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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

DAY FIVE: An afternoon at Skid Row....LA Dream Center

I think this was the day I was MOST nervous about.  Mostly because I'm the type of person that really has a hard hard time starting conversations.  Even the simplest "how are you" becomes difficult for me when I'm out of my comfort zone.  I'm thrown into an unknown neighborhood with unknown people with unknown outcomes. 

Our morning started off pretty simple...get breakfast eaten...and get ready to go. 

They briefed us on what we would be doing and what our mission was that morning.  Basically we were going to walk around the streets and invite as many as we could to lunch being served at the VOA at 1:30pm.  We stayed in rather large teams and some of us wore our dream center shirts.  They asked us to really use wisdom when speaking or talking to folks.  They told us to be careful in shaking hands even, in case someone had needles or other things in their hands.  They also told us to keep conversations to a minimum as to really get the word out to as many as possible. 

I quickly realized that I'm still out of my element...and yet still smiling and not saying a word.  I would wave to a few people...and talk to a few...but never really held conversations.  I tried to remain focused within as to the purpose at hand...and help the team invite people to be sure they KNEW that there was some food available to them later in the afternoon.  Basically right down the street.

One man in particular flat out said..."I don't go to that side of the street"....I honestly couldn't tell if he was joking or serious. 

One person said "Some of the homeless around here feel they are so invisible that they can walk in the middle of the street and a car would not hit them"....

One person said in response to giving cold water "I don't need your help!".....

One person said "Our apartment burned in a fire, that is why we are here"....

Apparently we also met a "celebrity" homeless woman that was in the movie The Soloist.  She was pointed out to us by one of the staff.  Apparently she had also been hired for another movie recently....and chooses to stay on the street, even though she has an apartment.  I had the feeling she was a "momma" I saw her grabbing meals for others...and then wheeling them back out to go deliver them.

They also handed out flyers for services should anyone choose to want to go to a church service or something right near them. 

We also met the *regulars* outside the VOA who had their own prayer circle going on.  I was thankful to hear that...and see could tell there really was a family unit going on with some of these folks.  I left thinking to myself...while there are many BAD things going on - there are some good things too. 

Neecie also told us a story of a young girl on the street that day...and how she met up with her later in the evening...and had gotten a connection for her to get off the street and into a great opportunity.  The last word I heard...they were getting her plugged in!!!  I thought that was a great story of how Godly connections can be made and prayers can be answered. 

In the end, I felt part of my part...was to just be me...and no one else.  I did push myself out of the comfort zone...and tried to think of things I could do or say just to share my love.  I took people waters, threw away trash...smiled and had some small conversations.  I did enjoy briefly talking with Miss Patty who had the lovely red streaks in her hair so that when I saw her walk into the VOA...I could say "look who's here!".  That was really fun there. :)  I know that small acts of kindness do go a long way.  I know that I was CHALLENGED to find even more kind things I could do at anytime every day back home. 

I was thankful for this see the see those with see those without see those desiring to share hope....and give a good hearty meal to those in need.  It was a great setup and a blessing to see. :) 

I opted to not go back for the 3rd time to Skid Row.  My heart, mind, emotions were fully spent after the long afternoons there.  A good group of people did go back though for the evening.


Later on in the day....we decided to eat out at the Brite Spot have Lisa enjoy what she didn't get to enjoy when we went out after church!!! :)
We were able to talk and share about thoughts, ideas, inspirations....

I think we spent the rest of the day packing....prepping for our early early early trip back home....and then I made ONE LAST pit stop at the Out of the Closet store....(did a lot of walking)....and found another great little shop too...where a lady had some pieces from West Virginia that I bought.  I had lived there briefly as a child...and had a fondness to find that out.  :) lol!!!!  I definitely ended the trip on a high note with a lot learned...and a lot shared. 

DAY FOUR: Rainbows, the whole story. LA Dream Center (7/5/12)

So it seems that day 4 was the time I got to actually walk into the store and find out for myself if there was a rainbow to find me in L.A.  But, let me back up a little bit! 

