Saturday, November 19, 2016

Grateful Hearts, Thanksgiving Blessings, and a Tearful Goodbye

Good Morning out there - It's a beautiful day. Blue skies, sunshine, and a chill in
the air. We have two baby lambs. One was born on Tuesday and the other one
was born yesterday. I walked out back this morning to see how they were doing.
I laughed when I saw them jumping around. I watched them for a little while and
then decided that I needed a cup of coffee!
The holidays are right around the corner. It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is
next Thursday. Several people from our parish have donated canned goods and dry
food items so that we could help those who are not able to purchase everything they
need to make a Thanksgiving meal for their family. This past week, those who
volunteer at the Sack Lunch Ministry, came early and/or stayed late and stocked
several large, heavy duty bags with all kinds of food; Stove Top Stuffing, cranberry
sauce, chicken broth, turkey gravy packets, fruit cocktail, canned soup, vegetables
and canned milk, etc. We found out which families needed these items, they were
contacted and they were able to pick them up yesterday after 1:00 p.m. Our sweet
Miss Rose, even made some special deliveries.
The Knights of Columbus Council #2136 donated money for us to buy turkeys for
each one of these families. Janice and her family will pick up the turkeys tomorrow
and the families who are receiving them will pick them up on Monday.
Yesterday was such a blessing. The families who received the food were so thankful
and we were all so blessed just to be part of this wonderful time of sharing. We
will give out more food bags and the turkeys on Monday. We are also fixing a big
lunch on both Monday and Tuesday for those we serve at the Sack Lunch Ministry.
There is really no way to describe the blessing of this ministry. If you drop by or
help out for just one day - it grabs you, it grabs your heart. This ministry has opened
my eyes to how much I used to take for granted. When Jim and I say grace before
our meals we thank God, we thank Him for so many things. When I lie down at night
I pray for those who have no home, no bed, no safe place to lay their head. I think
about those we serve and I wonder if they are cold. I pray for their safety. I wish I
could do so much more. There is another couple who feels the same way I do -
Janice and David, and they have hearts of gold. Yesterday a young couple
came into the church office asking for help. I think it was about 9:30 a.m. The very
kind lady who works in the parish office came into the kitchen and asked if we could
help them. She told us that they had slept at the bus station and she was going to look
for a blanket. This young couple walked in and I know that Janice and I both had the
same exact thought -
what if this was our son or our daughter, our niece or our nephew. We welcomed
them and told them to sit down and we would fix them something to eat. Miss Rose
and I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while Janice went out to visit with
them. I took them each a plate with a sandwich, some applesauce, some juice and a
bottle of water. Janice told Miss Rose and I that she was going to run home and grab
a coat for him and some shoes for her and whatever else she thought they might need.
I told them that we were serving a hot lunch from 11:00 - 1:00 p.m. I also told them
that Janice had gone to get some things for them. They were both so appreciative. I
had tears in my eyes when the young man hugged me and thanked us so sincerely.
I hugged the young lady and then they left. Janice arrived a few minutes later. She
had grabbed one of her grandson's jackets and some of his shirts. She had a pair of
sneakers for the young lady and two brand new blankets. These items were all
neatly tucked into some cloth bags with handles. We put them aside hoping that the
young couple would return. The three of us got busy preparing the lunches for the
day. About 10:45 a.m. people began to arrive. We were busy handing out lunches
when the young couple came back. They sat down and ate their lunch and I told
them to come into the kitchen when they were through. My daughter and her two
youngest daughters dropped by to leave some more stuffing, cans of cranberry
sauce, gravy mixes and mac n cheese. She stayed to help for a little bit because
we were so busy. While she served the lunches, Janice and I gave the young couple
the items she had brought from home. We also fixed a bag with some food staples
and we each received another heartfelt hug before they left. My daughter called
me later in the afternoon and told me that just helping out for a little while was
such a reality check. She was so glad she had been able to help. She made a
comment about how much the people appreciated the lunch, her heart was touched.
This next part is something we prayed would not happen and is the hardest for me
to share. Because of some issues that are totally out of our control,
the Sack Lunch Ministry will close on December 16, 2016. We pray that this is
just a temporary closure, and will only last until some safety issues and other things
are addressed but honestly, we just don't know. There are no adequate words to
describe the pain in my heart and I know in Janice's heart too.
We just found out this week. We will do everything we can to make the transition of
our closing as easy as possible for all those we serve. We are letting our devoted
volunteers and those who so generously give to this ministry aware of the closing
date. We will be giving out new socks, gloves, and bags full of toothpaste, soap,
deodorants, tooth brushes, etc. that last week. If you want to contribute items or
just come and help out - we would love to have you join us. Please pray for those
who we serve because this will be the hardest for them. Not only have they
depended on us for a noon meal, they've received a warm welcome, a smile, and
many times a listening ear.  We will also make sure to hand out information sheets
of all the services that are available, where they are located and what they provide.
I still don't know when we are going to let them know about the closing. I just know
it is going to be really hard.
I know that God has plans of His own and we will pray for His guidance.
I wrote a story last November about a young man who stopped by the Sack Lunch
Ministry. We never did see him again and I hope he made it safely back home.
Looking back I'm so glad that we were there for him that one day he needed a
lunch, and more importantly just to know that someone cared. I'll attach the link
to the story below if you would like to read it.
Blessings to you and yours - Bye for now, Sharla

