Fun above ground and six feet underground in Atlanta

Spring has sprung and I am done has been my mantra for the last couple of weeks. How can anyone be productive when it is sunny and seventy out? Not cold to be uncomfortable and not hot enough to look like a drowned rat standing outside in the hot Georgia summer heat in summer for more than ten seconds. I have my adventure ju ju back and I am hoping to capture my little adventures in Atlanta into word as I get my little groove on for a new season in life.

My series of fun began with a stroll at the Castleberry Hill Art Stroll with my roommate and a friend of hers. The Castleberry has been on my agenda for a time since a professor had mentioned it in an art class I had been taking a year or so ago.  Castleberry Hill is a community in the midst of revitilization. It is on the federal historic landmark due to the businesses in that area being used during the civil war era for cotton, terra cotta, and grocers. Many the buildings in the area are a mix of modern business/loft buildings and converted buildings circa the 1900s or earlier into the same. If you walk into to some of the older buildings, it reminds you of some of the historic buildings in Savannah where the old bricks are exposed and used as the inside walls and contrasted with the rich solid wood floors that are a gem in the box of lost treasures from yester year.

What I appreciate most about Castleberry is its desire to reach out to the artists in the community and give them the opportunity to display their tangible expression to the community. I am a pretty quirky and I love how artists can take random materials, such as gears, and use them as tree leaves on a metallic tree they had crafted or a simple photograph of what it looks like going down I-75 in a car in a rainstorm, or the the protest of evil dictatorships in South America through a oil on canvas. I will be the first to admit, I am not big on genitalia painting “art”, or as I fondly call it, PTA (you figure it out) art. There is definitely expression there, but I will save that for another blog and after a few drinks.

The walk was capped off with dinner at No Mas Cantina. Another little sub-adventure within itself. Great food in a restaurant brimmed in array of colorful paintings, lights, and wooden structures. I didn’t have any margaritas here, munched or a serious size plate of steak nachos.  I enjoyed some wine at a wine tasting at Wine Shoe earlier. I am still not a conneseiour or wine yet. I appreciate the art, love learning about it, but at this point my education about is whether I like it or not. I digress. I did get my palm read, yes Madame Butterfly (that is her name) and yes she had set up shop in the restaurant. I am thankful to say that I know I won’t grow into a lonely old lady with nineteen cats as my companions.

The next day was a completely different adventure into Oakland Cemetery.  Georgia.  I was kindly invited by some new peeps to check it out for a project.  Getting back to the adventure. I had been to Oakland before because I am a history nut and  at the time I went, I about froze my tooty off.

Oakland is full of lives that shaped Atlanta and the substory of how the Victorians lived (yes you can find this out in Oakland too).  Victorians view of cemeteries was much different from ours today. During this time, the trend was to bury loved ones in more public places, instead of in the church yard or on the family farm.  Many came to Oakland to picnic and spend time with the long departed loved one in a physical and metaphorical sense. Life was short, hard, and much appreciated the time on earth they had. Many did not name their children until after age 1, which is why you see so many children’s graves with just the name Baby “Smith” or what ever their last monniker was. On a lighter note, many citizens came to the cemetery just to see the artwork on the mausoleums or gravestones. Keep in mind their was no Castleberry as it is now or High. You have to find culture somewhere….A non-Victorian, but a famed golfer, Bobby Jones has a plot there. A lawyer by trade and a famous golfer by night. Many golfer wannabees lay golf balls on  his grave to hopefully improve their game. Uhm, I think they will have better luck tossing salt over their shoulder.

Anyway, after all the shennanigans there, we  capped it off at Six Feet Under pub/restaurant across the way. I had not been there before, and really did not know what to expect. I do have to say the beer battered fish and the homemade chips were quite tasty. The four of us sat on the  rooftop overlooking the cemetery….how interesting/romantic/festive/find your word to insert here. It is really a cool place built of solid wood inside and old beer cans lining the rafters of the place.

It is easy to get caught up in the hum drum of every day life, take the time and act like  a ‘tourist’. It is rich with history, culture, and fun. Adventure is not found in the most obvious spots most of the time,  but that is the beauty of it. Open a few back doors and find those outlets. If you get tired, stop and have a beer along the way. See you on my next adventure.

