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"You can't put a bandaid on it" or "Things you shouldn't say to someone who is suffering."

The youth pastor of our congregation in New Orleans would say this a lot.  He was very straightforward and direct about people who would have a "simple answer/spiritual remedy" for someone who was struggling and/or suffering.  As someone who had experienced suffering, I appreciated the statement and could relate to it's truth.  So that is the title of today's post.  I'm writing this because a) it's something that I know and I was always told, "Write about what you know.", b) I have friends and relatives who are currently experiencing suffering, and c) after perusing the internet, I didn't find any articles that thoroughly tackled the subject.  There are two that deal with the topic (one references the other).  Here is the link to one:  I included the duplicate title since there seems to be a trend in blogposts titled "X (insert number) things you shouldn't say to X (insert person and topic).

So with 1) "It could be worse" and 2) "What is God teaching you through this?" covered in the above post, I'll move on to the statements I remember hearing.  I hope that readers will understand that while their motives might be well-meaning, attempts to make things better by offering a "verbal" bandaid, often leave us feeling worse than before and why.  Hopefully, it will give you some insight into how to step along side a friend/relative and walk with them for a while.  There is no order of importance to these statements.  All of them are hurtful in different degrees. 

1) "It'll get better."  The corollary of "It could be worse!"  Alternate phrasing "God has a plan for you through this."

     I knew that, I still know it.  I think anyone "staying afloat" while suffering knows that. So, why shouldn't you say it? I mean doesn't it offer hope? Yes, but it is a future hope, and while it helps us hold on, it doesn't necessarily help us where we are now.  I get it that perspective is good.  But, in my case, I was often left wondering "when?" and it's possible that the person saying it left feeling like they'd offered me hope and therefore eased my suffering.  Even if you've survived suffering and got to the "better", I would encourage you not to just say this statement.  Nope.  Better option, "May I pray with you?"

2) "You need to pray more."

Really?  You don't think the person you're saying this to isn't praying.  I prayed constantly.  When saying this statement, it equates prayer with money and implies that we don't have enough, or that God has to hear a certain number of prayers before he answers. Yes, there is the story of the persistent widow but the lesson there is not the amount of prayers, but the woman's character.  She did not give up asking until the judge granted her request.  For us that are suffering, we understand prayer, and we're not quitting until we have God's answer/provision.  Better option, "I'll keep praying with you/for you."

3) "You need more faith."  Also phrased as "You just need to believe that God will heal you."  "You need to confess your healing and walk in it."

Seriously???  Please don't ever, ever, ever, say this to someone who is believing God for a miracle.  I can't tell you how many times I heard this statement or it's equivalent "You don't have enough faith."  It caused so much doubt in my mind about God's character, about my worth, and about my salvation.  Again, it equates faith with a commodity, if you have enough you can get something, if not, oh well, better luck next time.  The Bible compares faith to a mustard seed that then grows into a mighty tree.  It's not about the amount of faith.  It's about an unshakable belief that God, despite what my circumstances looked like, had not forgotten me, and had a plan and a purpose for my life.  Most of us have that.  Again, it's what keeps us moving forward despite pain, weakness, or other suffering.  Better option: "Let's pray and ask God for mercy/grace."

3) "There's unconfessed sin in your life." 

All I'm going to say about this statement is "Read the book of Job".  If you haven't read it, I encourage you to do so.  Discover who gets rebuked and who gets "blessed out of their socks".  If you have read it, learn from the story and erase this statement from your mind.   I was told this one a lot as my suffering extended beyond 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, ....  it did nothing to alleviate my suffering, but rather sent me into a downward spiral of emotional, mental, and spiritual pain and anguish, much like Job experienced.  Better option:  Go sit with your friend/relative.  Watch a movie, tell jokes, eat a meal together (if he/she wants/can). Just be with them.  Ask them if you can help them clean/cook/drive them on an errand, etc.


I'm not sure why, in general, we're uncomfortable with suffering.  I have some ideas that I'll save for another article.   When talking about my years of chronic illness, (I was diagnosed with kidney failure and was on dialysis for 5 years) I always say that those years were harder on my mom than they were on me.  For me, the pain was tangible.  I knew where it was and I learned how to cope with it and how to disassociate from it.  She didn't know what I was feeling and couldn't do anything to make it better.   So, she would stand at the foot of my hospital bed and rub my feet and pray.  There were so many times I would fall asleep with her standing there and wake up hours later and she was still there.  Her presence and her hands on my feet did a lot to make the pain manageable. 

