It was a GREAT day @ Miss Marti’s House!!!

We had a WONDERFUL time today partnering with U-Turn and Commonwealth Chapel this afternoon to reach out to the kids of Southern Barton Heights!!! Over 20 kids signed up for the upcoming Saturday morning events.  Each Saturday the kids will be scooped up to be taken to U-Turn to play sports for a couple of hours.  In addition, they will be fed…both physically with a snack AND spiritually with the Word of God.

Thanks to the Commonwealth Chapel Missional Communities and to U-Turn for killer partnership!!!  You guys are the BEST!!!  May you be blessed for the sacrifice of your time and love!!! Louis and I look forward to partnering more in the future!  Even more…I’m looking to see what the Lord will do with this time!   To God be the Glory!


My Friend, Larry – A Guest Blogger

Larry at Work

Larry is a neighbor and a good friend of mine.  He’s going into the 3rd grade at Overby Sheppard Elementary School.  He and several other boys including his older brother have been reading the booklet – Rediscover the Barton Heights Community.  Larry is my first Guest Blogger, and this is what he has to say….

The history of barton

The first house built on barton was called Corner Minor Estate.

Corner Minor 6.24.2010 ~ taken by Larry

It is in my neighborhood. I moved here because we needed to go to a new school overby sheppard.

I have a lot of history of my neighborhood like the first church of my neighborhood.

Me and my friends have fun learning about the neighborhood and on Saturdays u-turn is teaching us how to play soccer .I do a lot so I try to do stuff every week because it is now summer so I have A lot of stuff on my plate. I am writing because I love to write story’s and I have a story book. I am going to put pictures on. And I love cup stacking

Larry's Great Smile

Larry > Cup Stacking

According to Rediscover the Barton Heights Community, “James Barton built a huge home for himself, in 1892, at the cornes of Roberts and Monterio Streets…..Sometime before 1926, the house was remodeled and converted into the Terrace Springs Sanitarium. Today, over one hundred years old, the building is still standing and is still in use.  It is now known as Terrace Hill Home for the Aged.”

Unfortunately, that was written in 1995.  At some point, it was abandoned and left empty.  We have many, many dreams for this house…that it will be used again for a community center, affordable housing, or a school.  We have God-sized dreams of restoration!!

Larry, Wesley and Corner Minor 6.24.2010

Happy Birthday, John Perkins!

Earlier this morning, Louis and I were meeting with a couple of friends to discuss what the Lord is doing in our hearts out of their response to my post “it’s a dangerous thing to let Jesus use your boat.” Bob Lupton.  And John M. Perkins‘ book, Beyond Charity (one of our favorites!!!) was on the table as we discussed the best way to approach sharing the Gospel, being the feet of Jesus and the on-going Urban:Suburban Challenge in doing that.

Louis has had the chance to hear John M. Perkins speak on more than one occasion.  The first being in college at Davidson, when John M. Perkins officially became Louis’ hero! I (green with envy!!!), however, have only had the opportunity to hear him through reading his books and admire his heart, passion and action!!!  I, too, can say…he’s my hero!!!

This was sent to me on FB from a new friend, Kathy Armstrong….but was found posted on Sara Groves’ FB Notes page.   Let me introduce you to John M. Perkins….on his 80th birthday!  Told through Jon Foreman, of Switchfoot and Sara Groves.

Happy Birthday, John M Perkins!!  May there be MANY, MANY more!!!

Last year Troy and I had the opportunity to meet Dr. John Perkins. He spoke for one hour, pulling from his experience as a pastor, civil rights leader, near martyr, and inspired follower of Christ. We were given a ten minute break to move from that session to the next thing, but I needed time. I wanted to go to a quiet place and grieve, to face what he had said, to process how I would respond. And I wanted to hear more – here is a near octogenarian who has lived through one of the most turbulent, dark episodes in our history, and he has clarity on life, and on our role as a people called to carry out the love of God. This week is Dr. Perkin’s 80th birthday – here is a tribute to him written by John Foreman in the Huffington Post, with a link to their new song called THE SOUND, inspired by Dr. Perkins: All of us grow old, but how many of us turn and turn and turn and turn our anger and our questions and our fears and confrontations with injustice, over to God, bent on redemption! This is what Dr. Perkins has done, and at 80 years old, he has good things to say to us. I’m listening!

The 1% Solution

Revised…6/22 – Provided the report. Click the image below to be taken to the full report.

I was invited to attend the Second Annual Family and Fatherhood Forum at the Crown Plaza on Friday, June 18 at the Crown Plaza here in Richmond sponsored by First Things First, Richmond Healthy Start, Virginia Department of Social Services, Richmond City Health District, and the Virginia Department of Health. It was a well-attended follow-up to the meeting held at the same time last year….the Friday before Father’s Day!

Click for access to the full report.

We were welcomed by Byron Marshall, CAO for Mayor Jones. Brian Gullins, Family and Fatherhood Initiative Coordinator for the Richmond City Health District, reviewed the results of a Study called the Cost and Solutions to Family Fragmentation and Father Absence in Richmond, VA.  There was a panel discussing alternatives to incarceration consisting of Michael Herring, Richmond Commonwealth Attorney, CT Woody, Sheriff – Richmond City, and Philip White, Fatherhood Program, Henrico County.

The keynote speaker, Roland Warren, President National Fatherhood Initiative, spoke about the Pillars of Culture that impacts our view of Fatherhood….Business, Entertainment/Pop Culture and Government. We were charged with finding ways to connect kids with more than their father’s wallet. Once you get to the heart, the wallet is a short reach from there.

The moral, social, economic, and spiritual costs are outstanding FOR US ALL! If you sit in the suburbs, don’t think this doesn’t impact you! If you are white and saying it’s a “black” thing…think again! If you sit in Windsor Farms, the Fan or the county, this too impacts you! Although this report was about the City itself, its impacts are far reaching. I’d dare say that it was a problem in the counties as well, or Henrico wouldn’t have Fatherhood program of its own. Family Fragmentation and Father Absence is rampant throughout the Metro Richmond area.

This report was calculated based on the work and methodology of native Richmonder Benjamin Scafidi, PhD. From the Georgia Family Councel. It states…“The link between poverty and family fragmentation has been well researched and is widely accepted. Family fragmentation and father absence has caused an increase in taxpayer cost to antipoverty programs, justice system costs (courts, police, prisons, jails) present the most likely source for redirecting funds into preventative, alternative and reentry programs as those presented in the Solutions portion of this report.”

Looking at just one aspect of the study – Percent of Non-Marital Births around Richmond City, VA Residents, the percentage hovered around 10% from 1917 with slight increases in the 50’s. Then, HUGE increases over the years until we landed at nearly 65% in 2007.

• 64% to women who are single at time of birth
• 75% of those non-marital births are to women 20 years or older (leaving 25% as teenage pregnancies)

The report goes on to say…“Based on this methodology we estimate that family fragmentation in Richmond costs taxpayers at least $205 million each year or over a billion every 5 years.” However, with slight decreases come large increases! The report also states that with just 1% reduction in family fragmentation would save US taxpayers $1.1 billion each year, bringing nearly $2million savings in Richmond each and every year.

So…how can we not think that this doesn’t deserve our attention? that SOMETHING must be done? that these statistics aren’t startling? 1% isn’t that much! We CAN do this! But, how?

The report went on to summarize the 1% Solution with action items under each of the following solutions.

• Community Mobilization
• Social Marketing
• Resource Development
• Policy Development
• Workforce Development
• Alternatives to Incarceration and Re-Entry

I hope this gets you…


and pondering…

and praying….

how can I get involved?

And…as the church….what is our role?  how and where should WE get involved?

Thankfulness!!!…and HELP!!!!!!!