Aside

“If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people.”-Confucious

“Happy first anniversary!”, I said to my sniffling and sneezing  little sister Destiny as she opened her apartment door. I smiled as she took her bouqet of orange (her favorite color and hard to find in) carnations and we discussed how we will celebrate next week when she got better. It was this time last year we gathered in her living room, Destiny, her mom Katrina, the Big Brother Big Sister match support coordinator, and myself sitting on the floor as usual. We happily answered questions about ourselves and we eyed each other trying to figure the other out. I quietly admired Des’ mom’s courage to let her daughter be mentored by an adult who left her childhood -five years ago.

Well obviously a year later and many laughs later we are two peas in a pod. I know several people who either are Big Brother or a Big Sis and they have all said they become like family. I would have to say this is becoming true. When I first stopped by to pick up Destiny it was the awkward little get to know you questions. Fast forward to present, Destiny in the midst of her snuffles asked  “you like my new glasses (the glasses are red,  a nice bright red)?!”, Katrina popping her head out of the kitchen to roll her eyes and shake her head wearily over the red glasses, and me smiling precariously at the glasses and smiling at Katrina’s exasperation. Yes, we are quite comfortable with each other.

The comfiness comes from a year of getting to knowing each other and building the relationship. We have our traditions now when we go out. We stop for ice cream whether it is rain, sleet, snow, or hailing and we haven’t missed a beat. Des and I had a brief discussion of replacing ice cream with hot cocoa in the winter, but that was just all talk. I still laugh at her wearing a big blue wig she for Halloween when she won at  UpStreet when she went to church with me that Sunday. She wore that thing out to Bagel Boys and kept laughing at people’s expressions, knowing full well that the joke was on them. Or the smiles and the competitive badgering we do when we play “I spy” in the car on the way to our destination.  I smile (Destiny doesn’t) when I remind her of the horrible Italian soda that she tried at the Coca-Cola museum. The stuff takes like old bath soap water, but I forgot to tell her that…oops. I do have that little incident captured forever on digital. The list goes on to even include us stinking up the Sears perfume department and ourselves with all the perfume we sprayed to smell test it.

There are many memories are countless for 2011 as we reflected on the above. With that we both said we are looking forward to many new adventures, we fist bumped (I am not a hugger and anyone who knows me this is my version of “the hug), and we said see ya later, knowing we both full well.

It is a privilege to have  a part of such a good program and hopefully more people will step up to the plate and actively participate in childrens’ lives . Each kid is different in terms of their needs and behaviors. Mine is not perfect and she has her struggles, but she is a smart and good kid, with a supportive mom. Not all kids have someone in their life that can guide them down the proper path. Take some time and be the light in this life’s journey.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~Howard Thurman

Do you ever find yourself measuring your have nots against your haves? I  will go ahead and answer for you..”yes”. Don’t feel bad. I am just as bad. I wear a scarlett “G” on my shirt. It is in these times, we don’t realize what we truly have. For those who will be reading this blog will have a vehicle and a roof over our head. It is definitely frustrating at times when the mortgage or other bills seem to never end. Think about it for a moment though…What if you did not the financial means to put a roof over your head? You couldn’t afford to go to some of the nicest restaurants in town, you couldn’t even afford a slice of bread? Is it really that bad now?

It’s been a blessing not to have experienced the above, in September though, I will be traveling to one of the poorest countries in the world, Haiti. I will be going with a team from my old church in Savannah, Savannah Christian Church. The agenda for this trip is to work with the mothers and the children in northern Haiti. SCC partners with Northwest Haiti Christian Mission (www.nwhcm.com), another organization we will be closely working while we are there.

Why am I going to Haiti? I have had opportunities to go serve on other trips, but this one has stuck out to me like a sore thumb. I have had opportunities, to go other places, but have not for one reason or another. Haiti is nowhere near a one star vacation retreat, but the land and its people have captured my heart. The tumultuous history, the impoverished present, and the thought of what the country could be through life changing connections.