There are so many other "bandaids" that are thrown out by people.  Someone who has a scratch or minor injury needs a bandaid.  Someone with a life threatening injury needs emergency treatment and then long term care to recovery.  It's the same with suffering, especially chronic, we don't need "verbal" bandaids.  Again, I think it's well meaning, but still hurtful.  Please consider carefully the words you say to someone who has a chronic illness or condition.  Better to listen to them, sit with them, offer practical assistance, or ask how you can pray with them and then do whatever it is that they ask.




Life is a balancing act

As a practical definition, balance is "the ability to stay upright".  Barring any physical challenges, people gain the ability to walk by learning balance.  I manage to stay upright, most of the time, when I'm walking although I have lost it in pretty bizarre situations.  Despite several years of ballet training, which is supposed to improve your balance, I have found myself losing my balance while walking in flip flops (I slide off the side of one, and fall over!) weird, I know, but that's me. (It's ok, the floor/ground/wall/whatever object I ran/fell into needed a hug!)  Nevertheless, I regularly practice balancing acts, such as walking on railroad tracks and concrete dividers, or standing on one leg while playing the violin, or climbing on tables or speakers while playing the violin, riding a bike or a scooter, or most recently, roller derby (to the shock and awe of friends and family)!! Imagine the reaction when I posted a picture on facebook of me playing the violin while skating around the track!!  For the record, I'm much better at stationary balance than ambulatory balance.  (In case you're worried, no fiddles were harmed during the skating while playing the Star Spangled Banner episode.)

I came to realize that all of the above activities were difficult if I was looking down and trying to move forward carefully and slowly, and I always maintained longer periods of balance when I looked ahead or up and kept moving at a steady pace.  There was something about having my eyes, at eye level or above, that helped align my posture which in turn improved my ability to stay upright.  Staying in motion also helped keep that alignment (for forward motion activities, such as railroad tie walking and roller derby).

Another aspect of the word balance is proportion or harmony between elements.  We would use this definition in describing a quality of a piece of art, design, or outfit.  In music, we learned to balance sound with silence, and orchestrate the song, piece, or composition with proportion between the bass and treble voices.  When teaching, I would encourage the students to spend time each day practicing and playing.  Financial gurus probably emphasize the balance between spending and saving.

This definition can also be applied to how we balance areas of our life such as work, friends, and family.  I'd like to say I'm pretty good at balancing work and family.   Sadly, I'm not and I need to improve on the proportion of time working to time spent with friends.  That was one of my goals this year and I've noticed that the above principle of looking up and forward has also helped me in balancing these three areas of my life.  So what does looking up and looking ahead mean in terms of keeping work and family and friends in a healthy, harmonious balance?

Well, "looking ahead" might include planning events and/or time to spend with friends during my week and putting them on the calendar.  "Looking up" would involve putting aside or finishing work and then leaving it so I can call friends and family and catch up with what's going on in their lives.

Another aspect of life that fits this definition of balance is the harmony between our spiritual, physical, and emotional parts of ourself.  And the key to proportion or balance in these areas is also "looking up".  In a previous post, I mentioned an area of struggle pertaining to faith in GOD to move in a certain area of my life.  I kept asking and praying for GOD to remove it and yet I kept stumbling over it, doubting and "losing my balance".  One day, in exasperation, I questioned GOD (this is my MO...struggle, struggle, struggle all while telling GOD I trust HIM, and then running out of patience and questioning HIM or "grilling" HIM, in most cases, about why HE hasn't responded) as to why this obstacle was so "huge" and I kept "stumbling" over it.  (Like it was somehow HIS fault)  He replied (as usual, in a very calm, rational way) "You keep looking at it.  Look at ME."

"Hm!! As if it's that easy", I thought to myself.  But, somewhat skeptically, I agreed to give it a try so I looked to GOD and kept looking "up" towards GOD as I kept moving forward.  And what do you know??? Lo and behold, the issue quit being a stumbling block and I was able to maintain my balance!  So, if you're having a hard time balancing in any area, try "looking up and ahead" and keep moving.  I'd love to hear your stories. :-)


When your life and actions radically change to the point you don't recognize yourself!