When I was shopping in dallas near the former location of the Wit Gallery...I stumbled upon a sidewalk sale.  And in that rack of clothing on the street, I found a rainbow.  Actually, I like to think now....the rainbow found me.  I actually had that kind of shock and awe moment because I thought to, SOMEONE out there made this dress????? 
 This dress is pretty comfy, I put the shape into it...because itz pretty boxy and I sometimes call it "the coat of many colors" type of dress. ;)  It is definitely home-made.  I am still not sure where this came from...but someone out there knows. :)  The guy that sold it to me said even HE walked around in it one day....
So, that being said.....this all seemed to really start in dallas.

A little while later....when visiting family in San Angelo....I love swinging into thrift/vintage stores.  Well, just so happens there is one near my Grandma's we all went.  I thought to myself..."God, is there a rainbow here? if so, let me find it!"....and then I looked....and looked....I found a cute dress...and then bam, there it was in the back....a rainbow racerback shirt. :)  Perfect for summertime. :)  Perfect fit too.  You have probably seen me wear this!!!!
Yes, so this was found in San Angelo.  We found each other.

AND last summer... I was in New York City....and stopped at Screaming Mimi's for myself for about 30 minutes....right before they closed.  I scoured the entire store as fast as possible and found nothing that jumped out on the bottom floor....but they do have a secret 2nd floor I ran up there...and shopped.  And guess what I found?  Yes...that is right.  A DRESS.  I found that when I put it like fit almost PERFECTLY.  That does not happen often...being that I'm a curvier size 10 most days in today's current sizing! LOL :)  I have to was a match made in heaven.
Are you seeing a trend here??????

I've had a couple of other finds before LA...but these pictures are the most accessible...and this is the first time I've shared all this publicly in my blog.  But because I feel that this is special to can see a bit more of who I am...and how I find things and communicate with God.  Yes, I know materials things are just that....and I LOVE that he communicates with me through them.  It is like a treasure hunt...and in the end, I know that "I" am the true treasure.  Finding myself was the best thing I've ever found. :) 

So moving forward to LA......

On Sunday, my new friend Rae had said they drove past this store called "Out of the Closet"....and I was like  NO WAY, there are BOUND to be rainbows there!!!!!  I mean, really - I almost am fully expecting rainbows to show up now.  So I had heard about it on Sunday...but didn't get to go to it yet. 

Then one of our free moments before Thursday...we had actually STOPPED in front of the store...and I thought the driver had heard me say I wanted to stop for a few minutes AT the store...but he didn't hear me...and we prayed and kept on driving.  I didn't speak up to say anything...and just let us go on about our business.  I looked out the window and said OH MY GOSH! We are here! It does exists!!!!  But then we pulled off...and in the back of my mind I was thinking, gee I need to make this happen.  It is going to bother me til I get in there and shop and find that rainbow! LOL :)

So when Thursday arrived....when our down time started...I asked for a few minutes stop at Out of the Closet so I could find the rainbow.  By this time, I've shared this with my van-mates...and how God works and talks to me like that.  We stopped, and I put like a quarter in the meter and went in.

I walked in thinking....YOU KNOW WHAT let me try something different....I asked the clerk if he had any rainbows stuff...and he said "I don't think so, but feel free to look around"....I thought it might be quicker if I just asked...but I still had to go and do the work, even in asking. 

I looked throughout the WHOLE store....and every rack....(except for the back for household items)....I came up with nothing.  I was thinking to myself...there HAS to be a rainbow here.  I went back towards the front again where there were hats....I looked through the hats and accessories and found a yarn knitted hat in RAINBOW...but after staring at it...I thought to myself, realistically - I live in dallas...I would not use it.  :)  So after finding it piled underneath, I put it on top...and kept looking.

I made my way over again to the sale rack up front still hoping to find a piece of clothing.  But then, I glanced over at the small wall of purses....and noticed that inside this big open black purse...there was a little crocheted purse!
Yea can you say SUCCESS???? I blurted out ....I FOUND IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I run up to the cashier after one of the FASTEST spreed I've had in a long time....and said I found it, I found the rainbow. :)  He casually asked "Can i ask what it is about the rainbows? Whatz the deal?"....I told him, it is how God and me communicate.  Everywhere I keep going...I'm finding rainbows. :)  This purse was only $1....but I gave him $5 for it....and said THANK YOU SO MUCH. 

It just made my day so that I could share how much I love...just being alive and sharing love with others. 

