Jul 27, 2015

Feed My Sheep. Sometimes A Pizza.

I watch the three young men walk in the church. They welcome people. They stand out. They stand tall. They speak different. They look different. They are goofy, loud and annoy some people. Occasionally they mess up a golf cart.
Cry me a river...
They are a work in progress. Lets help them progress.
They are part of the youth group. Not your white bread, young life camp, singing around the fire youth group.

This is real life for many kids in my neighborhood. The kids that need us a bit more than the kids with two parents and the white picket fence.
Inner City kids.
Dad is in prison, mom is pissed and you better watch out. They know what it's like to sleep in their car, four or more deep, get beat by their mama and go hungry... on a consistent basis.
Reality. Sucks and I hate it.

A couple of the boys and I were talking in between services...

I asked...
Have you been here all day?
Have you eaten today?

Yes, but we had to leave for awhile. (I'll leave that right there)
Because home is a hell hole.
No, but it's okay. No one owes us anything.

They quickly remind me it's okay, they are fine, they don't expect anything, no worries...
I appreciate that and I tell them they should not expect things handed to them, but prepare.
But lets be honest here, if you live in a hell hole how do you prepare? How do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and bring it to church when there isn't any bread in your house?
And when did it become okay to put that on children.... especially as the church?
Yes, fifteen is still a child, even if he stands 6'3.

To coin the phrase.... What Would Jesus DO?
Sometimes we have to go to the obvious.
I think as the church we miss the boat, literally.
Raising hand in guilt.
Repeat.... don't miss this please.

We talk about jumping out of the boat. But maybe the church is in the wrong boat.
Somedays the Church boat is bogged down with agendas, mantras, statements and we become fat with fish.
Share your fish Church.
Otherwise our boat is going to start stinking,
and then sinking.

                                 I know everyone wants a piece of our fish... I know it's never ending... but we are the church... we are made for this... created for this... designed for this... have two hands for this.
                                                                     We are fishers of men.
                                                                         Remember Jesus?
       Did He not give us the best proof ever that He will provide all the fish we need, with leftovers
                                                                                 to spare?

Later, two young female mentors take these three tall young men to dinner. They feed their hungry bellies. These young men ask them about their home lives. They ask about their relationship choices. They repeatedly ask, "You have good mamas, don't you?"
These boys are hungry for healthy community, they have been starved of it, just like their bellies.

When it was time to drive the boys home, they dance, tell jokes, anything to put off getting in the car, closing the door on a night of laughter.

                                                    Summer is a long reality for inner city kids.

These boys spent most of the day in the church building. They felt safe, yet they were still hungry. Hungry for food and I wonder also if they were hungry for community.

If you saw them yesterday, did you reach out to them?
Did you feed His sheep?
They are all around us, no matter where you live, attend church, streets you walk.
Invite them into your life.
At the end of the day, my sweet brothers and sisters we must remember our mission.
We are the hands and feet of Jesus.
                                                         We must not forget the faces in front of us.
                                                                                     Look up.
                                                                            From your phones.
                                           The sheep are all around us. Feed them, sometimes a pizza.

Jul 24, 2015

Friends... I'll Be There For You.

When I texted my new friend today, the one I met last month. The one who wore a British cap, leggings (yes, they make those) and brought half (yes, half) a British ice cream cake to my house in 100 degree temps. She texted me from her car, after leaving her son's birthday party. 
His birthday is in January (I think) and asked if I had freezer space. 
Where do we start with that?
The birthday party... the freezer space? 
She was on her way to my house along with 75 other women and this is what she asks. 

If you think for minute there's a chance I could not have this woman in my life, no way. 
This is my kind of quirky, crazy, bring it on friend
 I need more of.
 Let's go. 
So I texted her this morning and her response... "I can't talk right now, I'm about to go on TV." 
So, there ya go. Can I pick em or what?! 

The one who asks me to help her with something
 in her house, and we get together with our sweet husbands and share dinner. 
They are solid, the husband is crazy.
 (I like that)
"How exactly did your hot air balloon land in Canada and you get arrested?"
 This woman I find I have much in common with, she is so easy to be around. 

The one I met through the one I love, who invites me to the Hillsong concert and her small group and her life. She is going to be a life long friend. I can feel it. 

The one who goes to the Tomato Festival with us for a second year in a row because we are family. This time with a baby tomato on the way (sorry:)) This family that I love so much. 

The ones I sit on my porch with on evenings and share life, heartache, joys, sorrows. These souls that laugh loud and make my stomach hurt. They are mostly young and I love them so. 

