Everyone Should Know Love This Deeply

I didn't know I could love like this.

I think its something every human being needs to experience. Deep love like this. Life changing. My heart might burst right out of my chest if I ever have my own.


Sometimes God Changes Your Plans

Mondays are the days for the meal. The days where I meet with my grown up friends. These people show me love (their form of it) just because I show up. Calvin gives me big brother hugs and Mike and I laugh as we share sarcastic comments back and forth. Great times, at the homeless meal.

But today I just wasn't up for it. Long meetings at school, an extra hot classroom which leads to an extra stinky classroom, made me think maybe I would skip the meal today. Then I changed my mind as I got off the el, but then . . . I missed my bus, so I would have been 15 minutes late. . . so my mind shifted back to being settled with not going. My guys will be there next week. . . it was a sunny day, so there should have been plenty of volunteers. I began walking home.

Within two blocks I giggled to myself as I figured out why God let me shift back and forth in my thoughts, and miss my bus. Up ahead I saw two figures, instantly recognizable. Myhonia and Tahmyia Day were strolling along sharing a smoothie. So cute, these Day girls. So I let out my now-stereotypical 'Hey gurrrrl!' and the two Days turned around. Once they separated I got really excited because up ahead I could see Miss Myeisha, the third Day sister. The Day family refers to me as "Myeisha's Big Sister" in reference to Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Hmmmm, Myeisha is great. Of course she is walking a block ahead of her sisters. Whenever we walk somewhere in groups Myeisha is on her own, a block ahead.

Here are the three Day girls at the Franklin - - - Myhonia is doing her signature pose on the rock wall. : )

A little better view of Myeisha's face. . . I love this girl!!!

So my plans changed. Instead of spending time with the guys, I spent time with my girls. I got to sit in the shade with the Days and talk about summer plans, friendships, conflicts in their lives, how school was . . . just talking about life, and slipping in the Bible whenever I could. This is good stuff. God arranged this beautifully. If I had waited any more or less at the bus stop before deciding to walk home, I would have missed them.

God turned my frown upside down. The Father could have had me walk my mopey self home, complaining in my mind about all the bad things I think are happening to me. Instead He was abundantly graceful again and reminded me gently how in control He is, and how much more I need to continue to hand things over to Him and trust. Trust. Trust. Trust.

So when I have my sad days and I am overwhelmed with my sin, rather then overwhelmed with grace, God finds ways to remind me that He will use me despite myself. Despite the theological battles that rage in my mind, the subtle truths come through. God is good, He is in control and He loves. He loves my girls, He loves the homeless and He loves me. All things work together for the good of those who love Him. . . .and the best part? We are only able to love Him because of Him . . . so its a neat little cycle where He reminds us of His goodness and hugeness while we get blessed just by being caught up in the cycle.

Hmmmmmm, and I get to hang out with these kids, these girls. This is good stuff. I am so glad to be a part of it. . . but don't ask me on a night when I am forced to walk home with tons of bags from the weekends because the 47 bus is really late and no cabs will stop. The enemy is trying to nudge me off course, but I really pray that one day I can lift my nose off of the grindstone and say - - - I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith . . . all by His strength and His glory, in the words of my roomie's mom- P.T.L.


I Just Want to Gushhhhh Over These Girls

I just love them. I took some of the girlies out for dinner tonight. It started as a special one on one night with Donyae, but as middle school girls are social creatures, Rickyah and Aliyma joined in the festivities at Honey's Sit and Eat - my new favorite place to take the lovelies! 

Here is the night in pictures!

My girl Donyae! 

Love this pic of Rickyah! She was trying to make a completely different face and this broke out right before the camera finally took the picture . . . so glad it worked out like this!

Mmmmmm . . . . Honey's is just so gooooooood!!!!

 Aliyma Girl!!!! Always ready with a pose!!!

 Rickyah PRETENDS she doesn't like having her picture taken, but she is just so darn cute! I think she is coming out of this stage : )

I have never seen this before. Apparently ALL of the girls said that their moms taught them to do this with the silverware in restaurants. According to Donyae you need to "clean 'em up" before you use them. When I asked about it, she just kept repeating "clean 'em up". I know I am not crazy because even the waitress looked at the glasses funny. I'm not crazy. . . . 

After dinner we headed off to soccer . . . just love this candid of Rickyah running - again, she thought the camera has already gone off : )

Like I often say . . . It's pretty clear that these girls have my heart. 

Walking home . . . like the movies

Those days. Today was one of those days.  These days are when we decide that Murphy's Law is true, Tylenol doesn't even touch the headache and the clock seems to tick backwards. It started this morning - first class transition of the day. It was smooth sailing in the morning with my homeroom during the fifteen minutes where we talk about bullying and being kind and my kids humor me as I talk about things that they have heard, and ignored a million times before. Every one of us has been in middle school, so every one of us has done this to a teacher or two. Myself included. 

