made for His glory

living in pursuit of that


Posted by hrgarippa on 10 March, 2009

I love granola. I’ve been in love with granola for a while now. I think I love the way it is toasted and the way it is lightly sweetened and can be mixed up all kinds of ways. I love that granola is good for you when it is made with good sweeteners and when it has good nuts…it is filled with healthy fats. Things our body needs to get moving.

I don’t like how expensive granola can be. Or for that matter anything that is good for you. If  it is pure and not filled with High Fructose Corn Syrup or fake beef  or lots of other ingredients that you can’t pronounce than you’re going to spend half your fortune for just a serving. Oh, how that angers me.

So I’m boycotting all Granola making companies and doing a little DIY….It is almost the easiest thing I’ve ever made.

3 cups Rolled Oats (not instant)
1 cup roughly chopped almonds
1 cup roughly chopped pecans
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Put dry ingredients, oats and nuts, in a mixing bowl. Place wet ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat until just warm, then pour over dry ingredients and mix together. Then place on greased baking sheet. Bake at 325 for 15 minutes or until golden brown. You’ll want to stir every 5 minutes. Once you take it out of the oven you can add the fruit.

When granola comes out it will not be hardened, but will harden as it cools.

Here is the great thing about granola…there are no hard and fast rules about the ingredients…you can play around. I just bought the following ingredients to try; pistachios, unsweetened coconut, banana chips, agave nectar. The first time I made this I added some spices and I wasn’t a big fan of how that turned out. So experiment and see what happens.

And then pour a little of your homemade granola into a bowl and top it off with some Yogurt made without any added chemicals or some Kefir and little honey and you’re on your way to a very healthy digestive system.


Posted in Mangia Mangia | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Oh Forgiveness

Posted by hrgarippa on 5 March, 2009

 We’ve been talking about forgiveness in Bible Study on Tuesdays. It sort of came naturally, when one of the girls said, “If someone disrespects me, I’m going to disrespect them.”


The last several weeks we’ve talked about what forgiveness is and what it isn’t. We’ve walked thru Matthew 18, the parable of The Unforgiving Servant and the girls have had a lot of questions…


“How do you forgiven someone who keeps doing the same thing over and over again?”


“How do you forgive your mom when she abuses you?”


“How do you forgive your dad who doesn’t want anything to do with you?”


“How do you forgive your mom’s boyfriend who molested you?”


And then there is Tree*…she always lightens things up with questions like….


“Is it true that if you don’t forgive someone, your insides will rot and you’ll die a miserable death alone and be eaten by dogs.” Or “Is it true that when you’re sick you smell different?”


(We love Tree…she keeps us focused and has taught us how to steer the ship back on course after getting WAY off course.)


As God would have it, I attended a certain church on Sunday, that I don’t typically go to and the pastor talked about forgiveness…Although his entire sermon I don’t recommend, some of this points were good.


He said, “forgiveness is not an emotional decision, forgetting, reconciliation, condoning, dismissing or pardoning.”


“Forgiveness is…the decision to continually and purposefully commit to being driven by love.”


You can’t love someone when you’re filled with bitterness and rage.


So on Tuesday we decided to have a bonfire and symbolically burn our rage…not our bras. HA!!!


We asked all the girls to write a letter to God listing all the people and the offenses that they needed to forgive. We have a spot in the back of Mercy Street where we have a fire pit and we lit a big ole fire and we burned our letters, as we talked about the freedom of forgiveness.


Oh….the freedom of us being forgiven…as far as the east is from the west, people…God is good.


And then we danced around the fire and sang silly songs, made smores, and young ladies that carry weights larger than most of us have seen in our lifetimes danced in the field as light as fairies.


Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3.13 


*This is my affectionate name for her.

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

Hannah needs…

Posted by hrgarippa on 21 February, 2009

I saw this on facebook, you type “your name and needs” into google and then list the first 10 responses. Friends are tagging each other and its flying around almost as fast as the “25 random things” note. I read a friends list and thought it was funny so I thought I’m going to type my name in and see what happens. The list made me laugh because it was so accurate to some the things I really think I need.

  1. Hannah needs a boyfriend
  2. Hannah needs some alone time.
  3. Hannah needs a home a good daily walk.
  4. Hannah needs to go into the tunnel and face the prisoner
  5. Hannah needs your help
  6. Hannah needs prayer.
  7. Hannah needs a laptop
  8. Hannah needs a good break.
  9. Hannah needs a kick in the pants
  10. Hannah needs to understand the real motive before she can catch the killer.

So it actually, “hannah needs help” came up twice in the first 10 but I skipped it the second time.

Posted in Just for Fun | 1 Comment »

Sounds from West Dallas

Posted by hrgarippa on 20 February, 2009

I wake up really early….like 5am early. The AM is when I get stuff done, it is when my mind is the sharpest and I’m able the think the clearest. I love the AM. I have a great comfy chair that I sit in as I read, drink my wonderful coffee and listen to the sounds of West Dallas.

