Friday, December 29, 2006

Only in Owen County

It's funny the things you take for granted, but see them fresh and new when you return somewhere you grew up.
Only in my hometown*:

will someone send Cutco scissors back to be sharpened because they sheared their sheep with them and are rather ticked that the scissors became dull

on the official voting ballot do they put the person's nickname along with their legal name so people know the person they are voting for

the Dairy Queen resturaunt serves probably the best breakfast in town (and its sit down, take your order, leave a tip kinda thing)

Yes, I know people who have driven tractors to school- my school

The local newspaper is one of the few I have ever seen that actually publishes good things, not just who was in a car accident or the obituaries- but local kids receiving awards and during the county fair everyday a headline is the kid who has the best pig or chicken or a cute toddler licking an icecream cone

ever heard of velveeta fudge? we couldn't find velveeta so my mom used cheese whiz instead. weird stuff- but surprisingly good

a teenager's (legitimate) excuse for being late is that she was at the gas station for two hours, chatting with a friend

kids skip school and go across the street to hang out with their youth minister or watch movies or read books at the Wal Mart

kids skip school, eat lunch with friends, wave at the teachers who are also eating lunch at that establishment and not get in any trouble for it (sorry any highschoolers reading this- I know most of you are allowed to eat out for lunch, but I don't know that you can get away with it now)

the fairytale about Goldilocks is true- I remember reading the police report about a break-in:
food was missing from the refrigerator, some furniture was moved and picture frames adjusted, end of report.

people bring sheep and goats to church with them, leaving them to 'baa' and 'maa' in the back of their trucks before hauling them off to the butcher on the sabbath

I just read an article about one of the biggest, contraversial subjects happening in my hometown this past year: christmas lights. It's the responsibility of the chamber of commerce, there isn't enough funding for this annual 'project' and of course the fire department plays a major part in this. The full page article ends with : "is there anyone with a passion for Christmas lights? Is anyone willing to take on this relatively simple task?"

*** these are things which I like about my hometown, and please don't think I am encouraging students to skip school- obviously there are very few exciting things to do during school hours.

I'm sure there are more things to add to this, and I plan to.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

the devil and righteousness

I recently remembered this strange conversation that happend back in September, just before I left for Uganda:
A man who calls himself Diablo approached me as I was sitting with some friends (the kind that keep cop's heads and cruisers turning). He was high and spouting stupidity, but as I remember our conversation, I learned a lot:
He asked me if I was righteous.
I told him I would never call myself that.
He asked me if I was perfect.
He asked me if I thought I could ever be perfect.
When I told him no, he said “but Jesus is perfect, so if He lives inside of you, then you can be perfect.”
And then he went on a rampage that was mixing pieces of 'scripture' I have never read in any version of a Christian Bible.
The high man, named Diablo telling me what it means to be righteous, the irony of it all- even when he was wrong in spots.
I could have debated with the man over what he was saying, but I doubt he would have remembered any of our conversation later. So I just told him I disagreed and let him walk back to his friends.

The past three times I've flown on a airplane I've been stopped in security going out of Winnipeg. This time it was for traces of something explosive on my laptop.
"What's your name?"
"Whats your address?" Thats actually a difficult one to answer- America or Canada? in Canada- gee, I'm homeless (yeah, I'm sure that won't fly) so I give the mailing address for my work- where none of us live and our office isn't even at.
"Whats your phone number?" Again, I'm homeless and it would be pointless to have my phone number anyways because it changes about twice or three times a month.
"Whats your occupation?" I'm a missionary. So he checks my work visa to very everything.
"What do you do?" Traing people, lead mission trips, spend time with inner-city kids either in a Bible study atmosphere or on the corner where they do illegal stuff.
I guess he realized I wasn't trying to blow up anything.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Between Two Vans on Princess

For this past year I have basically ignored everything my mother and father taught me while growing up:
don't walk alone at night
don't talk to strangers
don't get in a car with a stranger (oops... I never told that story, did I? she was a 3rd grade teacher, I figured she would be trustworthy)
don't associate with drug dealers
take your vitamins (sorry- I'm just really bad at that)
ice cream doesn't count as lunch
avoid contact with gangs
don't stand in the middle of the street
wear sunblock
don't swim right after you eat
tell us when you are coming home
wear a seatbelt
don't hitch a ride with a truck driver
and lastly...
don't go down a back alley with a streetwise former homeless adult male (okay, they didn't go into all that detail, but you get the point).
I haven't been a very obedient daughter- sorry.

Yesterday, after helping pass out corn dogs and refill coffee, I had a chat with my buddy who gave me the bracelet.
Unfortunately, the 3-year-old and I were wrestling the other night and he ripped several of my bracelets.
I told my friend I was sorry that I had lost it. He assured me he would make a new one for me and invited me to walk with him towards the hospital which is near our office. I have a bus pass, and could get there 15 minutes earlier, but I took him up on it.
Just after we passed a popular soup kitchen and said hello to some friends, he says "I want to show you something" and takes me down a back alley that is sort of a parking-area.
It's daylight. There are people just around the corner.
We walk between some vans.
Keep walking further back into the alley.
Umm... not incredibly comfortable right now.

"I used to sleep there." He points to a corner, sort of a inclave/overhang which would keep rain off and diminish the wind just a bit.

And then he escorted me a little further until he stopped at a store to select a pair of winter boots.

All is well. No worries. I do trust him, but I don't even like to walk down back alley's with my boyfriend (who, by the way is more of a whimp than I am [he doesn't like to go to a nearby mall because of the gangs] I keep telling him he will be fine, but he won't listen to me). I just don't like back alleys.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

If God has Crow's Feet

Does God have wrinkles?
Are there lines or frown marks along his forehead?
Does he have those long, stretched-out dimples somewhere in his cheeks?
A droopy chin?
Does he have smile-wrinkles near his eyes?
Worry lines or scars?
Or does he have baby-soft skin and a perfect complexion?
I like the idea that God is a youth- even a little kid in appearance. Because he doesn't have to look old and wise to be older than this earth and all-powerful.
Are wrinkles a result of sin? If so, then I think our God looks like a little kid, sitting on the floor of heaven, smiling and chattering about the important earth-shattering issues. Maybe he is wearing light-up shoes. That would be cool.

Yesterday's thought that stuck with me was the service/ministry of standing. It's not profound. It doesn't look 'Christiany' and nobody even notices you are doing it. I love it! (well, some people might know now, because I'm writing it. I guess I'm jipping myself of a back massage in heaven or some decorations on a crown, oh well.)

"Are you going to be in Winnipeg for long?" I ask the person sitting next to me on the plane.
"Yeah. 10 days."
10? I was thinking weeks or months when I said 'long'.

A smiley girl/woman bounced up to me an told me she had a Christmas card for me.
" You look beautiful." I told her. It wasn't a compliment so much as a blunt statement that lept from my mouth; usually she looks like she is dying.
"It's been 9 days!" She announced and then accepted the congradulatory hugs given immediately by anyone in hearing range.

So I stood with her at the bus stop. We chatted, we laughed, we waited.
She thought it was weak of her to want someone to stand with her; hold her accountable, tell her 'no' when she was walking into temptation or trouble (not that those are different things). I think it was brave. She waved good-bye and got on the bus.
I love the boring stories in real life. The ones that don't have something interesting. The forks in the road that become a one-way.
She got on the bus. End of story.
Day 10.
Sometimes 10 is a long time.