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Archive for the ‘Hope’ Category

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.

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Cephas and Me

Posted by hrgarippa on 15 December, 2008

“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

          “Yes Lord; you know that I love you.”

“Feed my lambs.”

 

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

          “Yes Lord; you know that I love you.”

“Tend my sheep.”

 

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?” “Do you love me?”

          “Lord you know everything; you know that I love you.”

“Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go…..Follow me.”

 

Follow me. Follow me. Follow me.

 

I really like Peter. Mostly because I can relate with him, he is a real guy with real questions and he’s not afraid to ask them. I might like him because he doesn’t make me feel so bad; misery loves company or something like that.

 

I feel like these are the very words that are being spoken to me right now. “Hannah, do you love me?” Of course Lord. “Hannah, do you love me?” YES. Then feed, tend, love, clothe, babysit, take to school, share me with, cook for, clean for, drive, give up your life for my sheep. Then follow me. And quit looking for satisfaction in following me AND in following this world. It doesn’t work that way. And quit trying to match your life with the lives of others.

 

I love when Peter asks about the beloved disciple in John 21.21, and Jesus says, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” You follow me!”

 

Man I feel like Jesus blows it up in that one statement. WHAT IS IT TO YOU? YOU FOLLOW ME!

 

And Peter does…all the way to death on a cross. Do I have that kind of faith? I know I don’t. Not right now. But I think I have something that resembles a mustard seed, and so maybe Jesus can take that and make it and my life look like something that will resemble Peter’s life.

 

Peter had his ups and his downs; his doubts and fears, his days of uncompromising courage and faith. Jesus knew them all before he called Peter to be a disciple. Jesus knows all my days too…knew them all before He called me…to be His.

Posted in Deep thoughts, Hope | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

I Believe

Posted by hrgarippa on 9 December, 2008

Just in case you didn’t realize, the Christmas season is upon us…and folks I’m afraid it is going to be over, technically speaking, before we know it.

I love Christmas, but I’m not a die hard. I like to listen to Christmas music all year long, and I don’t mind watching White Christmas in July. And I certainly wouldn’t mind the beauty and wonder of the Holiday season being carried throughout the year.

One of my favorite things about this season is Santa Claus. I never believed in Santa when I was a kid. I never got presents from him. I always knew he was a myth. So I’ll never forget the first time my niece, Rachel told me she received a present from Santa. I was kind of shocked that my sister was going the “we believe in Santa” route, but as Rachel’s adoring aunt I wasn’t about to blow it for her. Over the years I’ve met other families that believe in Santa and as I’ve gotten older I’ve started to believe in Santa. I’m a little bit like Doris Walker in Miracle on 34th Street, it’s taken me some time to believe.

So you might be wondering, what exactly do I believe in? The North Pole, the Reindeer, the flying around the world in one crazy night. No.

I believe in the generosity, the love, the spirit of ole St. Nick. I believe in the innocence of children all around the world being children and believing that Santa could do what we as silly adults know is impossible. I believe in imagination. I believe in faith. And I believe in this silly man with a crazy long beard, and big ole belly, that looks different to different kids but that unites children from all countries…all languages.

Here is my favorite commerical right now…I’d love to say these things to my niece who was recently told there is no Santa.

This commerical comes from this….

Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

“DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
“Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
“Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
“Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

“VIRGINIA O’HANLON.
“115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.”

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

I had to include it all because it is so beautifully written and I can’t help but think that if she were asking, “Some of my little friends say there is no Jesus…no God” that this would be a similar response.

I am not trying to equate Santa Claus with Jesus, that I recoginize is dangerous ground. I am however saying that this Christmas we should all BELIEVE in the wonder of it all…The lights, the shiny ornaments, the food, the family time, Santa Clause and above all Jesus, God incarnate.

Posted in Happy things, Hope, Mi Familia | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

A Lavish Banquet

Posted by hrgarippa on 18 November, 2008

Tonight 10 sweet, loud, rambunctious middle school girls are coming over and we will sit around the table and we will eat and we will give thanks. I am so thankful for each one of these girls; Amber, Adrienne, Destiny, Jasmine, Kaylene, Triana, Summer, Mikelia, Gabby, and Octavia. Every Tuesday they come into my house and fill it with laughter, wild stories, impossible questions, hard realities and love. They challenge me and help me to see beyond just me.

As I’ve prepared the meal that we will eat…a Thanksgiving feast, I’ve been reminded of Isaiah 25.6; 

The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain;
         A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow,
         And refined, aged wine.

How sweet it is to think about what is being prepared for us. And to think that all of this here, all this sweetness, all that we encounter…is just a small taste of what waits for us at the lavish banquet that He is preparing.

I can’t wait for that party.

I mean, wine is mentioned twice in that verse…The Lord knows what’s up!!!!!

Posted in Another day in the hood, Happy things, Hope, Mangia Mangia | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

The fight, explained

Posted by hrgarippa on 20 October, 2008

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was stuck in the middle of a fight last week…here’s the story.

Friday the great DISD gave the kids an early release day, which means in this neighborhood they are going to be up to whole lot of nothing. I needed to speak to several kids so it was the perfect opportunity for me to get in touch with them while they were milling about or sitting in front of the tube. As I was I driving through one of the housing projects I came to a “T” in the road I could go left or right, I turned left and noticed a large group of about 30-40 people standing around and one young man with his pants hiked up to his chest…you know so he could move around and could use both hands. He was jumping around yelling this and that, and about 10 feet away another young man, his granny or mom trying to hold him back was yelling back. He broke loose and went after the other young man and they moved toward my car…as did the swarm of people…at this point me and my car were either going to become the boxing ring or I needed to back out fast.