The one I met who writes beautiful words. We connected because of loss and we fill something in each other. I will never be her mom, but there are moments I want to hug her and call her daughter and tell her how much her mama loves her and how proud she is of her. 

The one I met and immediately knew her character and integrity. The one who's mom is dying and I tell her I am here for her, though I know I cannot do anything... really, but I care so much for this sweet woman, who loves her mom so much. She is a good daughter.  

The ones, neighbors who ask if they can get married in our backyard. We have rich conversations about important things and we love them. 

The one who went through a serious illness at 23 last fall, slept many hours here, binge watched Friends on Netflix, never complaining, only smiling. This same one laughing on our porch last night after sharing with me how she has been accepted into Law School. 

The ones who walked through our gates Tuesday night, to connect with other women. Seventy six women... who sat on the floor, shared space and gave voice and ear to one another. The ones who held cameras and phones and did new things and were not afraid. The ones who spoke because they knew what they had to say mattered. 

These new friends. Each one of them I consider a friend, and I cannot wait to get to know them better!

I gotta shout it out! When you tell God you are totally available... watch out!!
He brings the goods and thankfully it's in my love language... People!!

We don't forget, the people we love who we raised our babies with, who we share blood with and who we did life with. We are all still family. 
But we add and multiply and we share the joy of this sweet life. 
I must shout out my praise to my God because I am grateful, always grateful. 

Jul 16, 2015

I'm Cheating On You...

Hey sweet blog. The one who held my heart and formed my words when I was in dark places. The one who reminded me that I was enough, could fight through, claw my way up. The one who made me laugh and cry... yada, yada... Yeah, you.
I remember you. But... I've been cheating on you.

Of course you've noticed. Late nights and early mornings when I didn't show up, my side of the screen blank, obviously never logging on.

I traded rich words for clever phrases... profound pictures (most with hands cupped into a heart, sun streaming behind) but can you blame me? No one wants to read a blog anymore... they are too busy connecting to Periscope, tweeting and checking their bio on Crystal.

Instagram stole my heart. But I'm sure it won't last. There will be others who come slinking around, peddling their empty promises, wrapped in hearts popping into the air as I share truths and...?

Periscope, you are calling me with your sultry words.... Carol from Denver "do you like clowns?"
Nancy from Des Moines, "butter or margarine?" Sheila from Jersey, "What do think of those housewives? We don't really tawk like that!"
That whole thing terrifies me... I've never been good with a filter, I mean without one... and well, you can't stuff it back in once it's out there.

Maybe we can share our worlds dear kind hearted, nurturing, key sucking blog.
I'm not leaving you for good. Just don't want to go steady anymore.

I'm at  thegirlnamedale on instagram.
dale carroll-coleman on Periscope... when I dive down that rabbit hole.
Twitter too... but who cares? I'm looking for the next big thing.

Let's connect.

Jun 4, 2015

Treading Water

 They call from email, text messages, Facebook, sometimes even my phone. 
They are constant, like the prairie wind I found when we moved west years ago.
Over time they erode my perspective and desires,
like dirt that blows off the fields in spring. 

Before I know it I have fallen into the pot of self doubt and comparison.
It's not a far fall really. More like a hop, skip and jump.

It's not that I want to crawl back in that boat I jumped out of years ago.
 I simply forget the direction I am swimming in.
 I trade swimming for treading water.
Treading water is a dangerous place for me. 
Treading water is like drowning.
It's boring, tiring and I'm not going anywhere.
Three things I dislike.

Niggling in the back of my mind or soul is the answer.
I know it's there. I just refuse it... for a moment. 
 A moment can be long.

Then I start taking in water and I grab hold.
I look up. 
I open the pages and I breathe in.

Literally, somedays this is what it feels like.
God does not make this hard. 
He knows who He created.
I am a simple woman.
I am broken and bruised.
I forget the beauty around me and trade it in for distractions that many times include videos of puppies, kittens and monkeys.

But the moment... sometimes the second I dig in, He is there. Like the calm in the storm, He whispers to me, and my hope is renewed and I swear I will never forget again.
But I will.
And He will be there. 

But in this moment, I am never more thankful for His abiding love and mercy on my life.
A simple woman with a simple faith in an amazing God. 

Apr 27, 2015

The Next Big Thing...

God is always preparing you for the next big thing.

Just remember... 

Keep Him in the center of the next big thing.

"Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established." 

Proverbs 16:3

"He must increase, but I must decrease."

 John 3:30