Find a tree and put it in your house

November First. First November, then December! Today, is el Dia de los Muertos for Latin America--the Day of the Dead, literally--a day to remember and honor friends and loved ones that have passed away. You can find out more information about this holy day of our Hispanic neighbors to the south here. What a mosaic world we live in.

So, Andrew and I have re-discovered a favorite family past time: Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Yep, Jane Seymour, Gerber baby extraordinaire, has found her way back to our TV screen and back into our hearts. Let me just say--although no one is quite as smokin' hot as my one and only--Sully. is. fiiiiiine. He lives with the Indians. Basically, if you've never let your imagination go with this family-friendly TV series, you're missing out. It's set in Colorado Springs in the 1800s (think General Custer, Civil War era, etc.) and Dr. Michaela Quinn is an unmarried, female physician that moves to this quaint little settlement to be the town doctor. Of course, the drama unfolds because she's a woman, she's alone, she's a high falutin Bostonian--you get the picture. In the pilot episode, she is bequeathed three children (Matthew, Colleen, and Brian) by a woman on her deathbed, and of course, Sully, the Indian outlaw, begins to notice her and romance blooms, unbeknownst to them. There's medical drama, cowboys and Indians drama, love drama--it's just great! Way better than the OC or One Tree Hill or any other mindless "drama" series today. All's I'm sayin'.

Saturday morning, we drove over to an area of Raleigh called South Park, a neighborhood rife with poverty, gang violence, prostitution, and heavy drug activity to participate in a "Love Feast", a name aptly given to this outpouring of our abundant resources--God's abundant resources--to the community there. We had hamburgers, hot dogs, cole slaw, potato salad, birthday cakes, chips, fruit, candy and more to serve up to the people who live in South Park. We took any extra winter clothes, blankets, shoes, etc. to give away to anyone who had need. We put our nerves behind us and prayed for anyone who would let us, and most were very willing to receive prayer. It was an interesting, awkward, fun, sad, uncomfortable, natural, heartbreaking, heavenly, faith-building experience, one that I hope, I pray will show up repeatedly in the timeline of my lifetime. It is the Church's responsibility to care for this poor, hurting, broken world. And we don't have to go to Africa to do it. It is my responsibility to feed, clothe, pray for the neighborhoods around me that are quite easily and readily (might I say, thankfully?) driven by, detoured around, shied away from. And in my limited, novice experience, I really believe that in these communities respect and trust come with consistency. A church cannot do a drive by at Christmas or Thanksgiving--these people are hungry and naked more than twice a year. Lord, put a burr under my saddle, that I may never feel okay not helping those who need it. Make me uncomfortable in my comfort, that I may be a laid down lover of Jesus Christ, and his little lost lambs.

Saturday evening was an entirely different scenario. It was Halloween, All Hallows Eve, (there's a connection to el Dia de los Muertos there), and Andrew and I went to a "costume optional" party at David Goodman's for mostly Summit Church people that had previously been helping out with their kids' Fall Festival type deal. So, anyway, some people were dressed up--and by dressed up I mean they wore jeans, a flannel shirt, and a cowboy hat--but Andrew and I were dressed up. In some languages, "dressed up" also translates to embarrassed, mortified, snickered at. We were Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. Never mind that Babe, in fact, was male, let's just talk about the fact that I had viking horns glued to a blue kids' headband that made the clearance of my upper half about three times wider than it is naturally. Yeah, I stabbed a guy in the jugular with one of my horns trying to get something to drink. I also had a cowbell roughly the size of my head around my neck that actually made noise--lots of it. Eventually I took it off because, let's face it--it was hard to walk and could even be heard above the din of people playing NERTS or exclaiming over the hot cider. My poor, dear, sweetie-peetie-poo-poo Andrew was wearing a waffle shirt, a flannel shirt, Carhart pants, snow boots, and a beanie--not to mention the frying pan and hatchet! He was sweating like a dog, but totally looked the part. Hey, go big or go home, right? Do it right or don't do it at all, folks.

It just so happens that I pushed pause on this creative query into my weekend happenings and spent a moment in time with a precious sister and her lovely boyfriend: Lauren and Eric. They were just a-passing through, on their way back to Clemson, but wanted to stop for a quick hello and a bit of leftover Halloween candy. It is refreshing to see familiar faces--ones so dear, at that--in my neck of the woods. What a blessing.

A tree in my house: So, my tentative plan is to get a Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, the first weekend in December. I will say that usually I would like to get a tree on Thanksgiving weekend, but we'll be out of town visiting the fam. I'm just lettin' y'all know so no one loses sleep. Don't worry.

A praise report: I am ecstatic to announce the long awaited and much prayed for engagement of Jamie Blackwell to Kent Orr!!

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