I go with an expectant heart and please join me on this blog site as our team gathers further details about the trip and as I shed more light on this country.  I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

The team is raising support ($1750 per team member) to offset costs and supplies for the trip. If you would like to be a part of this effort to help the Haitians, please make all checks to Savannah Christian Church (on the for line please put Team Haiti II for Kristin Painter) and mail to:

Savannah Christian Church
 Att: Missions Department
55 Al Henderson Blvd
Savannah, GA 31419
 
www.scc.com               
 
www.nwhcm.com

“Everything we see is a shadow cast by which we do not see”-Martin Luther King

“Okay I really need to get some studying done”, I thought to myself. I had a somewhat productive morning, picking up some laundry off my bedroom floor (I call it cleaning). My intentions for the weekend were not big since I had just treated myself to some sassy new red highlights for my hair (no I am not trying to cover up my aging head), but I knew I had to get a little classwork done. So with all the reserve I could muster,  I pulled on some of my favorite comfy denim jeans and headed off to my favorite people watching/studying spot, Caribou Coffee in Buckhead. As I was puttering (speeding) down GA 400 in my ever trustworthy maroon Saturn. I started thinking about all the places I still had not experienced in Atlanta yet. One place that popped into my mind was Oakland Cemetery. Ok, before you start hitting the “delete” button as my Facebook friend or thinking Kristin needs to take some more medication, let me give you a brief explanation why.  I enjoy history thoroughly and love taking pictures. To me old historical places like Oakland or Bonaventure in Savannah, give  a small snapshot into the people who have shaped our cities and lives as we know it today and to gain an appreciate of what the city is and will be. I hope with this brief explanation, you will understand why I paid my 50 cent toll and proceeded down to the southern part of Atlanta.

I arrived to Oakland noting the stark contrast of the old brick gate against the steel high-rise buildings in the skyline and the rumbling of a train in the short distance. I had no idea of what I was going to see  and had some second thoughts as the nipply cold January air pricked through the little holes on my sweater (see how prepared I was). I smiled and gave some passing by visitors walking their little black spaniel a warm hello and started my little journey. As I started down some of the paved brick paths, I began to see  purpose  all of all the folks who had once called Atlanta home in their earthly life, some who will forever be in the annals of history and some whose lives will only be known in the family history. With that thought, my imagination began to ponder over the lives of a handful of people who  impressed me as I wandered quietly along on the pavement and browned winter grass.

“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”, a quote that will be forever associated with Atlanta and its beloved citizen and author, Margaret Mitchell (Marsh). Although we will never know if Rhett had ever gave a damn about Scarlett, Margaret’s ambitious storytelling captured the sentiments of a bygone era, the hearts of a city still healing from the ravages of war, and the imaginations of future readers who have never or will experience a token of this time period. On an interesting side note, on a trip the Margaret Mitchell house the tour guide had mentioned that the character of Scarlett was thought to have been based on Margaret’s grandmother who grew up during the Reconstruction period and was a shrewd/selfish businesswoman who was prone to consumption of spirits. Interesting, how one person’s history enabled another person to make history. Even though, Margaret will always be known for her novel, her everyday life changed the regular citizens of this southern city. The novelist involved herself heavily in charity work at Grady Memorial Hospital and a major non-profit organization for disadvantaged children of Atlanta, Sheltering Arms.

My second stop  a along the way was to a tiny tombstone of Maynard Jackson. Mr. Jackson was Atlanta’s first African-American mayor, quite an accomplishment and redemption for a state who once treated its people unequally and at times brutally simply for the color of their skin. I honestly did not know much about what he accomplished for Atlanta until I read more about his tenure his mayor. Under his tenure, the modernatizaion of what is now Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport occured , he also helped secure funds for the city’s future public transit system, and set the groundwork for Atlanta to host the 1996 Olympics.

After, I had viewed these two prominent Atlantians, I decided to continue my adventure in my car…48 acres is a bit much to cover on a cold Saturday morning. As I drove around I noticed about a couple of acres of symmetrical marble stones no more than a foot high lining the hills. I stopped the car to further look at them. This section was where all the soldiers, both Union and Confederate, had been laid to rest after the Battle of Atlanta. It is hard to fathom that these young men, many in their teens and early twenties, sacrificed their life for a way a of life they believed in (whether it was right or wrong).  Humbling, to think almost two centuries ago our country was at war with itself, brother against brother, an issue  that you tend to think happens overseas, not within the peaceful confines of this nation.