I learned something very interesting too....

First I "heard" about the store.
Then I "saw" the store.
Then I "walked in" to it. 

The process was important for me to see.  Sometimes we don't get to do things RIGHT AWAY in our lives....sometimes we really have to hear about it first....and be still for a while, think about it...and then when we SEE IT, then we get REALLY excited because we know it is real....and then when we actually get to partake and go ENJOY it....we see the fullness of the PURPOSE of the whole process.  I tell you, I did almost give up....because it was a challenge to sometimes *ask*.

How many times have we missed something important, because we simply didn't ask? :)

I hope you were inspired to have your OWN adventure....

write about it, then share. :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

DAY Four : LA Dream Center, cleaning, working, Rainbows, and food trucks.

Day 4 turned out pretty cool!  After the serious down time, I think all of us were ready to get on the move to serve the Dream Center and all involved.  After our LOVELY breakfast...some of us had chosen to do "Discipleship"...of which we had no idea what that meant!  Others were making phone calls...and some others were doing kid stuff I think. :)  (I brought out itinerary home so I could not forget)

Breakfast was again, fabulous...and we met on campus to see where we would be assigned.  About 7 people were assigned to Adopt a Block...and the rest of us were assigned to clean and prep the church building for the service that nite.  Indoors/Outdoors cleaning.  I never thought I would jump at the chance to get in some hard labor and, was the day! HAH!!!

We were assigned the breezeways and concrete sidewalks!  Cleaning up 4th of July goodies.
Lisa REALLY enjoyed this! :) 
We did have some fun bleaching the stairs...sweeping up stuff...and eventually did a lil scrub a dub on the city sidewalks to clean a bit. :)  We also ran through the parking garage to pick up garbage.  The most interesting piece we found was a LICENSE PLATE? hahaha!!!  Very funny.

We made it back to the dream center for lunch after our big cleaning adventure...and i'm fairly sure we might have eaten there.  My memories of each day are fading, and I'm not even sure if i wrote down every detail of this day.  But hold on, itz about to get great! :)

We had some more down time in between events...and we made it to the thrift store I had been desiring to go to!!!! But really, I need to make that a post of itz own....DAY FOUR: rainbows find me. :)  I'll post THAT next. :) 

The next part of our day was neighborhood food truck!!! We took loads of donated groceries to a part of a neighborhood where people lined up to receive food.  It was very well done and pretty coordinated actually.  There was a list of numbers...people stood in line...and we bagged groceries and unloaded  the truck.  I was able to grab only a few pictures of to respect everyone's privacy.

I gotta say this took me back to the days of serving up in Canada at the church...when we had the food bank access for families in need. :)  Sometimes you just need a little bit to make it to the next day. :)  I bagged up cucumbers like crazee...(that first pallette there)...and had a blast working with these teams. :)

After our 2nd mission of the day....we had a bit of down time before church service.  We walked over there and I finally got to wear my rainbow-ish skirt and wear my purse that I had grabbed from the store.  The service was great with EVERY thursday being a guest speaker:
I shared with Kendall the story of my rainbow find and how God speaks to me and shares things with me.  I know that in places all over, I was able to be myself....and just be real.

After service, we went to the Brite Spot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It was yummy yummy.  It is on the way back to the dream it was only fitting.

 Oh, the yummy that came from that wonderful nite. :)  We had a blast laughing, talking, sharing and really sharing the love. :)
So ended another day....

I think really this day, I was so appreciative that I could serve with my arms, legs, heart and soul.  I was able to fully express everything all day both in words and NONverbal communications of love.  They were truly ACTS of love that I could give those that could see, could SEE. :)  Sometimes, it is not about what we say, but what we DO.  For that, I'm thankful.

DAY FOUR: part 2 next. :)

for 7.22.12
-forgiveness, and being set is a process.
-my hubby bearing through Rock of Ages at the $1 theater tonite. I could not help but sing all the songs that i never had records/tapes to. :)
-maturity - it is something I aim that with people or with God. I am thankful I can see and hear and better assess things in life.
-jackets: they are there to save me from AC in texas heat. :)
-peppers: the smell of smoked peppers in the kitchen is heaven....truly.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

DAY THREE - LA Dream Center Trip - "The Day Off"

Ok let me start by saying, we didddddn't really know we were getting the day off til we got there.  Like most on this trip we were geared for work and work and work til we DROP!  However that didn't happen!  So most of us were left with the decision to get up early for breakfast and get that done...and then decide (with whomever was leftover in the room) where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do.

