Monday, November 28, 2011

Weekend in a Nutshell


"Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable.  Be honest and transparent anyway."  -Mother Teresa






These past few months, Sergio has been my faithful, bring-me-back-to-realty husband/friend.  He has held my hand, listen to me cry, and rebuke me when I didn't want to hear it.  He pushes me to grow, and I hate to admit it, but I am extremely stubborn. 

This past weekend, Sergio made reservations for me to stay in a hotel room ALONE for two, whole nights!  What an amazing gift!  I know that I've shown my ugly side to him way too many times and he knew that I needed some time to process my emotions.  So,  he took me into downtown Nashville & left me there to do just that.

I thought that I'd get a lot of writing accomplished.  I've been working on a piece about my dad and his suicide, but realized that it was time to lay that piece of work to rest.  My heart was too consumed by wanting to understand his depression and why he did what he did.  It was not good for me and as I prayed, I felt the Lord tell me that "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."  Proverbs 4:23. 

I spent Saturday morning walking the streets of a hip area with fun boutiques.  It was so peaceful to just look around shops and to not really think of anything.  I didn't know anyone in sight and it didn't really bother me until I was walking back towards the hotel.  This is when loneliness pushed my heart towards missing Joplin.


God gave me some special friends back in Joplin that I cherish deeply.  They have walked through hardships with me & have lowered me through the roof when I could not get to Jesus.


They have cried with me, laughed with me, and have helped me become who I am today.  


And I miss them.

God had other plans for my family, and it has not been easy on my heart.  In the busyness of life, I have pushed my emotions to the side to care for others and this has taken a toll on my behavior.  "The behavior a person exhibits is an expression of the overflow of the heart." -Ginger Plowman

It is though I have tried to stand on my two feet alone, all by myself.  But, I can't.  I have fallen hard.  God does not call us out into ministry alone.  I am too weak for that.


This weekend, I have also felt the deep sadness of leaving my family.  We had to leave at a time of chaos.  Not only was it a week after the Joplin tornado, but it was also just a few days after my mom was released from ICU and of my uncle's passing.  I have felt such a guilt of not being there to help my sister take care of mom and not being able to attend his funeral.  In these past six months, I have missed my family deeply and have longed to be with them.  



God has called us to "leave our family for a short time so that others can be family for eternity." -Sister Wadsworth

My heart has been heavy for months and Sergio knew this before I realized it for myself.  I needed this past weekend in order to rest, to be still, and to remember that no matter where I am....God is still God.

"God speaks in the silence of the heart.  Listening is the beginning of prayer."  -Mother Teresa


As for me and my heart, I have found rest in Him.  There's a sense of renewal within my soul.

"I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  Psalms 91:2

For such a time as this, God has placed me here in Nashville.  I will love others as deeply and dearly as I loved back in Joplin.  I choose love, not for my sake, but for His alone. 
 
And the cool thing is....is that God is already at work here.  I have seen Him working through the kindness of my neighbors and through the church.  I can't wait to share those stories of our Jehovah Jireh! 



My getaway with the Lord this weekend was absolutely intense, humbling, & freeing.  It was necessary.  Sergio blessed with me with the perfect gift.

I couldn't have asked for anything more.  Thank you, Sergio.  I love you.




Operation Sleep Tight: Part 2


I would like to thank all of you for your sweet words of encouragement and donations for Josiah's Operation Sleep Tight Ministry!  This morning, we were able to place our first order of 6 sleeping bags!!  If I could bundle up his joy & send it your way, I would do it!  Our little man is overwhelmed with excitement!  As he clicked on the "payment" option, he said to me, "Mom, we're really doing it!".  Yes, with the help of so many, at least six people will have a brand new sleeping bag this winter! 

Our dear friend, Lisa, sent us a great deal found on Wal-Mart's website.  We are able to purchase a pack of two sleeping bags for only $40!  Everest Mummy Sleeping Bags Thank you, Lisa!

What we love about these sleeping bags is that they are lightweight and cover all the way up their back & head.   Each comes with a bag and will be easy to transport from place to place.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by phone, Facebook, or by email.

If you missed the first post, the link is Operation Sleep Tight: Part 1.


Thank you for giving to Operation Sleep Tight!  




Saturday, November 26, 2011

Operation Sleep Tight

Josiah at the Great Day of Service 2010

I write this post with a warm heart.  Our son, Josiah, is growing into a sweet, young guy with a sensitive soul that takes notice of people in need.  This past Wednesday, he and I were sitting at the school table watching the rain make mud puddles in our backyard.  After a few moments of silence, he looked up at me and asked, "Mom, what do homeless people do when it rains?"  I explained different options that they may have such as going into a building, under a bridge, or even standing underneath the awning of a building.  

Out of concern, he said, "What do they do when it is cold?"  Again, I explained a few options.  

I could tell that he was in deep thought, so I asked him what he thought he could to help anyone who was homeless. 

He replied, "Mom, I think we should give them something to sleep with, like a blanket.  I don't want them to sleep on the wet, cold ground."  


Josiah holding his baby sister, Clara

I teared up a little bit.  This is one of those times where I can not let this be a fleeting thought.  We must take it and put it into action.  

Sergio and I discussed our options that night.  The best option would be to give them sleeping bags.  We have done our research and the average cost would be $34.95 plus tax.  "Wow," I thought, "that could get expensive."

The next day, I decided to ask Josiah a few questions and discuss with him why sleeping bags would be the better option.

"Josiah, why do you want to give the homeless something to sleep on?"  I intentionally wanted to pry into his heart to see what he was thinking.  

"I want to give them something because they need it and I don't want them to be cold.  I just know it's going to snow soon." 

Wanting to know if he had a goal in mind, I asked, "How many sleeping bags would you like to hand out?"

