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Archive for the ‘Dear Ones’ Category

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.


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Especially You, Olivia

Posted by hrgarippa on 28 April, 2008

Many of the kids I spend time with don’t quite understand why I don’t have kids. I’m roughly the same age as their mamas and so in their eyes I should have five or six kids. I am rarely asked the question, “why aren’t you married?” because marriage is a foreign concept to most kids in this community. However on Saturday as I spent time with the Hill kids, it wasn’t, “why don’t you have any kids?” I was questioned about my marital status. Here is our conversation:

Sadie: Are you a kid or a mommy?

Me: I’m a grown up.

Sadie: Then why do you have a car?

Olivia: Why aren’t you married?

Me: Because God doesn’t want me to be married right now. I think right now He wants me to hang out with you and you and you.

Olivia: Especially me.

Me: Especially you, Olivia.

Olivia: Maybe God doesn’t want you to get married.

Me: Maybe.

(I’m hoping she said that because she likes me so much, and is hoping that I will always have extra time, not because she is some sort of child prophet!!!)

O, sweet Hills.

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Unexpected Beauty

Posted by hrgarippa on 20 April, 2008

The Hernandez Family lives down the street from me. Jose and Isabel have been together for a long time at least 20 years, they are from Mexico. They came to the US for a better life and although they still face tough times they trust in the Lord as they work together as a family.

Isabel loves kids, especially her five; Tony, Alex, Jose, Samantha and Isabel. During the day she is a nanny for a little boy. She told me that she can’t imagine doing anything else. When she was little she would play with her dolly’s and imagine the day she could be a mother. She has found her true calling as a mother and caretaker. And she does it with much joy and hope even in the midst of troubling times.

(Alex, a sophomore at Pinkston)

Jose works at a Chinese restaurant as a cook. Samantha tells me that he makes the best Orange Chicken and he can mix it up really fast. She also tells me that she is super lucky because her two favorite foods are Chinese food and Mexican food and she has two amazing cooks in the house that happen to focus on those two specialities. Isabel is an amazing cook too.

Samantha is my newest girl. Last year I started getting to know Sam and her sister Isabel as they would help me with the concession stand. This year Sam asked if I would be her mentor. I said yes. One of the fun things about Sam is that she attends West Dallas Community School and so her education looks completely different than most of the kids I work with. The other day I ask her what homework she had and she started reciting Ephesians 4.25-32, as she explained what righteous anger was. Did I mention that she is 9? I praise the Lord that she and her sister Isa are able to attend such a wonderful school.

(Isabel and Samantha)

I love knowing this family and learning their history. It is a tremendous blessing that God has allowed our paths to cross. Yesterday as Sam and I were making Blondies, Jose (the dad) came over and asked Sam to ask me if he could cut my grass. I said yes, but how much? No money, said the interrupter. He just wants to do it for you because you are always worrying about us and because you love us.

One my biggest disappointments in life is that I didn’t pay attention during the four years of Spanish I took in High School. So all I could say was Muchas Gracias, Muchas Gracias, Muchas Gracias. I kept thinking in my head how does Muchas Muchas Muchas Muchas Gracias translate??? I sounded like an idiot but was so overcome with gratitude.

Sometimes I expect the beauty of the body to be packaged up a certain way. Pretty people from my church, a skinny white girl from Sumac Leaf, my coworkers, even maybe a blog friend or two. Thankfully God still brings things around in unexpected ways. Reminding me that it isn’t about what I bring to this community, cuz that is a whole lot of nothing. It is about love, and that can be seen everywhere and in many.

My grass was cut with a lawn mower and with love. That makes me happy!!

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Our Year of Fabulousness

Posted by hrgarippa on 9 January, 2008

Last night I had a wonderful dinner with my dear friend Emily and we discussed our year of fabulousness.

Emily and I are both introverts and predisposed to what we call “low-key” things. We enjoy sitting on the couch in our cotton striped t-shirts and stretchy black pants and doing not much of anything. Here is an example of a typical conversation between Em and I…

me: What do you want to do tonight?
Em: Not much, what about you?
me: I don’t know, I’m kind of tired, so something low-key.
Em: Dinner?
me: Okay, but nowhere that I have to put on makeup.
Em: How about Chips?
me: Okay,
Em: I have magazines and movies we can sit on the couch at my place afterwards.
me: Okay.

BORING!!!!! (small edit)…not so much boring, as well, low-key. Emily and I could never be boring no matter what we did. Right Em?

But not anymore.

We are now HIGH-KEY, ladies and gentleman.

No more cotton t-shirts
No more stretchy pants
No more fear of living
No more sitting on the couch and sulking

We have a plan for the fabulousness too…We each have to come up with a list of 10 restaurants or places in Dallas we want to see this year. We are no longer allowed to buy more than two of the same kind of shirt no matter how much we love them. When we walk through the mall or a restaurant we will look people in the eye, we will NOT look at the ground. We will introduce ourselves to people we don’t know, not in a weird random way, people but in a, “I go to church with you so why shouldn’t we know each other,” kind of way. We will be the friendly people that others want to know.

