing- are all oppressive things that hold us back from being who God made us to be.  Just like an addict needs Jesus to break the addiction-  We need Jesus to break those things that oppress us.   I need to rely less on food, t.v., cookies, facebook, candy bars, my latte, (and did I mention just chocolate in general) to relieve the oppressive feelings and rely on my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be the one to help me through those times....Lord Jesus- Please give us the strength to fall to our knees before you first before we open one more candy bar or grab one more... ( you fill in the blank  :0)    in Jesus Holy Name-  Amen!

Keep Moving Down The Path

Over the Christmas Holiday, I was able to see all of our children.  It is so fun to see how they are growing, making choices for themselves, and blossoming as young adults.  They are all definitely changing, but what is so funny is that Keith and I are also growing and changing.  When my oldest son left for college- we got a dog for Olivia.  We had never had a dog in the previous 12 years of marriage, but it was time.  Needless to say-shortly after our purchase- my son blogged that he had been replaced by a dog when he went to school.  Kind of true/kind of not true.  No one could replace him, but his life was moving on in great ways that did not need mom and dad in the same way.... so we bought a dog, lol.  
     Well, page ahead a year and our 2nd son comes homes from college for Christmas.  I think that he thinks that we have gone nuts.  He goes away for 4 months and suddenly mom and dad are filling the living room up with boxes and bags of clothes for the next days "distribution."  His comment, "I to away to college, and my parents replace me with homeless people."  We laughed about it and later it became a little clearer.... God wired me to be a mom.... 100% nurture.... care for.... encourage....uplift... in my own goofy way... I do that to the best that I know how because I don't know how not to.  It is how I am made....Later I told my son that he and his siblings are growing up and moving on.  They are all making exciting and awesome choices/changes/etc. in their lives that don't need a mom and dad holding on too we are just directing that natural "nurturing" to a group of people who could use a little "love." 
     In Luke 3:11 it says, "If you have two coats, give one to the poor.  If you have extra food, give it away to those who are hungry."  Today we handed out 60+ pairs of socks, 30+ hats, 30+ gloves, 20-25 pairs of jeans, 35-40 jackets, chips, sandwiches, and 48 rolls of toilet paper along with multiple other odds and ends.  Wow!  I really do always wonder where all the "stuff" will come from.  It comes from caring friends, family, friends of friends,etc.  who opened their hearts and took the time to dig out the used clothes that they wanted to get rid of.  God took their things and through a variety of people- got it to us.  He managed to fill a lot of "needs" today.
     That feels good filling needs, but then you hear about what has been going on this past week throughout the area.... down by the river.... (This is a whole new education for us... we just keep on learning.).  Given the fact that this week was the first of the month... people received their money from the various government programs they are on.  Needless to say... it has been one huge drug/drinking fest.  They told us that there has been a lot of violence down by the river because so many people over did it.  Tents were slashed and burned, there were mass fights, and a lot of chaos followed.  Many of the people we saw today were "juiced" up on their drug of preference.  
     My "cognitive" side says, "Why are we putting all of this effort into people who are no where close to taking responsibility for their lives?"  Thankful for my wiring--- Jesus speaks to my heart and not my brain.  He reminds me that they are someone's child- that they didn't get this way over night- that they must have a lot of pain that they are trying to escape-- and if all else fails--- because Jesus loved me before I ever knew Him... and He forgave me for ALL of my sins... not just the ones that were "not so bad". 
     Please don't think that we are such wonderful people to love the lowly or that we have something special... no on the contrary.... it is only because of the love we receive from Jesus that we are able to extend that love. I am constantly fighting my human-ness.  I think judgemental thoughts and try to rationalize and make "cognitive" sense of what we are doing.  God continually convicts my heart and says... "I just told you to love them and try and supply some of their basic needs.  Don't judge them, don't try and make sense of it, don't try and fix them.... just love."   Wow!  Humbly I say, "o.k...." and realize that I can not make sense of why God gave me so many chances in my own life.  It doesn't make sense how He could forgive me for my past, but He did.... So each day I try to judge a little less....... and love a little more.  (Forgive me Lord for my judgemental ways....Please continue to grow me and stretch me.)
                  Thank you Lord for never giving up on me!  I love you Lord forever-  CC  :0)   (Special thanks to the Eisenhower Boys Basketball team and Coach Monti for helping out today-  you were a huge blessing!) 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sing Praise!!

