Sunday, August 19, 2012

We Did Good on a Saturday...

Last week I experienced an incredible opportunity. Never once did I envision myself with a hammer and a nail. Nor did I ever think I would build a house for a family in need.

On August 11th, 2012 that opportunity became a reality.

We certainly couldn't do it alone. We had help - a lot of it. Thirty-five unskilled volunteer team members showed up to build for a common purpose. To celebrate my mom's 50th Birthday.

It wasn't your typical 50th birthday bash with party dresses and dancing. We (ladies and gents) got down and dirty with 5 pound tool belts carrying loads of materials needed throughout the day.

For over a year her philanthropic heart had a great desire to participate with Habitat for Humanity.
She planned, she recruited, and she made it happen.

One of the life changing moments that touched the community of volunteers was gathering together to pray over the first wall. I'm pretty sure the majority of us were thankful for sunglasses that day.

Working with a community of like-minded people creates a wisdom of crowds that is considerably
greater than any one person working alone. We were surrounded by others who were working toward the similar goal or objective which increased our motivation, support, and friendly competition to push a little bit further than we would have done on our own.

It was hot... in the hundies, just like a typical August in Fresno. But we stuck it out because of the hard working community of volunteers.

There are no words that can truly describe the day. I left feeling good, and I know the family who is receiving the house felt overly blessed. Many thanks to all who dedicated their muscles, energy, time, and friendship to make this day special. Way to go guys, we did good.

Also a BIG thank you to Silvia Flores Photography  for creating a lasting memory.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

2 Things I Learned From a Funeral

Today was a day to say goodbye and a day to celebrate the good times that were. A fellow student who attended a school I worked at, went to be with the Lord last week.

Today was his service. A beautiful one to say the least.

Every way I turned I was surrounded by a variety of demographics from all over town. It was beautiful.

As I was sitting at the service I wrote down two quotes that resonated with me:

"He loved unconditionally without criticizing, and saw beyond their circumstances".
"He celebrated the small things".

Powerful and moving all in one tiny package.

This kid really did do both of those things and for us earthly survivors it should be a motto we live by each day.

I think of Devon and how his life was cut short, yet he managed to outlive people who are in their 60's and 70's because of the way he chose to love people and how he celebrated life.

There are things in life that get the best of us whether it be a driver that cuts you off, or a clerk taking a year-and-half to scan grocery items. Devon taught me to embrace life for what it's worth. We all have needs that require special attention; drugs, anger, eating disorders, etc. Some of us just hide them better than others. Down Syndrome didn't stop him. It was the gift that kept on giving. His love was strong and courageous.

That's the lens he viewed life through.

The reality is loss is inevitable. We are given the tools of choice, to live life as better individuals and embrace the little things. No one said it's easy but Devon made it look that way.

If there was a skill he was particularly good at it was stealing people's hats. He was known as the "hat thief" to everyone who knew him. We can now say he's moved on from a hat to a crown in Heaven. Well done Devon, well done buddy.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

On a day like this...

This is a day for dirt under my fingernails, and my freshly painted pedicure.

It's the day for a hat to hide the greasy, curly, swim hair.

... and no make up, just moisturizer. Thank God for moisturizer.

Yesterday I hung out in the dry daylight and managed to get my hands dirty on the farm. There is definitely a proportionate relationship between my desire to be OCD clean and the dirt caked beneath my fingernails from a day on the farm.

There is one thing I am convinced of, and that is that the ultimate truth finds me on a farm. The dirt, hay and everything else about it gets in the cracks of my skin and messes me up but still somehow makes me miss it the next day.

Did my family or I ever think I would have a heart wrenching desire to live on a farm, or even come near living anywhere outside of a city... probably not. But on this day,  I walked around and dreamed big dreams of what I would love to have some day.

I pondered and smiled at the thought of living in a farmhouse with a wrap around porch.

Oh, and a super cool old barn tucked back in the long wheat grass.

I want acreage, just enough for my children to run free with a little time left for me to be alone. As years tick by my desire becomes stronger and I want it more.

Today was one of those days, where everything smelled so nasty it was so good, and there is so much to consume in one day, it's best to make it two.

Even though the smell was hardly worth barring, I wanted to stick around for this mama pig. I felt like she needed me.

Fresno State really knows what's going on... they are more than willing to make a farm experience a memory that can never be forgotten.

My heart was happy when I spotted a big red tractor. It reminds me of my grandpa who taught me that the color green was not accepted in our family. It's all about International Harvester baby.

Lucky me, I made it in time to experience the milking process. Let's just say, I'm glad I am not a milk drinker. Although, one day I will own one. Those suckers can bring in some mooo-lah.

These fellas my friends, were hungry... looking at me as if I should be their top of the month meal. Especially 805.

The sunset that night didn't seem real. I could either grab my camera and snap some photos or stand there and enjoy it until it's no longer.

Summer is beginning to wind down, and it's scary. Where did the time go? Weren't we just putting up Christmas lights and opening gifts? Don't run off and smell the Autumn leaves just yet. Even though it's August she's earned her due. Lets embrace it and make the most of these next few weeks.