made for His glory

living in pursuit of that

Archive for January, 2009

Alive, Together

Posted by hrgarippa on 27 January, 2009

 One of the questions I’m asked a lot is,


“What is your job like?”




“What’s a typical day like?”


That is a difficult question to answer. My job is about relationships. It is about building relationships, spending time getting to know people of all sorts, with all sorts of crazy stories. People are complex. You know that because you’re complex.


People are hard to read, they lie, they laugh, they manipulate, they cry, they move, they get sick, they change their minds, they love, they hurt, they are kind, and mean, they are dirty and messy, they are stinky and they are beautiful.


People no matter who they are or who they are to you are complex.


Sometimes you get to the heart of the complexity. Sometimes as you open your heart and they open their heart you are able to see beyond…well all the complexity. This usually takes time. And be sure it is a mutually transaction. Only to the extent at which you open your heart can you know someone else’s heart.


There are times though as I desire to wade through all the complexity with a person and they throw up wall after wall; I start to wonder if it is worth it. How can I ever know a person who has so many stories, who is hiding things (aren’t we all), hidden pains, hidden thoughts, hidden motives. How can I maneuver through the labyrinth of another human’s journey? I am reminded of the very thing that enables me to actually do my job.


The unchanging character of God.


This morning as I thought of all those who I desire to truly know and love, and the frustration at not being able to do that, I was reminded that it is only by his unchanging LOVE that I’m even able to take the first step at engaging these people in relationship. It is only by His LOVE that my walls start to crumble, my hidden pain is revealed, my hidden thoughts brought to light and my hidden motives made right. It is only by His LOVE that I allow others into the labyrinth of my journey and together we discover the beauty of friendship…of family…and of Love.


But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. Ephesians 2.4-5


How great it is that because of God’s LOVE we can live in community…we can live together alive in Christ.


Posted in Love is life | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by hrgarippa on 12 January, 2009

“Ms. Hannah, are you awake?

(this text message came in at 9:30am so if I wasn’t awake, we’d have big problems – or a glorious Monday morning.)




“My car is in the shop, can u pick me up from work at 2?”


“Sure, No problem”


This little text messaging conversation happened between me and a mother in our community. She is a woman that I’ve gotten to know well as I’ve developed relationships with her kids through our mentoring program and sports ministry. She is a single mother of 6 kids ages 11 – 20; 4 boys and 2 girls. She is a former drug addict, she is all tatted up, and she is lovely. She always calls me “Ms. Hannah” even though she is older than me. She loves her kids like crazy and is one of the few mother’s on the PTA at the Middle School. She is partly American Indian and has introduced me to the wonderful world of Pow Wows and Indian Fried Bread, which she will buy for me and wrap in foil to keep it warm.


She works for the Dallas County probation office helping juveniles get their GED. This job is a blessing because she works from 10am – 2pm allowing her to be home in the morning and in the afternoon; to be home for her kids, who have the propensity for trouble. The Dallas County just cut her pay in half, for a time. Which means she’ll be making roughly $1000 a month to feed, clothe, and protect the four kids that live with her. And did I mention that she doesn’t live in public housing; she has a mortgage.


As I dropped her off this afternoon, she put a Thank You note and $5.00 on my dashboard, and said “This is for gas.” I said, “I can’t take this, I’m so happy to be picking you up.” And then she said, “Please take it Ms. Hannah, that way I won’t feel bad if I have to ask you again.”


So I took it….because I’m learning that sometimes allowing someone to contribute gives them dignity and dignity is worth more than $5.00….plus I’m saving up for these,


Posted in Another day in the hood | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Vickery Meadows

Posted by hrgarippa on 8 January, 2009

Have you heard of Vickery Meadows?

Right across the highway from all the glitz and the glam of Northpark Mall is a little community called Vickery. Vickery is a bunch of apartment complexes all build next to each other and in them they house a large population of  refugees, mostly African…among other people.

Although I have not had the great privilege of getting to know these families and these kids, my brother, Johnny has and they are dear dear dear to his heart. Please read this email written from Stephanie, Johnny’s girlfriend and Vickery Meadow’s staff person.

For several years our walk here has brought a few of us deeply into the lives of several Liberian families from west Africa who came to Dallas as refugees. We have shared birthdays, holidays, and glimpses of everyday life with our Liberian friends, cooking, eating, dancing, playing, and sitting with each other; I could write a book about them. Their kids have been involved in Kids Club and Teen Girls’ Group for the past five years too. Alice, mother of three, is the firey one, the pot-stirrer, so to speak, and the matchmaker of the group. She is one of the funniest, wittiest, and most candid women I know. Then there’s Decontee, with her five boys; Decontee is in a way the mother of the group. Alice and Decontee live next door to each other at the Ivanhoe; Abraham lives directly upstairs with his family, including his niece Naomie (16 years) and nephews Malfred (12) and Prince (5). Abraham is the leader in many ways of this Liberian community at only 25 years old. Rita lives with her daughter in another close complex but spends her free time at Ivanhoe with “the family.”.

Yesterday Christiana – Naomie, Malfred, and Prince’s mother – died. She had been very sick for over a year, constantly in and out of the hospital as her strength and body decayed; she was around 35 years old.

The community is taking care of each other, but we need help. Burial costs are roughly between $5-7,000, and our families barely make enough money in their minimum wage jobs to feed and clothe their own children. As when our Eritrean friend died last year, we are setting up a fund through Vickery Meadow Ministry to help with as much of the burial cost as possible, or the possible cost of sending the body back to Africa. Any extra funds left over will be given to help take care of Christiana’s kids and/or for helping other families as emergency needs arise.

You can send checks to Vickery Meadow Ministry with a separate note included that designates the funds “for Christiana’s family.” We are at PO Box 671127, Dallas TX 75367.

Thank you so much for helping us care for our families, and particularly for Naomie, Malfred, and Prince. Please pray for them, that they would receive comfort and peace beyond their understanding from their Father in heaven, and for the community as it grieves and learns to live life again anew.

In His mercy and grace…

I wish I could send everyone who reads this just a glimpse of Malfred’s smile…it would light up your life…We have much saddness in knowing that his joy, his smile is all in mourning right now…but we do hope in the power of the Holy Spirit to turn his mourning into dancing. Please pray with us and if you can give…give.

Thanks friends.

Posted in Dear Jesus, Dear Ones | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Bread Making

Posted by hrgarippa on 5 January, 2009

 I made bread yesterday, something I’ve always enjoyed doing but something I’m not very good at. Cooking is more of an artistic expression, baking on the other hand is more scientific. You must stick to a formula, or at least certain fundamental proportions, in order for goods to turn out. This is where baking and I conflict. I don’t like to stick to formulas….but I’m learning.


Making bread is simple and complex, much like life.


When you get to know the formulas, the basic fundamental proportions it’s a breeze and all sorts of wonderful things happen.


This isn’t to say that formulas shouldn’t be experimented with…thrown completely out the window sometimes. The hard part is knowing when and where and how…that’s when things get complex.


Did you know that if you want a light airy loaf of bread like Ciabatta you’ll want to do as little mixing or kneading as possible so that you don’t disturb the air pockets that form as the yeast works its magic. I didn’t know this until today. I love learning new things.


 Here is one of my favorite recipes, for one of my favorite kinds of bread….






2 ½ cups warm water ( 110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

1 Tablespoon active dry yeast

½ cup honey

4 Tablespoons vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 Tablespoon salt

8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour



  1. In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over barely warm water. Beat in honey, oil, 2 eggs, and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Cover with a damp clean cloth and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.
  2. Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Divide in half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Divide each half into thirds and roll into long snake about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Pinch the ends of the three snakes together firmly and braid from middle. Either leave as braid or form into a round braided loaf by bringing ends together, curving braid into a circle, pinch ends together. Grease two baking trays and place finished braid or round on each. Cover with towel and let rise about one hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over each braid.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 40 minutes. Bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing.


Posted in Happy things, Mangia Mangia | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

2009 Hope

Posted by hrgarippa on 1 January, 2009

January 1, 2009.

Not only is today a brand new day, but it is a brand year.

Oh the possibilities.

It was at the beginning of 2008 when Emily and I decided that 2008 would be our year of fabulousness. It was fabulous alright. It was fabulous and it was not so fabulous, which I suppose is how most years turn out.

I accomplished great things, I failed miserably at others. I loved well and I feared. I trusted and I doubted.

Recognizing that my years will be like this is important for me….it will never be all fabulous…not yet.

But I hope. I hope in what is to come. I hope in the moments that are better than the moments before. I hope in the love. I hope in the fear. I hope in the accomplishments. I hope in the failures. I hope in the faith I’ve been so graciously given. I hope in the doubt.

2009 will be my year of Hope. After all Hope is what makes all moments fabulous.

Posted in Hope | Tagged: | 1 Comment »