This is the year of confidence and lip gloss and cute jeans and cute tops and yoga (we signed up for yoga), and looking people in the eye, and recognizing that if…

The Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession. Duet. 7.6

Then why shouldn’t, this be OUR YEAR OF FABULOUSNESS.

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Posted by hrgarippa on 21 November, 2007

I am thankful this Thanksgiving…and here is what I’m thankful for…

God’s amazing grace given through Jesus my Saviour
God’s steadfast love
His ever present Spirit
The Hills
Mrs. Mindy and Mr. Garrett Smith
Miss Carolina
Miss Annie
Miss Jacque
Mr. Carlton
Uncle Bill
Coach Tim
Coach Riley
The Women from Grace Bible
Our Faithful Mentors
Hattie Beth
Butternut AKA Jaomari
Da’Tasha Yarbrough
Stevanie Yarbrough
LeeAnna Sandoval
West Dallas United Soccer
West Dallas Little League
Sharp Knives (for cooking)
Le Crueset
My Hertitage
Being Italian
The laughter of children
Miss Susan Huffman and Will and Robert
Adoption and the hope of cute babies from all over the world.
God’s Sovereignty
Good Books
Cold Weather
The Ocean
Wyld Life
Red Wine
Quiet Mornings
My health and the health of my family and friends
Art and Creative people
Juice Plus
Hot showers
Mercy Street
That presidential elections only happen every four years.

Posted in Dear Ones | 4 Comments »


Posted by hrgarippa on 31 August, 2007

I have been blessed to be surrounded by many compassionate people. People who are responding to God’s call to care for the fatherless and widowed.

My dear friends Michael and Jana (eyes toward ethiopia), are among several families that I know, directly or indirectly, that are in the process of adopting Internationally. Through these loving families the adoption world has been thrown open to me, and I love it. I love to read their blogs and see where they are in the process. I’ve got them listed to the right, so read along.

Posted in Dear Ones | 3 Comments »

Dear, Melissa

Posted by hrgarippa on 27 August, 2007

Mercy Street was started over three years ago by Trey Hill, at that point he moved his wife and his four children to West Dallas.

Melissa’s ministry has been an amazing one, she has in many ways adopted many of the neighborhood kids as they are constantly flowing in and out of her home…calling her mama and spending as many walking hours as possible in the comfort and security of the home that she and Trey have created. She and Trey provide them the basic necessities of life, showing them the love of Christ in tangible ways. At the same time she is an incredible wife to Trey and mother to Tee, Olivia, Graham and Sadie. I admire her tremendously.

Because of Melissa’s role in the community, she has great stories – my favorite was when she loaned her good kitchen scissors to the girl across the street and after several days asked for them back. The girls said, “Oh, I’ll have to ask my dad, he locked them up because my little brother killed the hamster with them.”

Melissa has a blog now…yippee….Hood Mama…Check it out.

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Posted by hrgarippa on 9 October, 2006

Last night I went walking with two very dear friends, Sweetpea and L. They were two of the first people I met when I moved to Dallas, over five years ago. All of our lives have journeyed in various directions but I am thankful that we are still in each others lives.

I remember my first birthday here in Dallas I was turning 24, and Sweetpea, L. and several others threw me a pink party, (since my birthday is the day after Valentine’s day). They made me a cake, gave me a princess crown and made me feel so special.

Sweetpea made me this,

A fairly easy piece of artwork to make I’m sure, but something I have treasured all these years. She also gave me one of my first Pride and Prejudice books.

How blessed I am to have such sweet friends.

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Posted by hrgarippa on 8 October, 2006

Over a year ago I had the privilge of meeting my very good friend E’s father JB. What a man. He was a person who truly lived. He lived with many, many physical limitations, but oh how he had no true limitations in really living. He took all that had been given him in life and he used it for the Glory of God. The way he loved his wife, his girls and his grandkids. He loved God’s creation, loved living in God’s world and had complete freedom from every chain this world attempted to place on him.

He died on Wednesday, October 4 and with his death comes a huge void, because his living touched so much and so many. Healing will take God’s grace, God’s kindness, God’s goodness, hope, mercies, love, strength, truth, and courage. God thank you that you heal the brokenhearted.

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to meet and know even for a short time this wonderful man (who raised a wonderful daughter). It is an honor to have heard his laugh and to have been served his blueberry pancakes.

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Posted by hrgarippa on 15 September, 2006

A friend of mine has a blog called “Making Art Together” and every month she and all her artsy friends do creative projects related to a specific theme, Septembers theme is “home” and although I am in no way artsy, I think I know how to define home, for me, and how to display it.

Home is being known and knowing others. It is an intimate connection with someone that goes so deep it is felt without being near. It is safety and love and compassion and lots of laughter. And it can be found everywhere.

I have found home at Mercy Street, with these amazing kids who call me Miss Hannah.

I have found home with my friends, like my dear Hattie.

And of course with my sometimes crazy, always wonderful family.

(This is not the entire family, by the way.)

Posted in Dear Ones, Mi Familia | 1 Comment »