Anyway, the classes switch and I am shuffling homeroom 211 in the door. I keep my door locked so that kids that like to roam the hallways can't stop by for surprise visits. Well, one of the kids from 211 decided to stroll over about five minutes late. As I walked to the door, he turned away from it to play fight with a student in the hallway. Long story short, when I opened the door, he jumped as it touched the back of him and as he turned around, grabbed the door and proceeded to slam it as hard as he could back at me. I kept telling him to move out of the way, but he was set on slamming me in the face. 

So I called down to the school police officer and he took him down to the office. This led to a visit to the principal's office to talk to police, charges were filed. . . etc. etc. etc. Later in the day, another student, my 'turn-around-kid' . . . the one ever overly ambitious teacher hopes to transform . . . went back to his old ways and told me to 'get the f__ out of here.' He really is a turn around kid - my student of the month for April. Probably the only student of the month that earned a pink slip during his reign. So my morning was handcuffs leading into an early afternoon of pink slips, then of course I get on the bus home. 

I am still on the bus because although Progressive finally sent the correct information to PennDot to reinstate my car registration, PennDot told me the wrong number, so I will wait even longer to get my car back. The car I have always had valid insurance on. The car that got taken because of a PennDot and/or Progressive snafoo. So I had Progressive fax it again over my lunch break, to the correct (here's to hoping) fax number. We shall see - if all works according to plan, I should be able to drive the car again soon. 

The author of Murphy's Law would have gotten my validation today.

But this entry is not about the pouting I did all day at school, or even the grumpiness I portrayed on my ride home today. . . its about Dontay. 

Dontay Williamson. .  .is . . . the greatest. I mentioned his sister Donyae earlier in my blog- she's one of my 'kitchen' girls. I am actually taking her out tonight. . . . 

Taytay, as we like to call him, causes me to do one of three things to me every time I see him. I either smile really big and shake my head at his craziness, or I throw my head back and laugh at him. The third thing. . . now this is my favorite. When I am walking home on days like today - beautiful outside - I am guaranteed to see the mission kids as I go. Today was better then most. No one was smoking crack in my line of view at all. Peaceful. 

Back to Taytay. I love this. When I see him walking down the street, I always hear him before I see him. "MISS MEEEEEEEGAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!" And sure enough, a block away from me is a little man with a smile so big it barely fits on his little fourth grade face. Then it happens. The third of three things I do when I see him. Well, we both do it. . . .

We throw open our arms and run full speed towards each other. Straight out of an after school special. One time he even dropped his book bag off of his shoulders to gain maximum speed. When we finally meet, its a crashing-of-bodies type of hug. Today we were even saying 'like the movies - like the movies - like the movies' over and over until we crashed into each other. Then I pick the little man up and swing him around - like the movies. 

What I love best about this greeting is that it doesn't matter who is around. Some of the older boys are too cool for me and only hug or stop and talk when their friends aren't around.  Mostly I get a head nod and 'sup megan' from them. I have even gotten this from Swanney, our well known second grader down here. But never, not once, from Taytay. He is faithful, loyal and unashamed. . . for now. I'll take what I can get, because on days like this - its a mood turner for sure! 

Ohhhhhhh and one of my clients gave me flowers last night. Granted he brought them for his girlfriend but she didn't show up, so I was second string - but I'll take what I can get. They made me smile when I walked through the door either way. Enjoy!


mmmmmmm starting talking to our girls about some what is this bible stuff anyway tonight. exhausted, will probably update more tomorrow. exhausted from the little ones!

and i love this one. tyshanna girl.

and i found this old school picture of Rickyah from over three years ago. way to be trisha, documenting these kids early - its like a photo-time capsule!


Friday Night Lights

Tonight Latrice came over with Cashee and Quamie. Cash being my roommate and Quamie being the brother of my darling little Tyshanna. Latrice and Quamie are mission kids too, but I haven't seen Latrice in long time. She was one of my favs. Such a hard exterior, seemingly unapproachable, but suuuuch a sweetheart once she knows you really care. She enjoyed playing around with the photo booth and made this little video. . . here it is to share with all of you :)

on a different note. . . I just can't get over how much I love this little one -

What My Students Say About Me

Sometimes I add things on this blog other then strictly stuff about my mission girls. This is something that one of my students made for my mom. Makes me laugh. Love these kids too.


Summer Is Coming

This week has been rainy and mopey and just plain old dreary. I have waited for the bus everyday after work rather then walking the ten blocks home - mostly because I do not have an umbrella. BUT NOT TODAY!!!!!!!!

I walked home my typical route which takes me right across the mission parking lot and through the neighborhood. uhhhhhhhhh . . . I just love this walk home, especially when it is warm and sunny outside. The absolute best part of this walk home is when I walk past the mission and then see some of the kids. The greatest kids ever.

Today was another day of reality for me. As I walk through the parking lot, I look across the street and see the kids - and they see me and I hear them calling my name out across the parking lot, I get so excited and I wave and call back to them as I walk home. Then I see something that makes me realize what summer means around here.

Sitting on a parking block at the far side of the parking lot, between me and the kids- but on my side of the fence, is a guy - smoking a crack pipe. It's not even 6:00 and here he is just casually smoking his crack in the mission parking lot. There is a realization that I don't have any options. I can't drive around the neighborhood, round up all of the crack-smokers and take them far far away from the kids. I can't adopt all of them and keep them safe from seeing this. Then, that still small voice reminds me of something else.

