Monday, August 29, 2011

A Cord of Three Strands

I am the mother of one.  In my youth I floundered away my time.  I then put forth a great work effort. By then, I was old enough to know I did not want to start a family until I could stay at home.  I was set in that goal.  My husband and I saved and planned. Everything was perfect until two weeks before my baby was due; his company laid him off work.  All that planning and work was for not….

Now what??

There was nothing the outside world could throw at us to stop the wondrous thing God was doing in our lives.  We became parents in spite of our circumstances and we have never looked back.  Our baby fit perfectly into our lives. We became three and will forever be stronger together. 

We continue to struggle, as is the human condition, but there is still nothing the world can throw at us to stop the wondrous thing God is doing in our lives...

Because we are a cord of three.


Friday, August 19, 2011

A simple act of kindness and so much more...

As we have established, I am new here.
The site my trailer sits on has not been lived on in five years. The man that lived here before me was a gardener of some kind so there are many fruit trees, vines, and bushes that have not been tended to. I have been doing a lot of work in my little outdoor space.
My son, Joshua, and I found a ton of rocks that all matched and we created a small rock wall together. My plan was to fill in behind the wall with dirt and plant some flowers. I got ahead of myself and purchased flowers before the bed was finished. That is just how I do things. I got my eyes on pretty flowers and I had to have them. My justification, “What if they were gone when I finished preparing the bed?”
I have a neighbor who is helpful beyond measure. Her joy is to go from site to site assessing and filling needs. Joshua and I like her a great deal. She loves to garden and it did not take her long to see that I needed dirt.
She offered me a bucket of chicken poo.
I should have said no right there, but I have seen many beautiful flowers growing in the yards around the park. I was already told their secret ingredient – you guessed it! She brought me the bucket of poo and told me to fill it with water, keep it full, and soak it for a week so no seeds will grow when it is in my flowerbed.
I was quickly out of my league with this gardening adventure. In my family of origin we cannot handle smells. I am not going to go into any detail here except to say that things were getting extreme. One of my new friends with beautiful flowers rescued me from my latest gardening project. She borrowed a truck, hauled the bucket out of the back of my lot, and her poor husband dumped it in her garden.
Again, these people do not know me. I have done nothing for them in any way. Yet they are willing to implant themselves into my life. She handled the dirtiest, smelliest part of my life without hesitation…just because I needed it. Once again, I am blown away by the genuine kindness of my new friends.
There is a lot for me to learn here. I hope and pray I am paying attention and am able to keep these lessons in my heart.
I don’t want to walk away from this place unchanged.

Posts from the Trailer Park ~ Catherine

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Recycle Guy

We were sleeping soundly in our trailer when the sound of the garbage truck woke us up. Keith got up and started getting ready for work. I was dozing in that early-morning-brain-fog while listening to the sounds of garbage.
It began to dawn on me…we were allowed only one small trash can at the park and ours was chained to our trailer. Our can was completely full. As the Garbage truck went by, I extracted myself from my comfy spot, crammed my stocking feet into my flip-flops, and hurdled myself towards the garbage can. I fiddled with the lock, fiddled with the lock, it was too early…what was the combination?!? 

The garbage truck was now driving up the hill and turning onto the next street. My back was recently injured during our move, so anticipating the pain, I picked up the can and started up the hill. I was moving with the can as fast as I could go. Up, up, up the hill huffing and puffing and limping. In my pajamas, wild hair, flip-flops, and socks...I made it to the garbage truck.

Low and behold, a young Arnold Schwarzenegger type guy gave me a white toothy grin and said in a soothing accent, “I’m the recycle guy.” 

I felt my face turn red. 

I kind of giggled and said, “Oh, I’m new here.” It was the best I could do.

The walk of shame as I waddled the can back down the hill was priceless.

In my life I have not prayed much for humility because there is ample opportunity for God to adjust my pride already. 

1 Peter 5:5 Put on humility. For God resists proud ones, but He gives grace to the humble.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Posts From the Trailer Park

Warning: the post you are about to read is not written by Susan Pauling but by her slightly older and funnier sister Catherine Brison.   That’s right, we both think we are funny and are constantly at war as to who is the funniest. Susan wants me to write on her blog and has suggested that I call my stories “Posts from the Trailer Park”.  This sounds very funny to Susan but it cuts deeply into my pride.  Please understand, my family has recently undergone some very intense changes. They have included multiple job changes, the sale of our home and relocation into a mobile home park.  Not so very funny really.

I chose this location because I have a 6 year old son, Joshua, and he has had to say quite a few emotional goodbyes as of late.  We could have parked our trailer at a RV campground but it would have involved making new friends and constantly saying goodbye to them (again, not funny).  I thought that my family needed community.  I believe that I was right to make this choice and it is working out fine but both my husband and I are dealing with an unexpected shame about telling people where we live. This has surprised us both.  Joshua (being a social butterfly) keeps making friends while we are out.  He will run up to us and ask if he can tell his new friend where we live and ask if they can come over?  Keith and I just cannot bring ourselves to say where we really live…. and we know we are wrong. 

My preconceived notions about this park have been so wrong.  I expected tattooed, pierced, drug taking, idiot hoodlums.  What I got were people.  Real People.  They have greeted me with open arms and have become the immediate community I very much needed. They have more than exceeded my expectations.  But many of these people have been through rough times and they tend to throw all their “junk” out right upon meeting them.  I have been greeted by such statements as, “I used to be homeless, things get better.” And “I have been clean for years now my son still uses but my husband and I are doing good.”  “I buried my child a few years ago” and “I have custody of my daughters children, their fathers are all in jail” (most surely not humorous).  What do you do with this much pain?  They don’t have time or use for pretense.  They throw their life stories out before me, a total stranger, and they seem to dare me not to run. So far, I have not.  They have, in fact, been very kind to me. Their honesty has come with an openness and acceptance that I have found a great comfort in this time of transition.  

God works in mysterious ways.  Every day I pray that I can be His hands, feet, arms and ears to these people and for God to use me while He is working on my pride. Maybe one day I will look back on all of this and laugh-

today is not that day, but until then…

Matthew 25:40- If you have done it (or not) to the very least of my brethren you have done it (or not) to me.