They are building new public housing for the elderly and so early…as early as 5am you can hear all those yellow machines….I don’t know what they are called, but they beep and buzz and their sound is rather comforting.

Dogs bark. Every neighbor surrounding me has a dog and on most mornings the dogs like to talk. I don’t usually mind, except there is one dog that is rather annoying and she’s quite obnoxious with her comments…this dog may or may not be named Bella…and she may be the cutest dog ever to walk the streets of West Dallas.


At about 7:20 every morning you can hear a car come screeching through our neighborhood, engine roaring. This car is going as fast as a car go in a neighborhood with lots of turns…before it stops it starts honking, really laying on the horn…then it screeches to a halt, and keeps honking. 30 more seconds pass and more honking…not your polite beep beep…but hoooooooonnnnnkkkkkk hoooooooooooonnnnnnnkkkkkkk. This keeps up for about 5 minutes before whoever is being fetched comes out, and they screech off to work or school…and I praise God for the dogs barking again.

As I’m writing this there is silence in West Dallas, at least from what I can hear…oh wait I hear a bird…I love West Dallas.

Posted in Another day in the hood | 1 Comment »

What I want to tell you…

Posted by hrgarippa on 18 February, 2009

I know I don’t blog much. It isn’t that I don’t have a lot to say, it’s that I’m not always sure how to say it. The things I want to tell you about aren’t always easy, they aren’t simple stories they are ongoing sagas and I wish I had the gift of humor to make them light-hearted but sometimes that doesn’t come to me…so I’m just silent.

I want to tell you about J. who is a sweet girl in my bible study. Sometimes she is loud and crazy, sometimes she quiet and angry…mood swings, she calls them. I want to tell you about how her mother abandon her and chose to please herself rather than care for her kids, and how even though she’s returned J. cannot forgive her or trust her or love her. And the pain she feels is tremendous. And how we cannot make heads or tails of honoring your mother when your mother has locked you out of your house and forced you to sleep on the streets. I want to tell you about J., and the desperation in her voice when almost every week she says, “miss hannah, I’m going to come live with you”…and I have nothing to offer her. And how this week she said, “i don’t think God loves me.” And how I can understand that.

I want to tell you about D. who at age 6 was raped by his brother. D. is full of anger and hate, wouldn’t you? None of us at Mercy Street know what to do with D. I know that everytime I see him I just want to hold him in my arms and never let him go. I just want to turn off the world and say D. everything will be okay. D.’s been removed from school in handcuffs, suspended more times than I can count, he is unable to control himself and is now in the juvenille school system. I want you to see this boys smile…it’s rare, sort of like an eclipse but it happens from time to time.

I want to tell you about A., Z., H., N., J., J., and J., six boys and one girl all belonging to one mother…several different dads. I want to tell you how their mom is struggling to raise these kids, because that is not how God intended family to look. I want to tell you how these boys and this girl need a dad, a man they can look up to and trust. They need a mom who is wise and who works hard. They need structure and food, and clean clothes and boundaries. I want to tell you how difficult it is for kids like this to know The Father when they have no idea what a father is.

I want to tell you that there are over 3000 kids like this in West Dallas, kids full of anger, hate, sadness, confusion, and doubt. Everytime we help one we are reminded that there are so many more just like this one who need us.

But we are not alone here. I love these kids. They are on my mind often, in some form or another…but compared to God’s thoughts they are nothing…

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! 
How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. 
When I awake, I am still with you.

I want to tell you how good our God is. How wonderful it is to serve a God that knows this place, that knows these kiddos and their family. How thankful I am that I can trust Him.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »


Posted by hrgarippa on 10 February, 2009



My sister Rachel and her husband welcomed their third child and first girl, Zoe Hannah.

She was born on Friday, February 6 at 5:01 pm. She weighed in at 8 pounds 4 ounces.

Here is a picture of her proud big brothers, Jonah (the oldest, and the cutie holding Zoe) and Maddox,


I am super excited to be an Aunt to eight…yes count them eight precious kiddos….Rachel, Caleb, Jonah, Malia, Maddox, Joshua, Benjamin and Zoe. And let me tell you that eight is definitely not enough.

Here are some more pictures,

Zoe, pretty in pink…


“Yippee, I’m finally here!!!”


More pinkness, more cuteness,



AND…there might be one or two of you who are curious about what has been going on over here on the Westside. I promise to write about it, but need to get thru this week. In the meantime you can check out some of the stories here.

Posted in Mi Familia | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

aaaa lot

Posted by hrgarippa on 3 February, 2009

There is a story that my family tells, it has to do with my Uncle Chazz, and a large amount of something…the situation happened so long ago that I don’t remember what happened exactly I only remember the punch line in which he answered “aaaalot.” So now when you ask anyone in my super large family a question in which the answer is a lot, the answer is always “aaaa lot.”

So you might ask, “What’s going on at Mercy Street right now?”

Well, the answer…”aaaa lot”

Things that are beautiful, and I can’t wait to share some of these wonderful stories.

Please be in prayer for all of us…we need it.

Posted in Another day in the hood, Mi Familia | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

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 »