Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Life has been crazy with Halloween coming. The kids have a lot of activities this time of year, so I have been quite the blogging slacker. I do have some kid updating to do and will get back on top of things after this weekend is over :) In the meantime this is a great video and reminder of how important our job as Mom is.
Monday, October 25, 2010
I am not sure why but lately I am repeatedly running into people that are having some kind of judgment issues with homeless people.
I am really shocked that in almost 2011 that people really still think that the homeless is only made up of drug addicts, criminals, or the mentally ill. Yes... That is a small part. But guess what people, so is your neighborhood.
They are working families with children.
They are former veterans who served us.
They are not drunks and drug addicts.
They are people like you and me.
The latest statistics on the homeless in America paint a disturbing truth that few of us really want to hear. Because they hit awfully close to home – and to the fact that any of us, due to an unanticipated medical problem, sudden job or housing loss or even an unexpected jail term, can easily wind up on the street.
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness (see the Web site at http://www.endhomelessness.org), there are 600,000 homeless families and 1.35 million homeless children in the U.S. And the diminishing availability of affordable housing accounts as a primary factor casting folks on the curb – literally.
The alliance claims that another 650,000 prisoners will be released onto the street this year, only adding to the homeless statistics. Unable to get jobs due to a prison record and/or lack of housing, most will have nowhere to go.
In Arizona, more than 8,000 people in Phoenix and 1,300 families in Flagstaff are homeless. We wonder how many more remain uncounted.
According to the McKinney Act, 60 percent of homeless women are single parents. While 60 percent of Americans have a substance abuse problem, 40 percent of the homeless do NOT abuse drugs, medications or alcohol. They aren’t all drunks and addicts as we tend to think.
There more than 500,000 war veterans currently homeless in America, representing more than one-third of the total homeless population. Approximately 25 percent of the homeless people become mentally ill because of their situation, and one out of six homeless people attempt suicide.
The Old Testament admonishes us to “house the homeless.” (Isaiah 58:6). What are we doing about that right here in Arizona?
Monday, October 18, 2010
There has been a lot going on here the past week.
Stephenie Meyer, “Hero at the Grocery Store,” Ensign, Dec 2006, 20–21
Suddenly everyone was quiet. Even my rowdy children paused, feeling the change in the atmosphere.
Christmas stories happen in the most everyday places. I was part of one not long ago at the grocery store. I hope I never forget it, though the memory is bittersweet.
I had been shopping for almost an hour by the time I got to the checkout lines. My two youngest sons were with me, the four-year-old refusing to hold onto the cart, the two-year-old trying to climb out of the basket and jump down to play with his brother. Both got progressively whinier and louder as I tried to keep them under control, so I was looking for the fastest lane possible. I had two choices. In the first line were three customers, and they all had just a few purchases. In the second line was only one man, a harried young father with his own crying baby, but his cart was overflowing with groceries.
I quickly looked over the three-person line again. The woman in the front was very elderly, white haired and rail thin, and her hands were shaking as she tried unsuccessfully to unlatch her big purse. In the other line, the young father was throwing his food onto the conveyor belt with superhuman speed. I got in line behind him.
It was the right choice. I was able to start unloading my groceries before the elderly woman was even finished paying. My four-year-old was pulling candy from the shelf, and my little one was trying to help by lobbing cans of soup at me. I felt I couldn’t get out of the store fast enough.
And then, over the sound of the store’s cheery holiday music, I heard the checker in the other line talking loudly, too loudly. I glanced over as my hands kept working.
“No, I’m sorry,” the checker was almost shouting at the old woman, who didn’t seem to understand. “That card won’t work. You are past your limit. Do you have another way to pay?” The tiny old woman blinked at the checker with a confused expression. Not only were her hands shaking now, but her shoulders too. The teenage bagger rolled her eyes and sighed.
As I caught a soup can just before it hit my face, I thought to myself: “Boy, did I choose the right line! Those three are going to be there forever.” My mood was positively smug as my checker began scanning my food.
But the smiling woman directly in line behind the elderly lady had a different reaction. Quietly, with no fanfare, she moved to the older woman’s side and ran her own credit card through the reader.
“Merry Christmas,” she said softly, still smiling.
And then everyone was quiet. Even my rowdy children paused, feeling the change in the atmosphere.
It took a minute for the older woman to understand what had happened. The checker, her face thoughtful, hesitated with the receipt in her hand, not sure whom to give it to. The smiling woman took it and tucked it into the elderly woman’s bag.
“I can’t accept …” the older woman began to protest, with tears forming in her eyes.
The smiling woman interrupted her. “I can afford to do it. What I can’t afford is not to do it.”
“Let me help you out,” the suddenly respectful bagger insisted, taking the basket and also taking the old woman’s arm, the way she might have helped her own grandmother.
I watched the checker in my line pause before she pressed the total key to dab at the corner of her eyes with a tissue.
Paying for my groceries and gathering my children, I made it out of the store before the smiling woman. I had made the right choice of lanes, it seemed.
But as I walked out into the bright December sunshine, I was not thinking about my luck but about what I could not afford.
I could not afford my current, self-absorbed frame of mind.
I could not afford to have my children learn lessons of compassion only from strangers.
I could not afford to be so distant from the spirit of Christ at any time of the year—especially during this great season of giving.
I could not afford to let another stranger, another brother or sister, cross my path in need of help without doing something about it.
And that is why I hope never to forget the Christmas hero in the grocery store. The next time I have a chance to be that kind of a hero, I can’t afford to miss it.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Always be honest ~ Proverbs 12:22
Count your blessings ~ Psalms 34:1-3
Bear each other's burdens ~ Galatians 6:2
Forgive and forget ~ Micah 7:18
Be kind and tender hearted ~ Ephesians 4:32
Comfort one another ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:18
Keep your promises ~ Romans 4:21
Be supportive of one another ~ Acts 20:35
Be true to each other ~ Revelations 15:3
Look after each other ~ Deuteronomy 15:11
Treat each other like you treat your friends ~ Matthew 7:12
but most important...
Love one another deeply from the heart ~ 1 Peter 1:22