My last little stop was outside the visitors center. A very simple family plot for Mr. Claude Buchanan. Mr. Buchanan lived a life well into his 80s. I am pretty sure a man who had experienced eight decades of life delighted in hours of adventures with his childhood friends, fell in love with the woman of his dreams, and expressed his the love for his wife through their offspring. Mr. Buchanan also experienced the unimaginable heartache of losing his “only son” in the 1930s to only God knows what. My heart who could only dream of the sadness that he must have felt standing over that grave knowing his son will never experience the joys that God privileged his life to and to later stand in that same area a few years later to bury his wife. I don’t know how he lived his life or if he has family still in Atlanta. But, the simple epitaph on his stone said spoke volumes, “Well done good and faithful servant.” Although you will not see Mr. Buchanan’s name next to Margaret’s or Maynard’s name in history books, but he did help write the history of his family, his friends, and colleagues.

Although this was a pretty random Saturday experience, it makes you realize how much my life or yours can shape history. The majority of us will never have our names in lights and people will not stop and gawk just because of who were are and what we do, but that is alright. However, what we do with our lives and how we treat others matters. Thank you Margaret for inspiring imaginations, Maynard for overcoming obstacles, soldiers for their ultimate sacrifice, and Mr. Buchanan for just being reminding me to just be myself.

“Community, Identity, Stability”-Aldous Huxley Brave New World

I may need to stop reading the news during my lunch break. As I am writing this, my belly is full from my little leftovers and my heart is heavy with questions and sadness. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about To Write Love on Her Arms a well-recognized non-profit organization whose mission is to help those suffering from depression, self-injury, addictions, and other issues.  As a read further on the site, I realized how many people were ending their young lives due to cyber bullying. I am not trying to spread gloom and doom, but with the world-changing around us so quickly, it is so important to learn how to protect our future generations.

What really alarmed me this time was the amount of young kids, the CNN article was writing about an eleven year old bullying victim who killed himself. Or not so far in recent history the teenage girl who ended her young life, because she was being cyber-bullied on MySpace or the college student who was publicly humiliated on YouTube. Sadly, my list could go on and on. I think most of can remember a time in our lives when we had to deal (or try not to) with a person(s) who well hated us for absolutely no reason. Of course there are some scars, but we get over it.

Bullying is as old as time issue, unhappy people will make sure everyone else around them is unhappy. It truly is a new world out there for kids to have to grow up in. Most of us in our late 20s (not me of course) on up never had to deal with humiliation on some online media social outlet or have some type of rumor or telltale video go viral in a matter of minutes for the world to see. Parents like , Kirk Smalley (the 11-year-old who killed himself after being bullied) are stepping out and spreading awareness on this issue.  Articles in general, talk about parents being more actively involved in what they are doing online (they don’t have to be the bullying victim, I might add as well). Adults without children get involved in programs that support the growth of children into healthy adults, such as Big Brother/Big Sister Programs. Whether we like it or not, we are not an island, our lives are inexplicably connected in so many ways.

Take some time out and make a difference.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/10/04/bullying.causes.suicide/index.htmls.

“Better to Light a Candle than Curse the Darkness”-Chinese Proverb

Today I ended this balmy summer…oh no wait, balmy first day of fall evening, reflecting on the interactions of the day.   Why is it some people who do wrong all the time have it so easy, while others who are seeking God and to do what is right continuously find themselves with the doors shutting on them, supposedly. Our lives are definitely written in chapters, not in entire books. Much of the rest of this blog is not going to be of my writing. The irony of this whole reflection was that I received my answer in a message this evening from a Ms. Stone on Facebook about a entirely seperate conversation about something else.  The rest of this blog will be shamelessly italicized and quoted, not being lazy, but everything was put so perfectly, I can not help but share. If you are seeking searching and trying to find a purpose and meaning to what is happening, please take this as encouragement!