Psalm 7:17  "Oh, how grateful and thankful I am to the Lord because he is so good.  I will sing praise to the name of the Lord who is above all Lords!"  and Psalm 9:1  "O Lord, I will praise you with all my heart, and tell everyone about the marvelous things you do.  I will be glad, yes, filled with joy because of you.  I will sing your priases, O Lord God above all gods."
      If you know me, then you know that in my flesh- I can not sing!!! Now my husband can sing!..... but I just make noise to the Lord!  However, I can and do sing praise to the name of the Lord!!  Each week that we go down to North 1st street the Lord seems to amaze me... each and every time!  This week was no different. 
     I never know where we will get the things that we take down to the homeless.  I do know though, that ask and you shall receive.  The Lord does provide all that you need.  My sister-in-law Debbie manages The Old Light House which is a second hand store for the mission.  She allowed me to go in and pick some things... o.k. a lot of things :0)  for Sunday.  Then Don's Donuts and Julie's Java (which is the best donut place ever!) gave us all of their donuts that were left over from yesterday's batch.  Doug Snipes' two boys had a New Year's Eve party with their friends with the hook that their friends needed to bring clothes to donate to the homeless!  A man who lives at the mission met us at the car when we pulled up and asked us to help us hand out clothes- he was hispanic and was able to also translate for us (God, You think of everything!!!).  Pastor Mel and Jerry brought some wonderful men's clothes as well as a bucket of candy (Yes!!! Everyone likes candy!!!).  Tim, Janet, and Ken brought sandwiches and clothes.  Tom brought a whole bunch of energy and some stocking caps.
      The young man who was suicidal two weeks ago and scared to death to stay at the mission prayed with Keith and the guys then returned last week to tell us he has a job working at the mission- and then returned this week to give us $20.00 to buy toiletries with. A man stopped to give us $5.00 to put towards the cause, and a young couple stopped by to give us the bucket of little girls clothes that they were taking to Good Will.  Each one of these things may seem like no big deal, but in the scheme of things.... God provided ALL of our needs and wants (because it is hard to say that "donuts" are a need :0)   The bucket of little girls clothes went to a 4 year old girl named "Lexi" who desperately needed them.  Some would say it was just a coincidence that the couple was driving by at just the right time and were prompted to stop in a vacant lot and donate their clothes to a bunch of strangers.  I call it God and I sing of His Praises!!!!  Is it a coincidence that we stopped at Don's Donuts and Julie's Java on Saturday morning for a donut treat for New Years and then they offered to give us all of their extra donuts?  I call it God and I sing of His Praises!!!  It is amazing what a donut and a warm cup of hot coco will do to bring a smile to someone's face.  Is it a common occurance to have a person who was suicidal and desperate 2 weeks prior to come 2 weeks later and give us money???  I call it God and I sing of His Praises!!! I am truly humbled by the acts of  love and compassion that God allows us to see from people who have very little to give...but who choose to walk in faith and give.   I have no doubt that God is changing the hearts of the people on both sides of the box (those that are giving, donating, praying as well as those that are receiving, thanking, and praying. 
     David came today... He has not shown up for 3 weeks.  David is a meth/heroine addict who could hardly speak due to his twitches and writhing the first time we met him.  Three weeks ago, however, he asked for a bible.... then we did not see him.  It was such a blessing to know that David is back- he was high and twitching like crazy.... but he was back.  What that means to me is that David has hope.  He did not die this week- Thank you Jesus!!  It is not up to us to save- but we believe that it is an honor to be able to love- God takes care of the rest! 
     The young man that came with his 4 year old daughter looked so young.  My oldest son is 21 and he looked close to that.  He lives out of a motel room and is going through a divorce.  He has his little girl every other week but does not have clothes for her.  It humbled me to stand out on the sidewalk with this young man who was trying the best he could to be a good dad.  My heart melted as he held up the little shirts to his daughter and asked after each one if she liked it.  He was so thankful and appreciative.  His voice reverberated back to us in thanks as he walked down the sidewalk - box and bags of clothes in one hand, his little girl's hand in the other.  Lord, I sing out my praises to You!!! Thank You Lord for growing us, stretching us, and filling us with the love that you extend to all of us despite our address... or lack of.  I love You Jesus with all of my heart-  In Jesus Holy Name, CC