Santa Monica beach ended up being the result of our decision!
Thankfully Neecie used her phone to guide us and make things happen.
And later on our drive, we found out there was a prank played on her while talking to her Siri, her name had been changed to "hot stuff".  :)  It was the FUNNIEST thing!!!!! :)  Like I said, we laughed a lot on this trip!

We made it out there just fine with our wonderful driver Brandon.  Can't thank him enough!!!!

Our lovely driving adventures took us to the Santa Monica Pier....where we would get dropped off and enjoy some time just walking around....see the pier and explore. :)  What a GREAT relaxing stroll it was!!!!!
Notice how GLOOMY it looks???? Cause every single day we were there it was super cloudy and smoggy in the morning, but after lunch it would brighten up...and warm up a little more so you could enjoy the warmth without all the jackets! :)  It was pretty weather, but I know that Cali is not home for me....I love the heat. :)  I like being WARM!!!! :)
I had a fish burger at the pier place....I forget the name...and Rae and I walked around a lot after our checkin point.  There was kinda this mall-ish shopping area that had lots of stores, but nothing I was super interested in.  I was hoping to find that "hole in the wall" place like a vintage store, but the nearest ones were a bit out of reach according to the map. :)

As we were leaving the pier, when we decided to cross the street...I noticed that instead of beeps for the sight-impaired - there was a voice that kept saying WAIT!!! WAIT!!! WAIT!!! and I was totally amused by that because it sounded like a person actually standing there, telling you to WAIT.  :)  Here is the video I took towards the end of our journey.

Thanks to Rae for bearing with me to go back to the ORIGINAL crosswalk!  I lost track of how much we walked, but we were TIRED!!!!   Just as we were about to "break" was our meetup time for the next adventure.  I asked if they could drop me off at my cousin's house to see family since they were having a BBQ at their house, only 6 miles away. :)  It was decided! They could drop me off, and then come back and get me.  I was SO thankful, you don't even know!!!!! :) (and then a bird pooped on my shoulder!)

So I made it to Jodi's...and had a blast catching up and realized oh yea, my cousin Dave was there too!  I really didn't have a clue that he had moved there and had to do a double take. :)  Met Jodi's fiance too, and it was allllll good! :)  By then, the sun came out.  OF COURSE>

My cousins!!!! (from South Dakota)
I was beamingly thankful for the dropoff and pickup!  I just didn't have much transportation options while there.  Was totally unfamiliar with everything! HAHAAH!!!!!

After our adventures....we headed back to the dream center area to kill some time. :)  Again. :)
I'm pretty sure we had dinner at the Dream Center...i think...they were only serving 2 meals...
and then we saw some great sights while the WHOLE city was celebrating the 4th of july.  Seriously - it was like a christmas tree!!!!
 Instead of pictures, I took LOTS of is the one where the fireworks hit us on the balcony!!!!!

at 1:15 - it flies up to us and hits her! And sparks fly across my cam. :)

Here is the view we had at the Center of the whole cityscape.  it was actually AMAZING to witness the unity of celebration of this day.  I was in AWE of seeing the CITY light up.  Most of the times here in DFW we don't get to set anything off - but everyone everywhere was setting off lights and roman candles and their own fireworks.  It was surreal. :)  Thank you LA. :)

Happy Fourth of July and Independence Day!

I also forgot to between our "break" time....a bird pooped on me....but i didn't get the photo evidence, til JUST NOW!!!!! lol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Right before I went to my cousin's house....herez the shot. :)
 Thanks LISA, for this picture.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

DAY TWO - LA Dream Center! :)

So, we have COME to day two! I figured since I'm at a semi-stopping point tonite.  I would write a little about day two here.