Who are you and what have you done with Esther?!?!?!  It was a question that was long overdue for asking but didn't surface until I found myself spotting a very large roach and, without thinking of the potential hazards of missing, grabbing the nearest object (which happened to be a oversized, pasteboard coaster) and slamming it down on the roach as it crawled across the recycle bin.  This from the girl who would run screaming out of the room if she even heard, or thought she heard, one crawling in the corner of said room.  I HATE roaches.  I mean, what is their purpose?? Why do they exist?? Did Noah really capture two and take them on the ark, or did they stowaway in a food basket and wait til all the water subsided before disembarking and populating the earth with their grossness?? These are the questions that I ask about these creatures.  I'd much rather see a mouse than a roach!! UGH (shudder). Granted, as I got older I had managed to gain the ability to swing at them with a looooong handled broom in hopes of killing them without hearing the crunch of their exoskeleton, and with a clear exit strategy in case I missed and they flew at me.  And I even managed, on one occasion, (not too long before the above incident) to stomp on one that I saw on the porch.  Granted, I was wearing shoes, (shocking, I know) ok, flip flops, and I screamed really loudly as I did it (in order not to hear the crunch), and technically it was far away from me (I'm 5"04") but it was pre-meditated, since there wasn't anything closer, 'cause I definitely wanted to keep it from coming in the house thereby denying it the ability to bother me later.  But neither of those shocked me or ellicited a "pause for thought" moment like the pasteboard coaster slaying did.   So what was it about that event that was so pivotal in my realization of how much I had changed over the course of the last 10 months??

As I'm writing, I'm thinking of all the other "odd", uncharacteristic things I had done prior to that night. (Beyond those mentioned in previous posts.) The first one that comes to mind is offering a room in my house to a non-family member, a girl I had just met in fact, that was in need of housing that was close to her jobs and school.  That's crazy....stay the night??  Sure... Stay the week?? Maybe... Move in indefinitely.?? not on your life...  This is my house, my space, my haven, mine, mine, MINE!!!!  I sounded like the seagulls in "Finding Nemo"!  But, I offered, she accepted, and it worked out fine.  (Having one guest was just the warm-up act!!!)

The second event that should have triggered this "HUH???" response was probably waking up at 4:30 AM and heading into the kitchen to cook, with a big smile on my face no less, because I was wide awake!!  What?!??!  This from the girl who rarely got out of bed before 9 and definitely moaned and groaned if she had to get up before the sun, who refused to do anything work related before she had coffee and time to read the comics and complete ALL the puzzles, and who adamantly refused to schedule lessons before 10AM during the summer and told the parents who requested that time that it was EARLY!!  (I now wake up at 5AM M-F to work the breakfast shift at St. Joseph's Diner)

Even my rational response to a situation that was uncomfortable and would have normally resulted in a bad reaction from me, didn't raise my eyebrows the way the roach anihilation had.  So what was it about it that made it such a pivotal moment in my awareness that I was in a very different, much better place, than the previous year? (Well, maybe some of my friends might disagree with me that achieving roach killing ability, while remaining calm, is an improvement!!)  I was aware of changes happening in my life, (Read the "He restores my soul" blog post) and I was very thankful for them. But none of them shocked me that profoundly.  I guess since my disdain and disgust for roaches was rooted in childhood traumatic encounters with them, I expected to always react in the same way when I saw or heard one.  It wasn't something I had ever brought before God to "take away" so the different reaction caught me by surprise. I'm not sure why I'm surprised when God moves unexpectedly in my life but I am. Let me explain using "previous me" (before the Psalms challenge) and "present me" (after the Psalms challenge).