 A person is ” lead somewhere or into something by Him and then unexpectantly pulled out/away. I’ve learned that with our Christ, oftentimes what makes no initial sense will eventually show to have been a mere test on our part…to see if we were willing to let go of something we really wanted and trust His leading.” ” I do know that if you’d prayed about joining the trip (insert your own circumstance), and He had said yes, and then re-routed your heart afterwards, then you can rest on your obedience and trust Him with all else. He is not a God of confusion; *yet* He will indeed lead us in and out of circumstances in ways that are baffling…total difference. Reminds me of Him calling Abraham out of Ur, or Christ telling His disciples to go into a town and ask for provision when He knew that the town would reject His men! He always has His purposes……if you’d been praying all along about going (and then you felt led to stay) then I believe there is no “missing of His will” on your part; it’s merely Him leading you in a way that you’re not yet able to understand the reasons.”

He is ever-faithful; and promises us that when we trust Him, seek Him, and obey Him, that none, *none* of our steps will slide. Yes, we always have free will, and can choose to ignore His leading. But as His Spirit-filled and Spirit-led children, why would we do that?? We love Him, and want to be with Him and not against Him…It’s so amazing that we can trust Christ in us to guide us in His preordained steps! I love it. Just love it. It also comforts me that we “have the mind of Christ,” and can trust His faithfulness to move everything into place as it’s needed for us to walk in His purposes for our individual lives. I’ve also been told (*very* often, lol), that it’s good how He only shows us a bit at a time what He has planned; that way we’re continually drawing closer to Him for guidance, comfort, answers, love, and assurance…”Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105). I remember too a mentor once saying that the lamp only allows you to see 2-3feet in front of you…and that was God telling us we only need to see the next few steps.”-J.Stone (2010)

So Jimmy and Dale, Jr. can you outrun a bootlegger?

Tonight’s mental floss award goes to my roommate Stephanie.  Congrats. The late Sunday evening was capped off  with us watching the new  HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” starring the ever endearing Steve Buscemi (Armageddon, The Big Lebowski) and I am assuming a relative newcomer Michael Pitt (who may I add looks like Jack (Leo DiCaprio) of Titanic in certain camera angles). The plot line is about the prohibition era and how men compromise their integrity for the love of money and power.

During this time of “dryness” for the lack of better words, developed men who were willing to run the liquid gold to help supplement income or have income (particularly up the Appalachin area where unemployment was rampant. Some reports have some drivers making up to $200.00 a run. The money was good for those who knew how to drive stealthily and outrun the police and the other Federal agents. By day the competition grew between the bootleggers to see who could drive and modify their vehicles to become the fastest. The competition, particulalrly in the Southern US, began to grow as people heard about these competitions. Of course during the thick of night they were delivering these same people their liquors. The competitions birthed into legitimate competitions and eventually into the billion dollar event viewed by milliions every year.

I am not a NASCAR fan, but it is really interesting to see how a (is it a sport?) sport with millions of supporter and in the irony of it all massive beer sponorship, has its roots in early Americana.  So, Jimmy and Dale, Jr. if you had been born in the early turn of the 20th century, I am assuming you would have been running some liquid lighting along the narrow roads of the Appalachin mountains. Interesting thought, so there is a little mental floss for the evening.

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming of it.”-Helen Keller

“What are you doing tomorrow night?” read my text on my little red beat up LG Envy. Well, I had nothing planned for an exciting Tuesday night, so I texted back, “Nothing. What’s going on?” “Would you be interested in going to the To Write Love on Her Arms event at Kennesaw State University?”, replied Lin. I had heard about the organization, but my initial thought was that they were an organization advocating for victims of abuse. Lin, from what I have gotten to know of her is that her heart and spirit is towards supporting social justice organizations and, since my interest in these type of things was similar to hers, well automatically I was interested in going.  However, whenever I read up more about the organization online, I was quite surprised. TWLOHA is an organization dedicated bringing hope and a purpose to those who have gone through depression, addiction, self-injury, or suicide. Even with my struggles and success in life I was very interested in going to see what TWOLHA was about and how they were bringing a message of hope and purpose to young adults and well anyone who are struggling to find a purpose and peace to the pain. How do you help the ones struggling with these tendencies? How do you support the loved ones left behind for those who have for the lack of better words, “succeeded” in their mission?

