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Trying to follow God and draw closer to him each day. Some days I slip, some days I fall, I'm so glad He never does.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Stranger On The Bus

About a month ago my van needed some work and I was fortunate to be able to take a bus to work.  Certainly not from my home, but then we don't live in a city and we like it that way.

Now, it became clear to me that when I mentioned I would be riding the bus, others did not exactly think I was fortunate. But I was really kind of excited about it.  That doesn't make me weird, does it?

I have only taken a bus once in my life and did not even get to finish going to my destination. To prove I could really do it on my own, if needed.  I mean its not like I am the most 'street wise' person, but I'm not naive either. So there I was taking a bus from the airport in Orlando, FL to Sanford, FL.  I had never been to FL before much less Sanford and I now that I think about it, I’m not sure I had an address with me (I must of though, right?). I did have a cell phone and money however. Well, it turns out my mom had went to the airport to pick me up (not that she called, remember I had a cell phone) but did get a hold of me on the bus and drove to one of the bus stops along the way to pick me up. So much for my independence.

But, back to my story. I was able to drop off the van at the garage and walk to the bus stop. Pat gave me all sorts of good advice, don’t talk to strangers, keep your purse in front of you, and don’t sit your drink down. Clearly he has ridden on many different buses, but we won't go there.

I’m not alone though, Sondra is going with me. She takes the bus twice a week, not at 8:00 in the morning though, but she at least knows the driver and the fees and the fact that they don’t give change.  This is a good to know.

The bus arrives right on time, 8:05 and it’s packed, no seats left except for completely in the back, so in we squeeze. The man on my right is busily writing words on a napkin on top of his Spiderman lunch box. He is older, probably 50ish, with thick glasses and a hook for a hand.  No, I'm not kidding.

Pat’s words are running through my head…don’t talk to strangers.... don’t talk to strangers…. don’t talk to strangers……

Hi, I say waiting for him to respond.  He looks at me and sheepishly says hi and goes back to what he is doing. He is concentrating very hard.

As the bus starts to go, he then tells me all he has written. I tell him what a great job he is doing and he puts his head on my shoulder and says ‘I like you’. (Pat’s words are running through my head…don’t talk to strangers.)

But I think ‘what a sweet man’. Sondra looks at me and starts laughing, thinking I have gotten quite the admirer. So I tell him thank you and it’s then that I realize he has Down Syndrome.

I try to hold my tears back but my eyes are filling up. I pray a silent prayer, ‘Lord, give me strength not to break down here, in front of Sondra and strangers’.

So I quickly begin to talk and make a few jokes and again the man next to me looks at me so sweetly, his smile goes all the way across his face and he says, ‘Your very nice’ and lays his head on my shoulder and leaves it there for a minute.

Well, that does it, the tears spill over and Sondra looks at me, so I quietly say, I think he has Down Syndrome, she looks and her eyes well up, and she starts to laugh, saying ‘thanks a lot Sheila, I have make up on you know.’ I spent the rest of the time making small talk with him and a few of his friends.

Who knew?? Who knew, but God, that I would get on a bus with men and women on their way to work at Opportunities Unlimited. Who knew, but God, the only seat available would be next to a sweet man who held all the same characteristics of my sweet nephew Davon.  Who knew, but God, that this sweet reminder was what I needed.

It only took about 15 minutes to get there and I so did not want it to end. But there we were, what could I do, I couldn’t exactly hug him, so I rummage in my bag and pull out some stickers to give him. He is so happy with them. He says goodbye and I wonder if I’ll ever ride the bus again.

Well, yesterday I needed to be to work early and the only way was to ride the bus. I wonder if my friend will be there. This time I am riding solo, but I’m not scared. I get on the bus and there he is, waving and smiling at me, and there’s an empty spot right next to him. This time I notice that he is copying the words from the bus stop, so I don’t say much until the bus starts going. He quickly lays his head on my shoulder (as if to say he remembers me) and continues to smile. I ask him about work and he tells me he likes to go to work and to work with his friends. 

Not too sure what he believes or if he knows a special day is coming up; I ask him if he is going to go to church on Easter ‘oh, yes’ he says. His friend behind us yells out ‘Church, I’m not going to church and waves his hand in the air’.  (This makes me laugh a little)  While my new friend shakes his head and says ‘I’m going to church, I like going to church’. Oh, Lord, please let me not have started a fight.  But, it is quickly forgotten and we talk about the nice weather and taking walks.

I sit on the bus looking around at the men and women, some happy and carefree, others grumpy and disagreeable. Each one of them have a story. Each one was created for a reason. Not to be forgotten, lost, or looked down upon. But to be loved, encouraged and befriended; the same as me.  I’m very glad that I was able to take the bus to work and so thankful that God chose to bless me with a new friend.  My friend’s name is Bruce.

In God's Love, sheila

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What Difference Do It Make?

First let me recommend a book called 'Same Kind of Difference As Me'. 

Wow, a great book that had me doing alot of thinking.  Thinking about was I making a difference, am I doing the things I know the Lord is telling each of us to do.  I was underlining and highlighting for days. 