The previous me had been struggling with a failing marriage and divorce and health issues that resulted in a gluten free diet, all while maintaing a busy teaching schedule in an effort to not think about the first traumatic event listed. I was easily angered and had a hard time maintaining self control when I felt I had no control over events in my life.  The present me had adjusted well to the gluten free diet and had even survived 5 months of a modified paleo diet.  (I had also had almost a full year of meditating on and singing the Psalms). I was 9 months into a sabbatical from teaching and I had started running again, and I was feeling better about life in general.  Upon further reflection, I remember that I had made a conscious decision to remove all processed foods (especially those with preservatives) from my diet when I embarked on the modified paleo diet experiment. I had already experienced a new sense of contentment and an awareness of Him restoring my soul, so, I concluded that it was another level of HIM making Psalm 23 real to me.  Specifically, verse 4 - "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for YOU are with me."  I mean walking by a trash bin and seeing a roach (an evil thing) is equivalent to "the valley of the shadow of death" isn't it?? and here I was, not fearing the evil thing because I knew HE was with me and therefore, I could kill it!!  I think the "YOU are with me" , for me, is the most significant part.  I was assimilating all the lessons HE had been teaching me through this new phase of my life and was finally starting to rest in the knowledge that HE was in the boat with me, and we were indeed going to get to the other side!  (See my previous post from July)

Like most ongoing lessons in my life, I'm always drawn back to the time when I was on dialysis and reflect on how GOD has worked and continues to work in my life.  This time was no different and I remembered how HE had directed me to improve my diet through changing my liquid intake and transitioning me from drinking only Dr. Pepper to drinking only water all in preparation for the kidney transplant I had no idea was in the future.  This time, HE presented a change in my "spiritual water" using the Psalms, 9 in song form, that I could use for meditation and reflection. (He renews our mind through the washing of the water of the word.)  And, I had gone the "food as medicine" route rather than Doctor prescribed medicine to manage my rheumatoid arthritis symptoms which resulted in an improvement in my nutrition level which, in hindsight led to better health and more energy to manage the schedule HE was about to give me.  I had no idea I was going to be working with a non-profit that provided breakfast to the street people and that my shift would start at 5AM!!  HE did.  I had no idea that HE would present the opportunity to offer housing to 5 young people who had aged out of foster care and were, for different reasons, trying to survive on the streets.  HE did.  I had no idea that I would experience an extended period of chronic insomnia and an irritating skin condition.  HE did.  He knew all these circumstances before I was aware of the possibility of them, and in HIS mercy prepared me physically and spiritually before hand.  Despite these challenges, I can honestly say that "It is well with my soul" and I can rest knowing that "He will never leave me nor forsake me."

In conclusion, I continue to stand in awe of the grace HE's extended to me to trust that we will get to the other side, even though I don't know where that is, or when that is.  And, I can honestly say that roaches no longer carry an "ick" factor for me, although I won't go out of my way to kill them, will probably never apply for a job as an exterminator, and will still wonder why they were allowed to survive the flood!!


No One Can Serve Two Masters or Wherever You Are, Be All There.

You might wonder at the long title or be puzzled as to what the two have in common.  It wasn't too long ago, last week to be precise, that I would have thought the same thing and argued that two different points were being made.  After a long week-end in NO and a repair session with my chiropractic/homeopathic Dr. Dad, I had an opportunity to rethink the implications of both statements.


To give some background for those that might not be familiar with the two quotes, the first one is from the New Testament, Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13 and is used by Jesus in the context of a parable about the rich man to illustrate the point that our hearts can't be divided between two interests.

The second was spoken by Jim Elliot as an encouragement to his future bride, Elizabeth Elliot.  If memory serves correctly, they were apart and she was struggling with wanting to see him and he sent that sentence in a letter to exhort her to BE where she was.  The full quote finishes with "Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of GOD."

How it applies to me was that I ended up on the adjustment table wiped out from what I thought was a 7 mile run followed by a day of recording with my brother.  My ankle was bothering me and I was exhausted.  I chalked it up to needing more protein and nutrition now that my runs were getting longer.  My dad did not agree and so he started asking me a series of questions about why I was running, how did I feel about music, and where did the biscotti business and baking fit into the overall picture.  I tried to explain that I was working on making a better schedule that would allow for personal music time, training time, and baking time.  He then asked a question that to me sounded rather inocuous. "Can you listen to music while you're baking?" 

"Of course, that's what I do!  When I'm baking, I'm listening to music, thinking about lyrics.  Same thing when I'm running or practicing."  I started to mentally pat myself on the back for being efficient with my time and was brought up short when he replied, "There's your problem.  You're conflicted and distracted.  When you're doing one, you're thinking about the other." and then to add insult to injury, he concluded with Jesus' quote from Matthew.

"What?? That's not fair. It has nothing to do with money or GOD." 