The young men…started punching. And everyone just stood and watched, and then a car pulled up and about 5 more young men ran up…these young men where the all red. The tale tell sign of the Bloods.

Before I tell you anymore about “The Fight” let me tell you a bit about my perspective of gangs in West Dallas. I think that most of the kids in gangs are posers. Certainly there are kids that actually belong to the Crips and the Bloods…but for the most part the young men and women of West Dallas are wannabes or as the police call them…gonnabes. They act tough and wear the colors, and play the part…but they aren’t packin, they aren’t dealin, they aren’t as thug like as you see in the movies. Their parents might be. Their uncles and aunts might be…but most of the kids aren’t that hard…yet.

So…the bloods arrived…either to help or hinder, I’m not sure because I started to back out and go right. Right takes me out of the housing project, and I decided I’d come back and see the kids another time.

I came back…an hour later…and all this activity…still going on. The crowd was larger, the amount of people fighting had grown….but it had moved into the street. There was a larger presence of Blue (Crips) and Red (Bloods) and a much larger presence of kids watching, which erks me (understatement of the year).

After meeting with the kids I needed to see (who it turned out were busy watching the fight), I drove through the crowd, careful not to hit the young men beating the tar out of each other and wondered why I didn’t have Sargent Smith’s number in my phone, he’s our neighborhood cop. But then I heard someone say, “The Law’s been called.” And I saw the Fire Department and the Cops come.

That’s what it took to break this thing up…The Fire Department and the Police.

The kids I met with said, “they fight like this all time, this isn’t anything new.” I asked them why they watch and they said, “we don’t have anything better to do.”

It made me think of my early release days. I would walk home with my friends and we would build forts in our backyards…clubhouse where we would sing and make up dances…obviously this was before we were throwing parties. Most kids don’t have to encounter the kind of chaos that kids in this community encounter on a daily basis.

I pray that these kids would be able to be kids. That they would learn the joy that comes from silliness and laughter. That God would shield their eyes, their hearts, their bodies, their minds from a world that is urging, begging them to grow up way to fast. And I’m excited about some of the new ways that Mercy Street is seeking to help keep these kids…kids. I’m looking forward to telling you about that in the next couple of weeks….so stay tuned.

Posted in Another day in the hood, Hope | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Night at the Roxbury

Posted by hrgarippa on 19 October, 2008

Last night I came home from a great, long day with the middle school kids and their mentors. We tailgated at a park near SMU, played some football, basketball, ate Chick-fil-a, went on a tour of SMU and then watch SMU play Houston College. It was an event that lasted for me about 10 hours and I was exhausted when I came home. Earlier in the day I’d done laundry and washed my sheets something that doesn’t happen very often because I simply don’t have the time and quite frankly I’m just not that dirty. But I’d washed and cleaned and was excited to sleep on their yummy smelling cleanness.

When I pulled into my driveway, at 11pm, I heard music so loud it was deafening. I thought you have to be kidding me…where is this coming from. I looked around and thought maybe this is just one the kids driving by in their supped up SUV, but no. I went into my house and the music was just as loud. My sweet dog, in her kennel, was crying…as was I. We went into the backyard and I discovered the source. My backyard neighbors were having a party…complete with Strobe lights…and the music I kid you not was so loud that it was shaking my windows.

I stood in my living room for 5 minutes, 10 minutes trying to decide what to do. Do I ignore? Do I go over there and ask them to please turn it down a few decibels? Try to sleep through it? Was that possible…and then I became that neighbor. I called the police.

“I’d like to report a noise violation.” I couldn’t believe I was doing this. They asked if I wanted to leave my name…HA…No, I’m a total coward.

I use to throw parties when I was in High School, when my parents would go out of town. My neighbors use to call the police on me. In fact, on one occasion my neighbor Bob pulled out his shot gun and fired it into the air to disperse my party goers.

But that was years ago…now I’m the police-calling neighbor. Oye-Vey!

This morning I asked my brother, Johnny, if he heard the music. He said he missed that part but got home to see the cops arrive, the kids fleeing like cockroaches, the helicopter circling the neighborhood and kids lined up in handcuffs. The neighborhood drug dealer was there so I’m sure there were plenty of arrests to make.  Just to clarify, no one was ever arrested at my parties!

Johnny and I talked about whether or not it would have been better for me to go over and talk with them. He said, no…unless you had a shotgun of your own, these kids are so disrespectful  they aren’t going to turn their music down for a crazy white lady who wants to sleep.

There is a lot of chaos in this community, (Friday I got stuck in the middle of Crips and Bloods fight, [but that’s a whole nother story].) It all makes me tired and frustrated and leaves me with a hopeless feeling, a lot of the time.  But it is in this state of feeling hopeless and seeing all this hopelessness around that I actually begin to hope. It is in the chaos and the sorrow that we see our greatest need.

My friend, Deacon said this…”If one is to proceed in the new life that has been established in Jesus Christ, it is necessary to behold the vastness and sorrow while it remains. To ignore the sorrow of your own fallen state and the sorrow of the world around you is to eschew what Christ has accomplished, is accomplishing, and will finally accomplish. We do not walk in bliss, rather, we daily struggle from darkness into light. We are empowered by the resurrection of Christ and his Holy Spirit. And his conquering over death and the grave has already been established as the “firstfruits” for those of us who are dead and dying. What we hope in, is the consummation of the new birth, where we will live on the renewed earth in new and resurrected bodies for eternity with our redeemer. But until that day comes the cycle of life and death continues, and there is vastness and sorrow among us that we must acknowledge.” And then he says, “Are we willing to behold the vastness and sorrow…and still hope?”

 

Posted in Another day in the hood, Hope | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »