Louis and I are SOOOO grateful for your love and support! The candy drops and the financial support has been nothing short of AHHHHHmazing. Thank you. (In case you have missed what we are doing, check out these 2 links… Easter Fun! and Choosing Love)
Louis made it out on his first Drive-by Joy with me over the weekend. I think he was a little hesitant at first. But, now, he has a new BFF.
You see generosity and giving come more naturally to me. I love to give! But, it didn’t take Louis long to join in on the Joy Bombing of North Ave, Brookland Park Boulevard, Chamberlayne, Meadowbridge – on our way to visit one friend who just got out of the hospital and new friend who in Regional Memorial Hospital for the last few weeks. We were able to Joy Bomb some folks in the hospital parking lot, which was AWWWWESOME!
Yes, I was relegated to the back seat of the car, as the Easter Bunny had to sit up front! But, the best yet…was going through the Mechanicsville ChicFilA drive thru, where we Joy Bombed the employees! But, pulling out of the drive-thru we spotted the Dugai’s in the parking lot!!! As we drove by, the kids were saying to their parents… “Hey….there’s the Easter Bunny!!!”. Carrie asked “What color car is it?” “Red”, they responded. They quickly stopped to greet us with huge hugs! What a treat! Guess who wanted to be the Bunny???
Due to the recent rain and chilly weather, I’ve missed a couple of days. Can’t wait to get back out there. Who wants to go with me???
Last week we came up with the idea that we would do some drive-by joy instead of the drive-by shootings that have happened in our community quite a bit lately. You can read about that adventure and more here >> Easter Fun! Thanks for responding!!! You totally answered our plea! Exceeded our expectations! And WOW…are we sooo grateful! Thank you for your generous investment in our ministry and lives!!! You are the BEST friends EVER!
The Easter Bunny and a few neighborhood kids, and I toured the Northside yesterday afternoon…Southern Barton Heights, the Southern Tip of Highland Park, Brookland Park Boulevard, and parts of Battery Park. We greeted people with “Happy Easter!” while giving out candy and smiles to all we saw along the way. We even caused a small traffic jam a couple of times too. OOPS! What a blast!!!
We were greeted with joy, laughter, and smiles. Photos were taken. Fun was had. Candy given out and eaten. We stopped to treat a guy who was walking down Dove Street. He was filled with joy unspeakable. I wish I had gotten his name…knew who he was. But, we gave him joy in the form of candy, and he said “One good turn deserves another. Let me see what I might have to give you.” He presented us with a selection of rings to choose from. These are the ones we chose. His parting words were… “God bless you. Pay it forward!” And…we are. God bless you, too….new friend. God bless you, too.
Ya know, as I pause to look at the picture… to really reflect on my life. As I reflect on this picture…of one White/Caucasian hand among 3 Black/AfricanAmerican hands. I think about all the hate that’s out there. A lot of fear. But, as we approach Easter in another week, I am really reflecting on the cross. Jesus chose to LOVE when he chose to relocate from heaven to earth. He chose love when He died on that cross for our sins.
When I reflected on that picture, I realize that I chose my ring well yesterday..because I chose LOVE on my ring, and I want to choose to LOVE in my life. I really want to choose LOVE every minute of every day. Sometimes, it’s so much easier to hate….with my words, my thoughts and my actions. But, one that I know is that LOVE is a choice. And I want to choose LOVE at all times.
John 3:16-17 (NLT)
16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
Side note: Let us know if you want to join us on one of our drive-bys! Happy to have the company!
Do you ever get surprised by God? Have your found yourself expecting one thing, and then receiving so much more than you could ever ask for or imagine? That happened to me last week…in a huge way! Camp Splash was last week. Just like last year, the neighborhood kids and the youth and college age students had a terrific time of parachute games, water games, crafts and daily installments of the redemptive story of God’s creation, sin, the Savior Jesus and His bodily resurrection, and how He wants a relationship with us.
We heard the story of how we are reconciled to God through His son Jesus. But, we also experienced reconciliation with one another as we gathered and created community. God’s big surprise was the group of mama’s, caregivers and grandma’s who came to be with their children. They came the first day, Monday. I thought to myself – OK…they are coming to check this out. Not sure if they should leave their children unattended with a group of strangers. I don’t blame them. They just intently listened, watched and took it all in.
On Tuesday, they returned. And I thought – OK – this must be something. Is this God? At the end of the evening, I approached this loving group of women and asked if they might want to meet together while their kids were cared for and taught. They loudly agreed with a resounding – YES!
On Wednesday and Thursday, we met together and talked about our dreams for the community, our kids, our lives. We shared some of our history, our struggles, too. A time of prayer where we lifted our thanks and petitions to our God. By Friday, God was already answering! One person asked that we pray for joy…for peace.
On Thursday, I saw that some of the moms joined in the parachute games before we met together. By Friday, the moms were joining in the messy slime relay game – delivering non-toxic slime from one bucket to the other. Look at the HUGE smiles in these pictures. You can almost hear the giggles of joy. Thanks God for bringing a few minutes of joy and giggles through slimey games! And we know and love where everlasting joy comes from.
Starting this Thursday, we will continue to gather weekly and will start exploring THAT kind of Joy…joy unspeakable and full of glory…and that kind of Peace…peace that passes all understanding…
God-size surprises aren’t always HUGE and fancy. I am learning that God-size surprises may be small…unexpected…something that I definitely can’t take credit for. Something I never saw coming! God-size surprises are often in the everyday walk of life. He cares about and shows up in the mundane, routine, detailed parts of our lives. I love that.
Where do you see God working in your life in unexpected ways? In the routines of life?
This past Saturday, we threw our first annual Birthday Party for Jesus at All Souls Presbyterian in Barton Heights; Richmond, VA! We had a GREAT time! Jesse the Juggler wowed us all with his juggling expertise, while telling us the story of Creation and the birth of Jesus. Some of the kids got in on the juggling action as well! I think at least one of them has a future in juggling…at least we know the Isaiah has quite an arm!
The story of the Birth of Jesus was read to the kids…taken from the Bible… Luke 2:1-20.
Then, Santa showed up to celebrate Jesus’s birthday; and he even brought gifts for kids of all ages!!! After singing Happy Birthday to Jesus, we had cake, candy canes and cookies with our lemonade.
In addition, we had a chance to color…although I didn’t realize that we had been given “Multicultural” Crayons, which had no bright colors like…blue, red and green! So…after a quick run to the Family Dollar (Thanks, Lauren and Rush!!!) we were in business.
Another big hit was the guessing game! Clint was the closest (without going over!!!) with his guess of 87…when there were 89 mint patties in the jar. I hope it’s all good at home…with all that chocolate in the house! Congratulations, Clint!
We all had such a terrific time! Thanks to all who helped! You guys totally rock! Special “shout out” to All Souls Pres, Commonwealth Chapel, and WEAG. Thanks for the support! In addition…major thanks my loving and supportive hubby, Louis, and the rest of my elves…Terence, Abbie, Paul, Lauren, Rush, Bishop, Jesse, Vashti, Gloria and my sweet, sweet Mom!
What great news to know that Jesus didn’t stay a little baby. I have peace, hope and joy in knowing that He grew up, died on the cross, rose from the dead (Easter), and will come again! THAT is the Good News of Jesus Christ! Who do you know that needs to hear that part of the story this season?
Joy to the World…and Peace on Earth.