Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Meeting the homeless

On Saturday we met some people that serve with Kingdom Causes. They have an amazing homeless ministry. We found out that on Tuesdays they make up bag lunches and go out into the streets and pass them out. Their mission isn't how many bags of lunches they can pass out but developing a one on one relationship with the people on the street. Since we are on a break from Life Group we decided to check it out.

We met at their resource center and started making the bag lunches. Rene made up 18 sandwiches and I filled the bags with water, apples, and cookies. The boys played with the ping pong table. While we were making up the bags, a few people came in looking for food, so we handed out bags to them.

We broke up into groups and we were blessed to have Heidi as our guide.

Our first spot was by Hardtimes (next door from where Sturdy Furniture was) and we met two people, Ernie and Keira. Ernie has been on the streets a long time. I'm not sure how long Keira has been on the streets. They were both really nice and made sure that we took a bag over to Jimbo who was around the corner.

Jimbo wasn't feeling well. He wanted to go to the hospital later tonight. He wasn't in the mood to talk so we left him a lunch. Heidi told us later that he is suffering from congestive heart failure.

We drove over to another part of Bellflower and met up with a group of homeless. Heidi knows most of them and we hung out and talked for a little bit. A man named Stevey was amusing the boys with all his jokes. Matthew wants to bring his joke book next time to share. I noticed one woman who was very sunburned. I'm going to try and remember to get some sunblock for her next time.

With two bags left we headed over to a bar called Stagger. We found a van filled with stuff but the man wasn't there. He was a friend of Heidi's so we left a bag in his van.

Heidi wanted to look for her friend Cooksie and give him our last bag. He usually hangs out by the dumpster near the bar. We go over there and don't see him.

We start to drive away when we notice candles on the ground and signs taped up.

Heidi and I get out of the car to take a look. That's when we notice the signs were in memory of Cooksie.

Kenny came out and told us that he found Cooksie's body on Sunday. He was really upset. Cooksie was a very caring man that everyone liked. Kenny was upset because he didn't know how to look for Cooksie's son. Just by watching their reactions, you could tell that Cooksie was an amazing man. I wish I could have met him.

They will be having a memorial for Cooksie tomorrow night from 4:00 - 7:00 by the dumpster.

What a way to end the evening.

Backpack Giveaway

I just received a call from Michelle letting me know that the Long Beach Rescue Mission and Kingdom Causes are teaming up to do a backpack giveaway. Their goal is to provide over 3,200 children with backpacks filled with school supplies. Michelle and I are gathering up supplies and Rene and I will take it down to them. If you would like to help, let me know. Here is a link to their website:

Here is a list of supplies they need for each backpack:
2 Packets of college rule notebook paper
Three-ring binder
Box of No. 2 pencils
Box of blue or black pens
2 Red pens
Large eraser
Pencil case
2 Spiral one-subject notebook
Subject dividers
Covered pencil sharpener

If you would like to help, let me know and we can arrange a time to meet up. I just sent an email to the Rescue Mission to find out when they need the stuff. Now is a great time to purchase some of these items. Staples, Office Depot, Office Max, Target, and Walmart all have sales right now. Most of these items are under $1.00.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Old Town San Diego

After Tijuana, we took the Trolley up to Old Town for some yummy Mexican food. Are you wondering why we didn't just eat Mexican food while we were in Mexico? Because every time we go to San Diego we always eat at Old Town and have our picture taken in front of the fountain. We didn't want to break tradition.


After the Comic Con we decided to hop on the Trolley and visit our friends to the south. The boys were so excited. They kept saying that they couldn't believe they were going to Mexico.

Matthew and Justin excited about going to Mexico!

Here we are crossing the border.

We walked around for a little bit. We didn't buy much, just a bracelet for me and a new bag to hold our sand toys.

While we were crossing the border I asked Rene if he thought that Mexico had any Taco Bells. In case you wanted to know, here is the answer:

I love this picture of Rene and Justin. And no, we did not go there to buy Viagra or fireworks!

Comic Con 2008

After Serve Day we went down to San Diego. It was nice to get away with my family. Even though it was only for one night it was just what we needed. The kids swam in the pool for a little bit and than we drove around to look for dessert. The boys were so excited about staying in a hotel that they couldn't wait to get back.

We woke up the next morning and took the Trolley to the convention center. We have never been on the Trolley before. It's definitely the way to travel to Downtown, especially during Comic Con.

Comic Con was fun, I'll admit it (just don't tell Rene). The boys had fun looking at the people dressed up in costumes. Matthew and Justin got to play the new Lego Batman game. They also got to collect two new Lego figures and added new Pokemon cards to their collection. We got free comic books, posters, pins, key chains, dog tags, and tons of other neat stuff.

For those of you who aren't familiar with comic book characters, I will do my best to remember who they are.

We ran into a either a Storm or Clone Trooper....I have a hard time telling them apart. I'd ask Matthew and Justin but they are asleep.

Matthew and Justin with Iron Man.

A Jedi and Yoda; this guy can make his voice sound just like Yoda.

Indiana Jones

A black Clone/Storm trooper....I'm not sure. I just know the boys were excited to see him.

Me and Matthew with the Joker.

Even Kermit the Frog was there.

Lego Indiana Jones....very cool!

"Darth Mater"

Star Wars friends

Matthew and Justin with Chewbacca....that's not a statue but a guy in a costume. Oh, and the reason Matthew's smile is fake here is because he was mad at me.

Matthew and Justin with some of the characters from Ben 10.

Jedis in training.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Serve Day 2008

This year for Serve Day we decided to serve the homeless. Cheryl Harrington heard of an organization called Kingdom Causes that serves breakfast every Saturday to the homeless of Bellflower. Every Saturday a group of people gather at a church in Bellflower and cook, serve, and eat with the homeless. I loved the idea of being able to spend time with them and getting to know them. Rene took the day off and joined us.

It was a great day! Cheryl organized everything and even managed to gather a whole bunch of clothes to donate. I loved watching a woman pick out a pair of tennis shoes and smile because they were her size. She sat down and put them on right there.

The homeless in Bellflower (and I'm sure in other cities) have a sense of community. They look out and care for each other. Before they ate they all gathered in a large circle and prayed.

After the prayer they sat down and we began to serve them. Matthew and Justin had fun bringing breakfast to them. Matthew was extra cautious in making sure every person had a meal. After everyone was served we were able to join them. It was nice to just sit and talk. I learned that one man had been on the streets for over four years. A woman has lived on the streets her entire life. Another man just had his car stolen and the car held everything that he owned.

I was able to speak with a couple of people from Kingdom Causes. They have a huge heart for the homeless. Not only do they serve and care for the homeless, but they build relationships with them. I hope that I get the chance to serve with them again.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The obstacle course

This morning while I was on the treadmill I asked the boys to stay inside until the gardeners left. While I'm huffing and puffing away I can hear our livingroom furniture being dragged around. I can also hear our diningroom chairs being moved. Matthew runs by me (our treadmill is in our room) with all their stuffed animals and bean bag chair. What is going on? I decided since no one is crying and they are leaving me alone I'll deal with it when I'm done.

After an hour I decided to go and check the damage when I see Justin run by me. I look in the livingroom and see this:

Our kitchen looks like this:

Our laundryroom looks like this:

And Justin is doing this:

Matthew set up an obstacle course in our house for Justin! A favorite feature in our home is that you can make a complete loop. I love when they use their imagination!

Oh, and the stuffed animals? They were the cheering section!