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Praying and Praying and Praying Some More

Hello out there - my heart wants to burst, and tears stream down my face. I can't share
what is going on right now but I ask for you to pray. Sometimes I wish that I didn't
care so much, maybe have a heart just like the Grinch!
O my Lord, please help me, please guide me in Your ways. Please my Lord, help me
be strong and show me the way. My heart feels as if it is breaking and I need to see
Your face.

"Open the eyes of my heart, Lord - Open the eyes of my heart."

I pray for those who are hungry and those who have no home. I pray for those we serve
with families of their own. I pray for peace and understanding for those who live on the
streets. I pray for Jesus to guide me, to be His hands and feet. Amen.

I pray that you have a good night and may your tomorrow be full of sunshine and love.

Monday, November 7, 2016

My Prayer Today

Hello out there! I've been busy catching up on some book work for our family
business - it is going to take a while to get it all organized!  Eeeeek!
The 40 Days for Life fall campaign has come to an end. I always look back and reflect
after every campaign. I wrote a prayer for a post I wrote on September 30th. I would
like to share it again today. This is a prayer I need to pray each and everyday! Oh my
heart just hurts!

My prayer today is for the unborn, the innocent little babes.
My prayer today is for the little ones who are hungry and abused.
My prayer today is for the children who have to grow up to fast.
My prayer is for the teenagers who move from one foster home to the next.
My prayer is for those who live in group homes and those who have no home at all.
My prayer is that all these children, from the unborn baby in their mother's womb,
to the fully grown young ladies and young men, that they will be loved
and protected, nurtured and fed. I pray that they have shoes that fit and clothes
for all the seasons. I pray that they have a roof over their head. And not just a roof,
but an actual home where they feel safe and feel loved and special.
Dear God, please, protect all children everywhere. Amen.

Take care of yourselves and your loved ones!

Blessings to you and yours!                          Bye for now, Sharla

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Truly Seeing Jesus in Those We Serve!

