I have met so many wonderful friends through books. Some are fictional, and some are flesh and bone friends...but all have made a difference in my life in one way or another. We all impact each other's lives. Sometimes it is by something you say that makes me think, and other times it is by a gesture or kindness. And yet other times it may be something that dug deeper, hurt my feelings, or made me sad. Still you made a difference. Through this blog I would like to introduce you to some people who have blessed me with their writing...and I hope you will be blessed as well!

Coffee or Tea?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"But Mom, you know people like us can never have a house like that..."

We saw this house on Craigslist, and for just a few minutes I "got the big eye" as my uncle Tillman Turner would say. I read the description and         looked at the pictures at least a dozen times before I showed it to the kids. I have dreamed of this place for years. It had everything I could ever want, even an in-ground pool! I always wanted a pool ! My son looked at me and seriously reminded me, "Mom, you know people like us can never have a house like that!".

The house we live in now is over 100 years old, and has no heat, so we sit around wrapped in comforters and share a small electric heater. There is an oil heater, but it hasn't been serviced in many years and costs a fortune to run. Last December I spent over $700 on fuel oil! Our bath tub doesn't drain so you have to use a bucket to dip the water out and pour it down the toilet. The tempeture control on it doesn't turn so you get lukewarm and cold...which really gets chilly without heat, brrrrr! There is no insulation and the windows rattle with the slightest breeze, so we have covered them with blankets. So here we sit in our living room partitioned off from the rest of the house like a tent, wrapped like mummies, and no one wants to move. Then the landlady announced she is not renewing our lease; and any new lease would be at least  $200 more a month to bring it up to market value of $995 a month. We have no frills here; there is no washer and dryer, or diswasher,...or even a back yard. I haven't allowed anyone in my house in several years because I am embarrassed by it.

When I went to bed I was still pouting over the house I couldn't have.  It was $1500 a month and was about the same cost as this one when you count in the utilities.  I worked my tail off to support my family alone, until I got hurt and couldn't lift or bend like before. When the pain got worse I stopped exercising and began to gain weight. LOTS of weight. I still have a small income, but not as great as I once had. My daughter, Stevie, graciously gave all of her income to support the family until she got laid off last month. My son makes minimum wage and helps when he can. I continually look for work as a nanny in the meantime.

Then God smiled down and stroked my forehead and as I drifted off to sleep I prayed He allowed me abundant blessings. Then I saw visions of children sleeping in cardboard boxes, families in tents living under overpasses and in tent cities, and elderly, with no family to turn to, forced to live on the streets. If they are lucky they might find a warm bed in an overnight shelter they must leave after breakfast. Once they lose their mate and their income declines they become in danger of running out of funds to pay their bills and lose their dream homes to foreclosure.  Time and time again, if they have children, the children place them in nursing homes while they sell off everything their parents owned and disappear. Yes, this really happens! I know one girl who had a yard sale the week she placed her mother in a county run home.  Her mother begged for her television, but her daughter had already sold it.  There were 6 ladies in her room with barely a sheet separating them.  When one used the toilet chair, the smell made two others throw up, and the smell was unbarible. The homeless shelters that allow long term stays (up to three months) are all full, and children live day to day knowing when their time is up they are going to be placing everything in black plastic bags and walking out the door to uncertainty.  There are over one million homeless families in America on any given day. I am not one of them; I AM blessed.

I wanted that beautiful house for my family. I wanted a pool, and nice things for them.  They couldn't remember living in a nice house, or living in any house for over two years in a row. I wanted to give them the best, but I couldn't. I failed.  But here we sit, snuggling together on a couch we didn't have for many months, playing board games and snacking on finger foods for fun. We compete to see who will be the Donald Trump of Park Ave. and Boardwalk, and who will take over the Rail Road empire. My son wants to be a youth minister and help other kids find the best within themselves with God's help. Stevie helps others any way she can. It doesn't get much better than this on earth.

We only had one present each this year for Christmas, but it isn't about us, it is about the greatest gift  of all...Jesus.  It is about learning to see the world the way Jesus does. He would never whine about what He didn't have, so why should we?

We have a house that keeps us dry when it rains, and we have a place to cook and eat, and electricity to heat our food.  We have the heater going, and electricity give us lights in the dark. We have clothes we can layer up in, even if they aren't as clean as we might want. And we are thankful God has taken care of us according to His plan for our lives...maybe He is preparing us for future events.  We are thankful for Psalm 91 that promises God is watching over us.

Psalm 91

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”