"You're right.  It doesn't.  It does have to do with your focus and your presence in the activity that you have in front of you."

The Jim Elliot quote popped through my brain and the proverbial light bulb turned on to illuminate and bring understanding.  It would have been one of those "smh" expressions or text messages since this is a point I, as a musician and music teacher, had learned and taught from the very first lesson.  Our oft repeated instruction was "stay at a task only as long as you can focus."  So, how had I gotten away from that?  Well, in this day and age of multi-tasking and myriads of distractions it's quite easy.  A lot of press is being made about the dangers of texting and driving so much that it is starting to overshadow the "don't drink and drive" message.  Bottom line of both is don't be distracted when you're driving. I would go so far as to say, this is a symptom of a deeper issue that I'll call "distracted living" and I'm just as guilty of it as the next person.  Cell phones, facebook, pinterest, movies, games, books, radio, to name a few, all pull on our focus and attention.  Even if we're not connected to our fbook page or texting on the phone when we're out somewhere or with someone, chances are our brains and/or thoughts are roaming far from the present situation at hand.  A very sobering illustration is a cell phone with a bunch of apps running at the same time.  We all know what happens in those situations, unless we go in and close the ones open in the background, we'll drain the battery and run out of power!

If you're like me, you've gotten accustomed to several "apps" running at the same time to the point of being unaware. Just as an experiment, it's one I give to parents of beginning students, look at your watch, note the time, read this sentence and maybe the next one and then when you have a thought different from what you're reading, stop and look at the watch.  Surprising isn't it?  If you're still reading and haven't had a wandering thought then you have the ability to live and be in the moment.  Another practical experiment is to observe all the people outwardly giving their attention to the person giving the sermon on Sunday during the service, and then ask one or two of them what the main points of the talk were. 

It takes effort to "be all there"!  I've had practice doing it and it is still hard.  It takes effort and will power to corral the thoughts of your brain from wandering when you're listening to somebody, or involved in an activity that is famliar to you. After the session with my dad, I purposed to start practicing "being all there".  My brother would be working on a track and I'd make an effort to listen, really listen, and to my chagrin, more often then not, I'd catch my thoughts wandering to other things and I'd have to refocus and look back at the screen and endeavor to listen to what we had recorded.

We've been told that multi-tasking is efficient and allows us to get more done during the day.  In some scenarios this is true.  When doing laundry, there's no reason why another job can't be done while waiting for the wash to finish or the clothes to dry.  However, when involved in correspondence or conversation or detailed projects, we might find that we're more efficient and effective if we begin to "be all there" until we reach a stopping point. I wondered what would happen if I could be all in the moment of whatever I was doing.  Could I improve my running by being aware of the rhythm of my stride paired with the rhythm of my breathing?  What would happen if I really gave each batch of biscotti, from start to finish, my full attention? Would it be possible to have continued tone improvement by really listening to each note of a song I was playing and being aware of the physical aspects and motions of playing?  I don't know, but I'm certainly going to try to serve just one master and to "be" in each moment in which I find myself.

A friend made a comment recently that he was really busy.  It reminded me of an article I had read not long before about "busy" being the new idol for people.  I replied back that a hamster is busy too when he's running on the wheel, but it doesn't mean he gets anything done or goes anywhere.  Another popular description that I've heard lately, and probably even said is "hard work" or "work hard" and yes it could be said that the verse, "whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." could be interpreted as working hard.  The word "might" does have connotations of strength and power.  I would offer the counter point that someone can work hard at something and not be effective or be working efficiently.  Let's look at "might" in the context of the two quotes in the title and use it in reference to focus.  "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it will all your focus."  Now what is it implying?  It's not a far stretch then to say the quote, "Wherever you are, be all there."

I hope this article has inspired you to take inventory of the "apps" in your life that are open and running and to make an effort to "work with all your focus" and "be all there" with your family, friends, and work.

Resist the collective conscious to "be busy".  Be productive, work efficiently and effectively and just "be".


