Saturday, September 20, 2008

A tribute to my church Grandma

Every child should feel loved and special—and the more positive influences on a child’s life, the better. One woman who made my childhood even better was Mrs. Hart, who traded her earthly dwelling for a heavenly one on Wednesday. She was 89 and had been married over 70 years!

Mrs. Hart had a way of making me, and many other kids from church, feel very special. She and Mr. Hart let us sit with them during Sunday night services and occasionally would watch us while our parents would shop for Christmas presents. Somehow, that gift of time and presence added to my sense of worth as a person and also made me look forward to going to church to be with more people who loved me. She was a loving, gentle, sweet, positive Christian woman and a Southern lady, too.

I would try to visit the Harts whenever I was back “home.” In the last couple of years, she and Mr. Hart had a sudden, drastic change when they both fell and had to leave their home and lose their independence. When I visited their new place over Christmas, I had a sweet, grown up, conversation with her as she discussed disappointment in the change of circumstances, being isolated, and dependent on others, and how she was trying to live out her beliefs to be joyful despite the circumstances. This July, my sisters and I visited her in the hospital, where she had ended up after another fall. She was her usual sweet self and we were so glad to have visited her. I didn’t know it would be the last time.

How is my life better from knowing her and from her investment in my life? My childhood was enriched by a feeling of being loved by many . . . my family and then others such as Mr. and Mrs. Hart who adopted us, made us feel special, and gave my parents a break, too.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mountains are moving!

If you have ever talked to me about my neighborhood in Norfolk, you have probably heard me complain—

--about the drug house with a constant flow of traffic, noise, criminal activity, and trash
--the frat house across the street with loud parties, trash, cars taking all of the parking spots, drugs, an unusually high number of side swiped car, one witnessed drunk driving hit & run, and other such aggravations

I’d coordinated a neighborhood watch, been in contact with our neighborhood police contact, etc. and then this past spring I added to my neighborhood to my prayer list, being reminded of 2 Chronicles 20:12, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."

After living with these situations for four years, here is what has happened in the last few months:
1) The drug dealer was put (back) in jail for a while, and has subsequently gotten a job and an apartment so he no longer lives with his relative on our street and that drug traffic is gone!!
2) The frat boys were kicked out and their house is fixed up and on the market!! No noise, parking problems, trash, and drug deals there anymore.
3) There was a school connected to our street and twice a day a bus would come by and set off our car alarm, the school created traffic for our street, and when we had tried to sell our house, a potential buyer had been turned off by the school’s presence. Well, the school district closed the school to students, so no more buses twice a day, parent traffic, etc.

I had been praying for God to work on my block and he outdid my expectations in ways I had not even imagined!!