In  3 Boats Sited in Southern Barton Heights, I told you the story of how the Fletcher’s and the Garza’s came through with the laptop!  I am PLEASED to say that Mario delivered it today!!!

Here it is!!!

I am just FILLED with thankfulness and gratitude to both families for helping us out!   Everett aka “the Gardna” was the first to use it!  He loves for me to find his favorite old school R&B songs for him to listen to.  Now…he is learning to do it himself.  He calls it “you-tubin'”. His first search?  Average White Band – Cloudy!  He played it over and over!  It brought joy to both of us! So now…we are in search for a set of speakers so he can hear it better!  I wish I had gotten a picture of him, but I was working!

Thankfulness!So, this is where I need some help from some teachers and parents!  What are some good sites the kids can visit to LEARN something this summer?  Ages are mostly elementary and middle school age.  Some are high school.  How can computer use be used as a reward?  What are some good “rules” to put into place (other than the obvious…no downloading, no porn, etc)? We have A LOT of kids from many families who hang here…so think about the impact of that with any advice given.  They will learn to share…if nothing else!!!

In addition…watch for a future blog where m2k’s are the authors and photographers! Just have to think of a name!  That just might have to be a contest for the kids!  Name the blog…get the first post!  hmmmm….i think that I might be on to something!!!

Building a Boat Dock

After the last couple of posts  “it’s a dangerous thing to let Jesus use your boat.” Bob Lupton and 3 Boats Sited in Southern Barton Heights, there really seems to be quite a theme recently…boats are showing up left and right!!!  We’re going to need to build a boat dock!!!

Check this out….

We have a young lady with a young baby who needs furniture for her new home in Gilpen Court and for the baby.  Charles called to tell me about her to see if we could help her out!  We agreed that he’s going to go check her out and make sure that everything is legit.

Within a matter of hours, my friend Tammy McClure calls me.  She has a whole car load of baby things…stroller, car seats, etc.  Check!  Within a matter of days, Judy Harris from church told me about bedroom furniture that needs a home.  Check!  In addition, we have a lead on some other home items that will assist her.  As we still need kitchen items/furniture, living room, baby crib, etc.  Before too long…we can check that one off the list too!  Keep that in prayer!!! Last…we have a near-by church family I feel will connect her with.

OK…then…here’s the big cruise boat coming into SBH.  Commonwealth Chapel is partnering with U-Turn.  On Saturday 6/26 we are having a cookout at Miss Marti’s House to introduce a new Saturday morning program to the kids.  Where the ComChap van will come through picking up kids ages 7-12 to hang at U-Turn….playing sports, eating/drinking a snack and receiving encouragement from the Bible.  There are 2 ComChap Missional Communities – West End and Sports MC’s that are heading this up with U-Turn.

My friend Jelani, the Director of Outreach at U-Turn, and I have been waiting patiently to get the interest and manpower behind this.  I couldn’t be more thrilled to see how people are allowing Jesus to use their boats…..

Boats called resources, time, creativity, energy, love, talents/gifts, driving, cooking, food, love, and so much more!!!

I’m excited to see whose boat Jesus uses next!!!


Last night we had a blast playing Bananagrams!!!  It was my last night alone!!!! Thankfully, Louis will be home tonight!!!  YAY!!!  We love to “play” Bananagrams…although it doesn’t hold our attention for very long.  Terence, Bishop, Deshawn and Larry kept me company on my last night alone!  Ya’ gotta love those guys!!!

Next Saturday 6.26 from 4-6 we are partnering with U-Turn and 2 (maybe 3) Commonwealth Chapel Missional Communities to throw a neighborhood cook-out for the kids 7-12 and their parents.  We are introducing a new Saturday morning program that will allow kids to go to U-Turn to play, have a snack and take a little time for the Word.  Praying that Larry, Deshawn and Bishop will go.  Terence is a little too old, but maybe he can be a Jr Leader.  We will have to see.  Please join us in prayer for this outreach!