It's not going to look how we think it should

I struggled for a bit thinking about what to name this post and am now laughing as I look at the title, because, this was a lesson I thought I had learned through the journey of my kidney failure, dialysis, and transplant. For those who haven't heard that story, a bit of background...I went into kidney failure when I was 18, started dialysis when I was 19, and had a transplant 5 years later. The 5 years between dialysis and transplant surgery was where the learning occured (or rather the first level of it)  Because my sister had offered twice to give me a kidney and both times hadn't been able to follow through on that offer, I naively assumed that God was going to restore my health or heal me another way.  So, I did everything that the Bible said to prove to Him that I had faith that He could work a miracle in my life. And wouldn't that be such a great testimony?? Well, after three years of no signs of that happening, I had had enough and told Him so in no uncertain terms.  "What's the deal GOD? I trust you, I don't understand!"  His reply, "You trust me to do it your way."  Ouch!!  I hadn't done well with surgery.  The offer from my sister had been tabled twice.  What else was there??  The Bible clearly states that "My ways are not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts."  I was a living example of that, and by my holding on to my concept of what my healing should look like, I realized I was wanting what would be the easiest, least traumatic experience for me.  So, I submitted to my healing to GOD and HIS timeline and it came about much quicker and more profound that I could have arranged it.  Within two weeks, my sister came back a third time to offer and this time it didn't get tabled.  We went through the tissue typing to determine how good a match it would be and the test came back showing a perfect match.  The operation was successful and we both are doing well.  The remarkable part of the story is that my sister had believed her entire life that she was adopted.  Letting God be in charge of what my healing looked like allowed HIM to show my sister with incontrovertible truth that that was impossible.  The other cool part is that I was able to get off all anti-rejection and anti-imflammatory drugs after 10 years!! (At 6 months, I got permission from my doctor to start reducing the amount I took.)  So, I learned a valuable lesson about trusting GOD to work in HIS timing for HIS purposes.

I'd like to say that I haven't struggled with letting GOD continue to work that way in my life, but alas I'm human and that isn't so.  In the case of the transplant, I did, but I've recently realized that I still tend to have a picture of what something should look like when I have an idea for something. 

If you've been reading my posts, you'll remember that when I exited teaching last year, the only job or direction that I had an ok to follow was a food truck.  The food truck revolution is big here in Lafayette, and I was so excited because there isn't one that offers gluten free food, and wouldn't it be so cool to have a food truck that sold something unique??!!  So, I began knocking on doors, asking people for help in looking for one, following up on leads given to me.  Excited at the prospect and the adventure and always coming short.  Every lead turned into a dead end.  Well, because I already had a product, I kept on baking and selling when I could, giving away lots of biscotti and gluten free cakes and brownies.

Sometime in midspring, I heard an interview by Jon Bon Jovi during which he talked about his wife's restaurant "Soul Kitchen" in New Jersey.  I remembered hearing it before and got excited.  Lafayette needs one of these, I thought to myself and off I went researching, talking about it, looking at logistics, inviting friends to be a part of it.  In my mind, I'd start with a Saturday brunch and then expand as word spread and suppport came in.  If you don't know about Soul Kitchen, look it up, it's truly inspirational.  In a nutshell, there is a suggested donation for the meal, if a customer can pay it, good, if someone can pay more, even better since it helps cover the cost of another's meal.  If a patron can't pay, there are volunteer opportunities in the restaurant that they can do to earn a voucher.  Wow.. brilliant.  I even e:mailed them to ask for advice or any tips they could offer.  They wrote back!! Immediately!!  Their consensus was that I was wise to start small and let the customer support drive the expansion.

The next cool thing happened on my way home from the gym.  I saw a friend of mine who managed a club going into said club. "What?!?!" I said to myself. "What's he doing at 7:30 in the morning?"  I wheeled over to ask him and he proceeded to say he was coming in to work on the computer and see if he could find a partner who could get some sort of food operation together.  I looked at him dumbstruck and proceeded to tell him my idea for a kitchen in Lafayette based on the Soul Kitchen model.  He returned the dumbfounded look.  So, we started talking and making plans.  I'm still looking for a food truck mind you, but a food truck needs a kitchen and this seemed like a workable plan.  But it was not to be.  A couple of weeks later he ended up moving to NO and I had reached another dead end.