Good morning out there! I have so much to share with y'all. It has been at least ten days
since my last post. My heart is so full and I have so much to say. I asked the Lord
to help me, to guide me as I write this important story today. I will begin with some
of the easier stories - the ones that just come right out. If you've read very many of
my stories you know how my life moves in many different directions - and sometimes
all in the same day. This morning my title was, "The Tire Lady." I woke up and Jim
reminded me that I had to drive to Mereta, a small rural community about fifteen to
twenty miles east of San Angelo. My mission in Mereta was to get a new tire for the
skid steer. Jim had loaded up the completely ruined old tire in the back of my truck. He
also loaded up one of our son's tires for me to take to Discount Tire in San Angelo
after I got back from Mereta. Needless to say, Jim had been called to go and do some
welding repairs today. I got ready, drank a cup of coffee, made the bed, and then
I headed out. I realized that I needed to fill up with gas so I detoured back into town
and filled up my gas tank. I will get off track a little here because putting gas in my
truck reminded me of something I wanted to tell y'all about that happened last Sunday.
Jim and I were headed to Mass in separate vehicles because I had to stay and help
with the Ministry Fair that was going on after each Mass. I told Jim that I needed to
stop and put some gas in my truck and that I would see him in a little bit. I pulled up
next to the gas pumps and saw Jim walk over to my truck. He got out his debit card
then filled up my gas tank. I opened my door and thanked him. You know, it really is
the little things that mean so much. I'm perfectly capable of filling up my own gas
tank but I was all dressed up for Mass. My sweet husband, parked his truck and
filled up my truck and then we both drove to Sacred Heart. We parked and went into
the courtyard, signed in, grabbed a prayer book and went to one of the benches and
sat down to pray the pro-life rosary. Then we went to Mass together. I will get back
on track now but that story is something that I wanted to share. I want people to see
the positive, loving, caring, devoted aspects of marriage. In today's society we don't
hear enough about how awesome marriage can be!
Back to my "Tire Lady" saga - On the way back to San Angelo - to the Discount
Tire store in San Angelo - I called Janice, the lady I write about a lot when I'm
talking about  the Sack Lunch Ministry. The story I tell her is the important part
of this whole rambling post. But before I tell you what I told her. I have to tell you
about Wednesday and Thursday to put this all in perspective.
For some reason I have felt really run down and tired during this whole 40 Days for
Life campaign. My energy level is just not what it used to be. But on a positive note -
It has been a blessing to see the faithful, devoted pro-life warriors come to the
courtyard and pray. We have some people that come almost everyday. We also have
new people who have joined our pro-life prayer vigil. All these devoted people are
such a blessing to me and more importantly to the unborn and their families. Their
voices united in prayer to speak up for the weakest among us is a powerful witness.
My friend and co-coordinator, Candi has spent countless hours in the courtyard. She
has been the one to really step in and take care of the day to day things that need to be
done. Candi shared with me how the Holy Spirit let her know that I needed additional
help. I'm so humbled and touched that she listened and so in awe when I think about
how much God loves us and knows us! I am beyond thankful because I am needed to
help with the Sack Lunch Ministry on a regular basis now.
This past Wednesday I was so tired that I was in my pajamas by 5:00 p.m. (I won't tell
you exactly what time because it was so early I'm kind of embarrassed to)
Jim came in from work and made some kind of comment like, "I see your settled in
for the night" something like that. I was curled up on the couch beneath a blanket and
drinking a hot cup of some kind of vitamin c plus extra stuff drink. I was sound asleep
by 7:30 p.m. I'm not sure what time I got up and went to bed but Jim was still
watching the World Series and I even slept through all the excitement. I kind of woke up
when I got into bed and I began to pray. I prayed for the homeless, the hungry, the
neglected, the unborn, my family - I prayed and prayed until I fell asleep. I woke up
Thursday morning and I was ready to go. I had a very busy morning and afternoon but
by 6:00 p.m. I was back in my PJs and curled up in the exact same spot on the couch
when Jim walked in - I got a look - he didn't say anything - but there was a look.
When he sat down in his rocking chair I got "the Jim lecture" about how I am wearing
myself out and I need to slow down, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah! But the lecture was in
a loving, worried about me kind of way. That night I prayed even more. Friday morning
I woke up and we went and walked about two and a half miles and then I got ready and
headed to the Sack Lunch Ministry.
NOW - FINALLY - this is the rest of my story - the most important part!
I called Janice on my way to Discount Tire and told her about something that happened
yesterday right after she and her husband left the Sack Lunch Ministry. We were all
busy getting the lunches together when a homeless man walked in at about 10:20 a.m. to
see if we were already handing out the lunches. We usually don't start handing them
out until 11:00 a.m. but if we have them ready we don't mind giving them our earlier.
This very nice and humble man is one of our regular guys. It was a little cool outside
and he asked if we had any coffee. I asked David, Janice's husband if he would please
make me a pot of coffee and he said, "Poof, you are a pot of coffee" I had to throw that
in there because David is one of a kind and we all love him - he is really great with
everyone who comes in to get a lunch. David made the coffee and one of the ladies
gave the nice and humble man a cup of coffee with sugar packets and mini moo creamer.
I walked into the kitchen and Janice and I went into the pantry to check out all of the
supplies. We found some cookies and decided to give them out. She and I discussed
the menu and supply list for the upcoming week and then they (Janice and David)
left. I walked out into the cafeteria to put the individually wrapped cookies on the
table. I saw that the man was through eating and asked if he would like some cookies.
He replied that yes, he would. While he was getting his cookies I asked if he would like
me to warm up his coffee. I went and refilled his coffee cup and grabbed some more
sugar packets and walked back to where he was sitting. I handed him his coffee and he
looked at me and said, "Where is your better half?" I was taken by surprise and I looked
at him and said, "He is doing some work at home but I will see him at the noon Mass."
The man nodded and repeated the word, Mass and then he thanked me and left.
I realized right then that Jesus, Himself was right there in our midst but I had to let it all
sink in. I kept going over it all in my head. That man doesn't know that one of the
endearments I use for Jim is, "My better half" he didn't simply ask where my husband
was? He asked "where is your better half?" I told Janice to tell David that he had made
coffee for Jesus! I thought back to my prayers and my weariness and Janice's upcoming
knee surgery and I told her that what we're doing at the Sack Lunch Ministry is what
we are supposed to be doing. I felt like God wanted us to know that He sees
our struggles and in spite of it all, we are still following the path that He has laid
out for us.  (What a gift! Why did I have to think about it? Why couldn't I see that it
was Him, really Him right at that moment? Why didn't I fall to my knees and say,
I am not worthy?)
Janice said that she keeps thinking about this hymn we sing during Mass,
"Open the eyes of my heart, Lord - Open the eyes of my heart,
I want to see You, I want to see You"
Janice and I both talked about how blessed we are by this ministry. We will both pray
that we continue to, "See Jesus in the face of those we serve."
I know that this has been a super-long post but I want to close with a verse from
another hymn we sing at Mass.
The Servant Song
Will you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant, too.
                                                                                 Bye for now, Sharla