Here is a little glimpse of the dorm rooms that you are assigned.  We had a total of about 17 girls in one large section, 1 small section and ONE bathroom.  The bunk beds are really quite nice and most of the mattresses are pretty decent.  There were only some minor switcharoos going on.  I began to miss a MIRROR at this point...the bathroom had a tiny one behind the door...and a window going outdoors which always let in great natural light. :)

a look at the Short Term missions room (with bathroom)
Larger section of room - lots of bunks!
Our little room/group was assigned Project Prevention as our morning assignment! Where we go into families' homes and deliver donated food/supplies to help them keep their children. It was the basic needs of these items that keeps their children from being taken into foster care. We had 3 deliveries to make....
Prepping for Project Prevention.  Sorted and bagged food to deliver.

I obviously did NOT take pictures while on site with the families.  But took pictures of our journey of prep and driving.  The first 2 deliveries were great.  The first lady told her story about how provision just keeps a coming...and how she is off the streets...and having to fight some battles to stay in the home she is at.  While we were there, her stove was getting fixed...and many struggles with THAT as well!  She was a trip...and I wish her all the best and pray that God continues to provide for her and her kids!!!!  The 2nd delivery - the lady spoke only spanish.  Thankfully, we did have a wonderful lady with us that understood (not just the dream center girl, but one of our team)...and when we prayed for her as we were leaving - I felt connected in just that every one of us came for a SPECIFIC purpose.
The truck that makes it all happen!
This is painted on the back.  I thought to myself, we REALLY are in action here. 
The *Action* crew from this morning's Project Prevention.
However, as in most life circumstances...the 3rd family did not show up.  I love that the Center has some ground rules in place for those that may or may not abuse the system.  Because their radius is roughly 5 miles, this family tends to meet them offsite somewhere to pick up.  However, with no phone calls - we had to leave without the delivery being made.  It was unfortunate. :(  It is a repeat pattern, I'm sure often seen.  Basically - if you are really in need, you DO make it happen.  They have a 3-strike system.  I do believe in most cases boundaries are so healthy.  I pray that God also provides for them as well as reveals what needs to be revealed in their lives.

AFTER our busy busy morning, we had lunch at King Tacossss! On the way back, we were just barely a few minutes from we hopped on over....and I forgot to get a picture of the sign...but herez the jukebox...and other signs!!!!
OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH yea. Lunch was amazzzzzzing.  I didn't come prepared - so I did a borrow/payback move from one of the team-mates.  Just one of those times that I didn't think I would need anything-u know? :)  Thank you God. :)
So, we had to HURRY back for our 1pm meetup for our next assignment!!!!


I took the role of window washer! It seemed the most fun really.  Others took the lemonade stand...and others took the lollipop giveouts!  At one point, we also gave out waters too.   I had forgotten to take pictures at the beginning because I was having too much fun washing windows and cleaning the smog off. :)  But, towards the end here - we washed this shuttle bus. OH YES.
This guy was HILARIOUS! used the bullhorn a lot of the time, cracked us up!!!!

I dunno, seemed super fitting for me...and we were done super early too.  We still had a lot of time before "bedtime" per say.  I really felt great after, and talked to this fabulous girl at the bus stop who had a giant black mohawk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
After our walk back....I think we waited for our "dinner time"...and some of us decided it was going to be a GET OUT kind of nite because of all the down time!!!!!!

The families were heading out to Hollywood Blvd and potentially the Observatory. So, yes I headed out too!  I was definitely wanting to see the theater where all the signings and hands/feetprints are.  That was totally a bonus for me as I was just going along for the ride. ;) So here is the highlights:

We stopped at Baja Fresh for dinner.............where you had to use a token to get in the bathroom.
After we did our little "tour" of the grounds....and on the way back towards the car area...we noticed that up the stairs you could see the Hollywood sign! So we ran up the stairs and go see it.  This pretty much was the only time we saw it. it was.

After that...we felt ALMOST done...and tried to think of something else to do.....
then, we remembered OH YEA the observatory! Itz freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
So I don't have a lot to share for that picture wise - but I can tell you it is worth staying a little longer to explore. LOL!!! We stayed, but before we knew it was closing in 30 minutes.  :)  We drove up the hill, couldn't find parking and then drove back down...and parked on the wrong side of the road near the bottom of that first hill.  GOOD TIMESSSSSSSSSS!
Thus ends DAY TWO.  This is a long long long long post. :)

I'll post picture albums soon, it gives a clearer picture of each day.