Meanwhile, I was playing a musical at Cite Des Arts, and I mentioned the idea to my drummer friend, Charles who said, "You know some mutual friends have been hosting Saturday breakfasts for a couple of years for the homeless people of Lafayette."  "What?!?!"  How did I not know this?  I knew that they had tried to do it on occasion, I didn't realize it was a weekly thing.  I had to investigate.  So, I woke up one Saturday morning and went to meet them.  And I started talking to them about my idea.  I already had permission to use the kitchen at church, and wouldn't it be cool to have an enclosed space with tables where they could sit down and eat.  They were receptive to the idea of a brunch.  They were not so keen on the idea of moving the location.  At first, I did not understand that at all!

I continued to go out though, bringing a dish or biscotti to supplement what was being offered.  In doing that I started developing relationships with the people who were coming out to help serve the breakfast and those who were enjoying the hot meal on a Saturday morning.  Meanwhile, I'm still baking the biscotti, still talking to my friend, Guy, in Nashville, about business development plans, and although I had kind of accepted the fact that I wasn't going to have a food truck, there was still a part of me that wanted one.

Sometime in July, the couple started talking about serving food every day.  That was a cool idea.  I was away for a week and when I came back, I showed up on a Monday with some Rice Krispies, per one of the guys requests.  Nobody came with breakfast.  Hmmm??  What happened?  Saturday rolled around again, and I went to the parking lot where they set up breakfast.  When the crowd thinned out again, I asked what happened to the weekday breakfast idea.  "It got hectic and we couldn't manage it." was the gist of the reply.  The conversation went on to discuss the idea of area churches getting involved to sponsor a day or a week and I reiterated how I had access to the church kitchen which was 4 blocks away and was sure that we would be able to take over Tuesdays and Thursdays.  We parted ways and I went back to baking biscotti and selling at the farmer's market where I had lots of time to mull over the situation.

At the beginning of August, I was off to Birmingham for a business planning meeting with Guy and the long drive gave me ample time to reflect.  I had time, I loved to cook and if nobody else stepped up to take over Monday, Wednesday, and Friday breakfasts, how could I just do Tuesday and Thursday?  I decided to accept the challenge and step up to the plate (no pun intended) and take over the weekday meals and I would continue to serve it in the parking lot across from the bus station. I approached a friend about working with me in the kitchen to help prepare and clean up and she was thrilled to be a part of the process.  I met with the pastor and told him of my intent and he got me a key to the kitchen.  My friend showed up on Sunday evening with a box of food that she was donating. Monday rolled around and we prepared a meal, took it out, set up, served, packed up, and cleaned up.  Afterwards we were both overjoyed at the opportunity.  We laughed at the forgotten items.  The first day, I forgot to put the pump mechanism in the coffee urns.  That was an adventure!!  Another day, I forgot the milk.  Another day, I forgot the juice.  The guys didn't complain or get upset.  In fact, they were very appreciative and grateful and I was pleasantly relieved to find that I could laugh at my endeavors to have everything perfect and yet not succeed.  Clean up afterwards was a sweet time of fellowship in the kitchen with my friend.

Week one went by.  Week two came along, and support started coming in from different quarters.  The church offered me use of the van.  A friend offered to get supplies at Sam's. We were starting to get our rhythm and routine down to a science and we were pretty consistent about getting out to the parking lot and set up close to 7:30.  I began to realize why we were bringing the food to them.  The bus station and parking lot was where they hung out.  It was a picture of what Christ did when HE left heaven to come to earth.  He came to where we were.  WOW.  That was pretty profound and I understood why the couple hadn't wanted to make use of the offered space.  Thursday rolls around, and I'm packing up to return to the church and clean up, still thinking about how and where to get a food truck, when the realization hits me that I HAVE a food truck (I load it up with food, drive to the bus station, serve breakfast, load it back up, and return to the kitchen to clean up) and I started laughing...Yep, GOD, you did it again.  See, last year, I bought an 86 Suburban.  I bought it from a friend, because, 1.. I needed a vehicle, 2.. I had 4 dogs, one being a Great Dane, and 3.. I often hauled instruments and kids, so I needed the space.  The joke was, when I bought it, that I could load up my biscotti and drive around selling it.  That plan didn't work out, or hasn't yet.  It still might, but for now, I have a food truck that brings food out to those who might not otherwise have a chance to eat breakfast before heading off to work, or going out to look for work, or just trying to survive another day.   Once again, GOD's picture is much more comprehensive and complete than mine and I wouldn't have it any other way.