So then Pat brings me home from the library 'What Difference Do It Make'?  It's the follow-up.  Wasn't that thoughtful and insightful of him.  Very impressive.

I was very eager to begin reading and as I was reading through it, I was at times embarrassed, encouraged and hopeful.  It was good and I was enjoying it. 

Then, almost at the end, I read this:

'A troublesome thought formed at the edge of my mind:  was I so shallow, my do-gooding so superficial, that I could only set judging aside and help a person as long as his/her sinis didn't affect me?'

Well....there's something to think about.  CRAP (can I say that?)  UGHHH.....There's somthing poking me, prodding me, to NOT skip over that. 

Lord knows I want my heart to be right, I want to love others as he does...I want to be the women he created me to be...Lord help me, help me to see everyone through your eyes, help me to love everyone regardless of choices, decisions, and lifestyles.  Lord you know the struggle, help me to me more like you.

In God's Love, sheila

Friday, March 19, 2010

One Day Before Spring

Just realized I never shared some of our Winter Fun with ya, now that Winter has officially only one day left; I better hurry.

You see I have a good friend who wanted to take some photos of the wonderful, snow-filled ravine and waterfalls (Akron Falls). Great shots, well it would have been if she hadn’t of petered out on me the day of.  But what do you do when you’ve told four children they were going to go sledding. Well, you still go and take lots of fuzzy, out-of-focus pictures and have a great time.  And all's forgiven, plus I did get some great shots.  Well, I at least got some good shots.

This is my favorite

Now, let me tell you my husband is NOT a snow-type person. If he were to have his way, we would live in the AZ desert. I could not even imagine what that dryness would do to my skin, I usually need this time to recover from the summer sandals. But not too worry, we aren’t moving on out anyway.  I'm sure the Lord will wait until the addition is finished.

So, the first hurdle, keeping gloves on Owen’s hands. Pat stays far away from this, too stressful trying to keep five fingers straight while simultaneously pulling a glove on. The logistics of this really uses the right side of the brain so Pat wasn't really going to win anyway and has decided Owen would do just fine with a pair of mittens.  Another reason why God created Mommies...

Then when we first get there the girls take Tommy straight to the pond area only to bring he back wet and smiling. Why, why would they do that.  One or two reasons come to mind: either they don't know him as well as I do or they were trying to see how fast Tommy can get in trouble. Like that needs testing.  Thankfully, the jacket and pants were waterproof and he didn't complain, because we just got there and the fun had not even started and there was no way I was going to get Pat to come back on another day.  This is a once-a-winter event.

We went down a few times before the hike. I took Owen down once and the snow was sprinkling in our face; he did not like it, not one little bit. So then we hiked and it was beautiful, and serene. Everything was heavy with snow and the kids loved it and so did I.
After our hike we went back to sledding. Now don’t feel bad for us, we can actually afford sleds and have a couple of the blow up ones, but I’m pretty sure if we would of brought them, someone would of ended up in the creek. We were flying down that closed road with our Hefties.

So then it was back to sledding, Pat decided to take Owen to the playground. 

But then we got Pat to find his inner child and he had so much fun.

He even got Owen to go back down with him.

Sledding is exhausting!!!

But we are so glad to make these memories.

In God's Love, sheila

Monday, March 8, 2010

Life Of Moses

We had some fun times last night at KidZone. We had challenged our Youth to a Bible Trivia on the Life of Moses.

Some of my favorite quotes (from IMPACT, Youth Group):

 ‘I can’t believe I just got beat by a girl’

 ‘I’m just going to sit down, I have no idea’

 ‘Hey, that’s a trick question’

 Listing the 10 commandments, I asked if she wanted to start over, her reply, ‘No, that won’t even help.’

  'I was 1/2 right'

  ‘Is that even in the Bible?’

Our Youth were such great sports. KidZone had been learning about Moses for over six weeks and were prepared. I don’t think IMPACT knew just how prepared they were going to be but they handled it great.

It seems the win sparked some interest to go against the adults of our church. I’m still going with the kids, but I’m sure it will be much closer.

Here's a few pictures from the other night:


The fun is just beginning...

Mary scored the first point, they were on a roll

The very next round, it didn't last

They thought they knew....

At this point, they were really just trying to hit the bell first

KidZone 29 1/2
Impact 8 1/2

Studying Moses has been so rewarding and fasinating.  As the series was ending, I was feeling a little sad, the life of Moses is truly an amazing story of faith.  My favorite part is the last part, where God had Moses go to the top of Mount Nebo and look out at the land, the Promised Land.  What awe...I think of the birth of my first daughter; I knew it was going to be good (becoming a mother), but I had no idea how good it was truly going to be and I spent the entire first night awake in awe of just how perfect and awe-struck I was.  More than I even deserved. 

At this point, Moses was completely at peace with the fact that he was not going to enter, I am sure he spent hours laughing at the richness of the land, hours praising God and saying 'I had no idea it was going to be this great.' 

This week two wonderful, faithful members of our church went home to be with our Lord.  I would like to think, as they stood there, their reaction may be the same. 

In God's Love, sheila