I went to sleep that not realizing how much of an impact their awareness event would have on my life.  Most of us whether we like to admit it or not struggle at times (or extensively) to find a purpose for our lives here on Earth. Some folks will never be able to give the world a chance to see how they could shine like stars.

 The next evening after work, I trekked to the other side of the world (i.e. the other side of metro Atlanta) to check out the event. Getting to TWOLHA did not come with out a bit of an adventure. Apparently KSU has grown a bit since I had been there last in the early…uh 90s :/. TWOLHA announced the main address, but not the actual building, great. I called Lin and she said she is “standing in a big parking lot” and that is all she knew at the moment. Well eventually she found the location, I found the “big parking lot”, and finally found the Social Science Building with some guidance of the whippersnappers who had just been released from their early evening classes.

Honestly, when I walked into the speaking engagement I did not totally know what to expect from the evening. The lecture hall held roughly one hundred people sitting in ascending rows in the back and in “wooden” desks toward the stage. The dimly lit lecture hall had  a coffee house feel while casting light shadows on the faces of the guest speaker Jamie Trorkowski and musical guest Matt Weirtz (I think I need to revisit the glasses issue). 

The evening was interspersed with music, the story behind TWOLHA, and story of hope and survival by a young man with dreds, named Denny. If people ever wonder why things happened in their lives and if there was ever a reason for them, well here is your prime example.  Jamie, dressed in his skinny jeans and green hoodie, launched into his story on how this organization came into being. Initially, thought doing sales for the surfing business in Florida was supposed to be his career, loved surfing and had a six figure income. It was a purpose for him at the time since it set the stage for the big picture of his life.

First, a good friend/colleague had to everyone’s surprise had committed suicide. His reaction after this happen was what could he do to hopefully prevent people from reaching this level?  In another random event he had met Joaquin Phoenix at a movie set and what stuck in his mind was that Joaquin had movie notes scribbled all over his arms. The strange concept never left him. Some time later in Jamie time, his friend David asked him to go to Florida to see his friend Renee. Renee was having problems with addiction, self mutilation, and depression. Jamie just about did not go (if you had not figured it out by now, Renee was the catalyst for the whole organization). Renee eventually strung out on drugs had started self mutilating. Her injuries were so bad and she was so strung out on drugs, even the hospital would not take her. The friends surrounded her and supported for five days until she was able to be checked into the hospital.

Even, though she was in a desperate situation, it is important to note, that if someone wants to be helped they have to recognize it for themselves. As a friend, people can guide, counsel, and support the ones hurting, but the wounded need to recognize for themselves that they need to be healed.  Renee needing to be in rehab to get clean did not have the financial means to pay for the costs. It is really amazing to see how what seemed like insignificant events turn out to be life changing events.  Jamie was thinking about how to raise money to help his new friend.  The story earlier touched on Joaquin Phoenix’s notes on his arms. Jamie thought he would sell T-shirts to raise money to help with Renee’s rehab (idea from a Coldplay concert). The concept would be to write love on her arms to cover up the scars from her self-destruction on her arms.

Human beings are designed for a purpose and to have significance in life. Please remember you are not alone. Seek help from friends who will walk the walk with you, non-profit agencies, like TWOLHA who can point you to the right support groups, or local churches. It is not an easy task to start walking down the road to recovery, but recognizing the fact that help is needed is the first and most important step. The evening continued with a story from Danny, a man in his late twenties in long blond dreds,  who found him self in the midst of depression and intense heroin addiction early in life. Just like Renee, he was in the midst of despair and hopelessness. Danny had several friends that he had made throughout the course of his addiction that wanted to see him get clean. After a binge at a seedy hotel, he had seen this familiar white vehicle riding around, Danny had the choice of hiding and not calling out to the familiar faces in the vehicle or holding up a “white flag”, figuratively speaking.  Danny choose to surrender and let his friends truly into his life. Danny has now been clean and sober for seven years and is happily married.

