A little too excited to buy a Gingerbread House kit. We never do that!!!!!!!!!
We do sometimes go to Trader Joe's in our pj's however.
Doing things we don't get to do often...like driving (on Dad's lap inside a guard gated community) and having Spa Days...
... and hiking amongst cacti.
It was not easy leaving.
The place is clean. I swear I would eat off of any sidewalk in the city and not even think twice about it. In our 8 days we saw 1 homeless man...and even he was clean. Clean shaven. Clean clothes. He was fully coherent as he accepted the granola bar I offered. I did not feel threatened or on guard in any way.
Zion's sweet friend, Lilly was telling us how her uncle used to dig through trash cans...collecting them for $. Zion responded with a knowing nod..."Yeah we have people who do that in our trash cans."
One of the unexpected challenges that has come with living in the city...the way we do...out and about...down on & around skid row often...is the amount of stress that LA's homeless epidemic has brought into Zion's life. It is not uncommon for us to see between 15-30 homeless people on any given day. In just about every neighborhood. In our neighborhood. Sometimes on our street even. And many of them are in very bad shape.
A few week-ends ago...right off the freeway exit...a block away from church... was a guy sitting in a lazy boy. He's there most days. On his torn and tattered throne. Right by Denny's. This one day...he was bleeding from his head. There was lots of blood as we passed by.
I was not prepared for the amount of trauma seeing this harsh reality of life up close and personal would be to a desert child who was thrown into it. Heck, it's traumatizing to me. Navigating who to help...who not to help...how to help...how to be okay with not helping...who to make eye contact with...who not to. Who to stop and talk with...who to demand that they step away. Much of the time I roll down my window...but many times it would be foolish...if not dangerous to do so.
As Scottsdale grew smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror...there were free flowing tears. She cried for about an hour. Then she settled down.
The Lord sent me whispers of encouragement along the way.
I remember the feeling I had as we used to ride into Palm Springs. The windmills brought with them a sense of excitement and so much hope. For Bradley too.
This time...the feeling was different as we rode past them.
It was as if Bradley and I had a quiet & settled determination to follow the Lord's lead despite all the confusion and uncertainty before us. As a matter of fact...I don't think my husband said more than a dozen words the whole car ride back to North Hollywood.
I don't know what the future holds...but I know THE ONE who holds the future.
"Pelagius told me once there is no worse death than the end of hope."-King Arthur