Thursday, May 19, 2011

Smiling Steve Got a Job

When I first began visiting Taco Bell for lunch I thought it was all about putting beefy five layer burritos in my belly. Quickly I found out it wasn't about me or my belly. It was all about the homeless men and women I would meet when I pulled into the parking lot. Call me crazy but it's hard for me to ignore a human who is having a hard time. I don't give them money but I'm always willing to ask if I can buy them a taco or two.

Today as I was pulling into the parking lot I saw Steve. I got out of my truck and asked him if he was hungry. Enthusiastically and with the biggest smile you could imagine he said, "Mike, I'm not hungry. I've got a job. I've been working for almost two weeks. I'm so excited." I was so excited for Steve that I'm pretty sure I nearly pulled his arm off while I was shaking his hand.

The smile fell off Steve's face when he looked me in the eye and said, "Mike, I'm covered. You don't need to buy me a taco today but you see my friend Scott under that tree taking a nap? He hasn't eaten since last night. Would you get him something to eat?"

Steve smiled and thanked me after I said, "yes". I walked into Taco Bell and bought his friend a taco or two.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Focus On Who You Are

Owly Images

I started a food fast on Monday. Liquids only. I finished my food fast at 530 tonight. I felt like I actually learned something of value. This morning I received the text below from a friend:

"Focus on who you are Mike, a child of God, a child of the Living God. No person, no woman, no man, has the power to heal you. Jesus loves you Mike. You must open yourself up to Him in a way you never have before. You must let go of false and empty promises and take hold of true Life."

For as long as I can remember, I've determined my value based solely on what my friends, enemies and family thought of me. If they loved me, liked me or were happy with me, my life was good. My life was crap if they didn't approve of me or what I was doing.

Here is what I learned during my fast. I'm not what people think of me. Everyday I need to hang my hat on the text message my friend sent to me:

"Focus on who you are Mike, a child of God, a child of the Living God."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tell Me When

I've written many times about my homeless friend Norm on this blog and through other forms of social media. Norm is more than just one homeless man who lives in the woods. To me he represents all of the poor, the lonely and those that we have kicked to the curb. The men and women that God has asked me not to forget. Do me a favor. Tell me when I forget about Norm. When will you know that I've forgotten about Norm?

When my heart stops breaking whenever I see a homeless person.

When I don't cry while I'm listening to a song about the hungry.

When I don't stop to see if a woman in a wheelchair needs a ride during a rain storm.

When I don't ask someone on a park bench if they need something to eat.

When I hold on tight to my stuff and forget that it's not mine anyway.

When I spend more time sharing pictures of my pool instead of standing up for the poor.

When I brag about my new SUV instead of hurting for those with HIV.

When I spend more time looking at photos of stars at Cannes instead feeding men who dig out of garbage cans.

When I've decided that there is something more acute than visiting with a prostitute.

When I ignore Norm while he is knocking on my door.

When what Jesus has asked me to do becomes hazy and I become lazy, do me a favor. Tell me when I forget about Norm.

"When a needy person stands at your door, God himself stands at his side." ~Hebrew Proverb

Thank you Ronne Rock. The proverb you tweeted above was part of the inspiration behind this blog post.

The photos in this blog post were introduced to me by one of my heroes, Trey Morgan. Trey, Byron Sommardahl, Marc Tindall and others love people who live at the dump.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Small Things

One small scarf, created by the hands of people with huge hearts, can make a difference.

"It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important." - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

To make a difference some of us believe that we must do bigger than life, extremely complicated, gigantic, Steven Spielberg like productions. Once upon a time, I believed that it was my job to help and fix everyone. It didn't work and it wasn't necessary to make a difference.

"We can not do great things. We can only do little things with great love." - Mother Teresa

Traveling to another country for a mission trip is not necessary to make a difference.

Feeding hundreds is not necessary to make a difference.

Putting on a major festival or event is not necessary to make a difference.

In my opinion, keeping our brains stuck on big things may keep us from doing anything at all.

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."
- Helen Keller

A simple, hand written note or card from a friend can move a mountain of discouragement. This hand written card from John Dobbs came at just the right time in my life.

My friend Jenn Cates takes the time to check in with me via email almost everyday. Simple, short and to the point but with each email she sends I realize I have a friend that cares about me.

Two cheeseburgers in a sack don't seem like much but they make a huge difference to hungry, homeless men battling another day of of living on the street.

My daughter just moved to another state. Kiersten does a great job of sending photos of my grandson Troy.

You may take a photo today and not understand that it will make a difference in the life of someone many months or years down the road. This photo was taken by my friend Sarah. It's a photo of my son Devon. I like to look at this photo when I miss my son. Each time I see this photo it reminds me of the beautiful heart my son has for serving the less fortunate.

Do you have two arms? Hug someone. The photo below is from one of the most popular posts on this blog.

Do you have a mouth? Encourage someone. Last night I whispered, "I love you and I believe in you" in the ear of two friends who are going through a rough time.

You don't need to "go fishing" to make a difference in the life of someone you care about. My girlfriend Kristina knows that I like Swedish fish. Yesterday she bought me a bag of my favorite candy.

At the top of this post you'll see a photo of a homeless man with a scarf. My friend Elaine and her husband Jim create these scarves by hand for homeless men and women.

"I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." - Laura Ingalls Wilder

You don't need much to make a difference. In this age of fast and furious, it's still the simple, small things that mean so much.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Mother's Day That Doesn't Fit

I know several people that experience various emotions on Mother's Day. On Mother's Day and every day, they face challenges and emotions that don't fit into a neat, tidy Mother's Day box. Mother's Day greeting cards are full of smiles, warmth and love. You won't find Hallmark cards that showcase these "less than perfect" situations.

After leaving an abusive situation, young mothers and children that live on the street.

Today, children are mourning the death of their mother. A little girl who will go to bed crying, "Where is my mommy?"

Some men play the starring role of "single dad" and "single mom".

Mothers that struggle to feed their children.

Moms who mourn the choices they made days, months and years ago.

Her children have died. She lives today and everyday grieving their loss.

The mom who has made so many mistakes that her children have walked away from her destructive life.

Single moms that give everything they have for their children.

What did I miss? What doesn't fit into the neat, tidy Mother's Day box?