After life changing stories were shared on stage, it was time for Q&A from the audience. The need and the hurt and the audience was great. People go about their lives and most of the time don’t realize their fellow schoolmates or co-workers are in significant pain. A young lady in front of mostly strangers, asked for guidance from the guest speakers on how to support her boyfriend who was trying to get clean from a heroin addiction. Another young lady asked how to help a friend that she had known since six grade who was starting to go down a path of drug addiction.  People are designed to be dependant (not to be mistaken with co-dependant) on each other. If hurting, reach out, if not hurting, reach in.

Ruth Chapter 1&2

Wherever you go I will go, whenever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severly, if anything but death separates you and me….

Ruth 1:16-17

 

The book of Ruth (which means friend in Hebrew), one of the best stories of friendship and loyalty,that was relevant several thousand years ago and even today. The "where ever you go" verse really has stuck in my mind since a summer wedding on a balmy evening in Savannah. I had been invited to this wedding of a much deserving "Ruth" who had found her "Boaz", this Ruth looked her husband to be in the eyes and recited this verse to him as a commitment to him. Apparently this was in her plan only and not anybody else's. Needless to say there was not a dry eye in the old church.

Loyalty and friendship are such and arbitrary term in today's society. Spouses are loyal to each other until times get rough, then either one or both decide not to build on their friendship by working together through the issue, so they split, for example. People are loyal to their friends as long as that person can provide what they need or tell them what they want to hear, if not good bye.

Ruth is a woman to be admired a loyalty that would not be shaken even in the toughest of circumstances. During the famine, both of Naomi's sons and husband passed away. Ruth could have easily left to go back to her home and start anew. Orpah was very reluctant to leave, while Ruth was bent on putting Naomi and her needs first. It really makes a person wonder what these women's relationship was like during the good times. What did they laugh about? Did they fight on occasion to only have the fight forgotten about after five minutes? Whatever the relationship was like, Ruth was going to wherever Naomi went and nothing would separate them.

Ruth enjoyed Naomi's company in the good times, but was tested to its fullest when she had to give up the chance to make a new life for herself after her husband passed. Ruth went with Naomi to Bethlehem and started gleaning the fields to support her and Naomi. The beauty comes in how God rewarded her for her faithfulness and loyalty. God provided Ruth Boaz who saw her for what she truly was and loved her for that.

 Love is truly a choice and not a feeling. Choose to love today.

 

 

 

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Coincidences..I think not.

I had been on a blogging fury for awhile there and then suddenly life just started getting in the way again for a minute. I am sorry Vox, I have not forgotten you and you are missed quite terribly.  Today, I came to the deep realization (felt it before) that there are no coincidences in life. I had been putting off getting my tag on my vehicle renewed for the year. So, woefully I climbed into my car that morning grumbling over the fact that I had if I lived in Savannah (population of 2) I would not have to worry about paying for an emissions inspection. I have a passed the Tag Office no more than a 100 times since I have lived in Alpharetta and for some reason instead of cutting down NP Parkway from Windward I went down 400 to Old Milton in which I sat in traffic for forever and then turned down the wrong end of NP Parkway back to my house. Long story short, what should have been a 15 minute trip turned out to be a 35 minute trip. I was not happy, but as soon as I pulled up a salt and peppered haired man with battery cables came up to me asking me to help jump his silver PT Cruiser off. The car was quite new, but he said the battery cables were bad. I pulled my car around so that he could hopefully get back on the road. Salt and pepper haired man's wife was sitting in the bak seat looking weary  (it was not even 9:00am yet) and a young Hispanic male was helping him look at his car (BTW the just because I have black hair and I am short does not mean I am a Latina came into play here). I asked him a question and the first thing out of his mouth was "Como" (what)? He later on spoke to salt and pepper hair man in more perfect English than I can ever delve out of my southern roots.

 

After a few jimmying and cranks the Cruiser finally started. I told him I am glad it worked out and to have a good day! Mr. PT Cruiser said quitely under his breath "no you have a good day". Funny how things work, if I hadn't been such a dork, I would have paid my penance..excuse my car tag tax, would have been on my merry way, and would have never helped this man. This is why I don't believe in coincidences. I was appointed for just a fleeting moment in time to be a part of his life and to demonstrate a small act of God's love in a car charging kind of way. :) So, really if you think something is just a coincidence..look a little closer and you might be quite amazed.

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