"I don't know."  

"How about we make a goal of 10 sleeping bags."  

"But, Mom, we know more than 10 homeless people!"  He seemed rather frustrated with me.  I suspect it is because my husband has been attending every Wednesday night a church downtown that feeds the homeless a meal.  Josiah has attended quite often and seen the 70-80 people who come to worship and eat a hot meal. 

"Josiah, let's start with 10 sleeping bags and see what the Lord will do." I explained.  

He sat in silence for a few minutes.  

He sighed.  

"Ok, Mom, but can you tell God that we'll ask for more sleeping bags next month."

Josiah (left side) rock climbing in Downtown Nashville

"Let's tell him together, honey.  I am pretty sure that He already knows."  And with that we prayed.

Josiah is doing what he can to raise the money for the sleeping bags and I would like to come alongside of him and ask you all for any help you can give.  

We designated two weeks for his "Operation Sleep Tight" (as he calls it!).  Our family and some friends will be providing the meal for the homeless on December 14th.  Before the meal, we plan on driving to a few designated areas to deliver the sleeping bags.  

If you'd like to give to Josiah's ministry, please feel free to call me, Facebook me, or email me at jackie_rizo@hotmail.com.  


We will keep you informed of his progress and will post all about Operation Sleep Tight!  

Thank you all so much!








Monday, November 21, 2011

I Must Smell Awful!

Today's just not my day.  It's not a day to focus on me and my needs, but rather, it's a day that is meant for me to focus especially hard on my children.  You see, today, my children have their checkups and I never know what to expect.  Some days, they do amazingly well and I am so proud of them.  We sing songs, play, and celebrate their job well done.  And well, other days, are the opposite.  But, those days seem like a piece of cake in comparison of what I experienced today as a mommy.

Our day started off in a rush.  I woke up late, jumped into some clothes, & pulled my hair back in a somewhat stylish manner (isn't the messy look in style, ladies?!).  I dressed the kids and we run out the door to make our 8am appointment.


Once we arrived, I realized, my first mistake.  I didn't feed anyone breakfast!  Surely our appointment won't last but a few minutes and we'll grab something at the snack shop.  In my mind, it seemed like an unspoken understanding between me & my kids.  We won't have any issues, right?!

In reality, what was I thinking?!

At the check-in station, Eliah suddenly has to go to the restroom.  I rush him and the others across the hall and into the women's bathroom.  As I pull his pants down and sit him on the toliet, he seriously squirts his potty all over me.  It was like an uncontrolled water fountain!  It sprayed in my hair, onto my cardigan,  down my pants, and all over the floor.  I had never seen this much urine come out of such a little person before!


I am sure people heard my squeal from outside of the bathroom.  What in the world am I going to do now?  I got Eliah taken care of, washed our hands, and looked over at the automatic dryer.  That's it!  I'll just use that to quickly dry off my clothes & hair.  Mistake number 2.  Can you imagine the smell of heated pee?  I am totally disgusting!

This doesn't stop me.  I am not coming back for another appointment.  Let's just get this over with.

During the appointment, I'm sure the doctor probably thinks I need a shower.   And he's right if he does.  We are sitting rather closely in order to give Eliah the flu mist and I want to explain what happen, but just can't.  As soon as Eliah gets the mist, he turns his head and blows his nose onto my cardigan.  Nice.  It's not a small amount of clearness, it's like slime from that old Nickoleoden show!  I want to close my eyes and be at the beach, but it's time to venture out of the office.

We head over to the snack shop which is just around the corner of the office.  I grab the kids a healthy (yeah, right) breakfast of donuts & chocolate milk.  As we are walking out of the building.  I hear, "Eliah, please share the milk with me!"  "No, Josiah!  It's mine!" Eliah shouted back.

I pulled over the stroller, bent down, and was prepared to settle the dispute.  But, to my surprise, the PINT of chocolate milk fell straight to the floor and exploded like a volcano.  Luckily, my face was there to catch the majority of the mess.  It was in my hair, on my clothes, and all over my face.  I used Clara's blanket to soak up most of what was on my head.  I gently took away the milk and asked the kids to give me a minute.  Internally, I was crying my eyes out.

All of a sudden, some lady who had been watching this all happen, felt the need to tell me, "You have your hands full."

Really?!  I hadn't noticed.

I looked at her and gave a small smile, but was holding my tongue between my teeth.  At that moment, I could've given her a mouthful. 

Kids are finally strapped in and I walked slowly to the driver's side.  It was pouring down rain, but I didn't care.  It cooled me down and maybe it washed off my new fragrance of urine, snot, & chocolate milk.

In the van, I turn around and ask the kids to give mommy some quiet time.  There is no talking from the doctor's office to our home.  Mommy needs to put herself in time-out.

Silently, I let the tears fall down my cheeks and I pray.  I can't tell you what I prayed because I had no words.  It was more of just allowing my spirit to cry out for help.  

I am always amazed at how the Lord works in my life.  He never disappoints me. 

In the silence, I hear, "Your children are wonderfully and beautifully made.  Each were created by Me with different personalities.  I gave them to you to train, to teach, to love, and to guide them in the way they should go.  You can do this.  Do not fear.  I am with you.  Love them through their failures, as I have loved you through yours."

Sigh.
 

He's right, you know.  He always is.

So, yes, I do have my hands full.  My hands are filled with four beautiful children that were perfectly created by the Lord.  I have been given a great honor and task to train them in the way they should go and it's not always easy and I'm not perfect at it.  I trust in the truth that the joy of the Lord is my strength.  I will lean on Him to get me through and to give me wisdom, peace, and joy.   

(I will also be on my knees praying daily that my children do not get sick this winter.)


Now that I can laugh about today's events, please excuse me while I take a shower.