I have power. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. This power, isn't something that means I will be able to pick up and move a mountain at my own free will, but God already knows what He is going to do with this power He has given me. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Soooooo I have confidence that there are huge things God is going to do with me, with all of us down here. I just have to look for these circumstances and be aware of whats going on around me.

So, seeing the kids, with the crack-smoking-man in the same frame of view, I think to myself - what a perfect picture of where I need to be. Those two - my kids and the man - the first, the ones I am laboring to keep from becoming the latter. So I start my walk over to the playground. There is a bar out in the one gate to get across Green Street from the mission, it is the only way to the street without going way out of the way to walk around. Well, as I walk down to the opening, I see that some of the drug-runners of the neighborhood are blocking it. So I change my mind and head back on my path home. As I turn, I see another man, doing the same thing on the steps by the parking lot. Intense. This thing completely surrounds them.

This is warfare. We are well aware of what we are doing down here. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. We know this right? So to go after the drug dealers, drug runners or crack smokers directly will not change this neighborhood. Its in need of a spiritual transformation. That is made more apparent to me everyday I live here. I just go back to my knees. I love this quote. . . love love love it. . .
"Every movement of God can be traced back to a kneeling figure." Dwight Moody
It is so true, and a simple directive about what we must do to truly change this world. Admit that we don't change it. We don't change lives. We love, we turn things over to the Lord in prayer and we wait on Him to use His hands to shape the clay into usable vessels. Just be humble and patient.

And trust.

Summer will bring many more of these outside and into eyesight.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2


These are my girls. . . .

Ok - so there are these girls in North Philadelphia that have captured my heart. I love love love them. Tonight we gave the girls these journals that we are going to use as we get deeper into the story of the Gospel and into the truth that is the Scriptures and what they REALLY say about how to live this life. . . .

So in these journals, each of the volunteers took time to write down some things, gifts, great traits that we saw in each of them. Of course, it was one of the easiest things ever since I see so much brightness and future in these girls. I just wanted to let you faithful readers of this blog an overview of these girls that I love.

This girl packs so much personality in her 15 year old self. Despite the crazy things she has been through, she is RARELY without a smile on her face. She is faithful to the group and the moment I see her, I immediately want to run and hug her.

My roomie!!! Cashee has been through the depths of things that I will never understand. She is a fighter, a survivor, and still set on knowing her God more. She is constantly asking to hear more about the Bible, about the Lord and it strengthens my own faith to watch her grow.

Smiley, smiley ChiChi! Zamati (her real name) always comes to any event with a smile on her face and it is soooo contagious! She is one tough cookie and so determined to do her best at everything. She plays softball, which I love- we play catch sometimes and I am so pumped to go to a game soon!

Sneaky. That's what I think of Donyae. She sits quietly, listens and observes. When she finally speaks her mind, everyone listens. Definitely a strong leader! Goodness, I love this girl. The volunteers often take note that if we can get Donyae excited about something, the rest of the girls will be easy. She has this effect on the group.

Kaleeia girl moved far north into almost the Northeast, but we still pick this girl up for special events and things. She is so funny and such a great time. The boys seem to be always buzzing when Kaleeia is around, but she lets them know that she is not playing around with the mess that they bring. She brings a HUGE smile to my face.

Leonie has only been in our group a couple of weeks, but no one would be able to notice this if they were visiting. She has slipped right in there with her smile and honest talk about issues. She shocks us and keeps us on our toes. She is so raw and so open and loves coming. I see so much potential for the Lord to use her in AMAZING ways. So excited!

Tesh, tesh, tesh. This girl is CRAZY! She is super busy with teaching acting classes at Freedom Theatre, but it is awesome whenever we see her. I have been to a couple of shows and this girl is tal-en-ted!!! She is bubbly and joyful and so awesome to get to know!

This one. This Myeisha girl has captured my heart. Big time. She has this hard, hard shell, but once you bust through it there is a funny, smart girl inside that just wants to be loved. She loves our one on one times where she gets my undivided attention, and for now- I am more then happy to give that to her. She is going to SOAR without a doubt. Amazing girl.

Hahaha I just laugh when I think about Myhonia. She is so sassy but such a stinkin' leader. When we had game night, she took over. The girls listen to her and the boys, well they just need to stay AWAY! haha. I really love this girl. She is Myeisha's big sister and when I see how much they love each other, it just melts my heart.

Another newbie- but what a SWEETHEART!!! I get a little bit excited when I see her face each week. She is new, but already so faithful. She shows up early just to spend time there and I love how quiet and sweet she is. Each week, she just walks right up to me and gives me a hug, before we even say anything. This girl is slowly grabbing my heart.

This is one crazy, fearless girl! When I go to see her play soccer, I laugh when I see her run right up to even the professional players that come and she does not back down. She is also simply gorgeous. She plays tough and then walks away from it with this chill little smirk on her face. No one is quite like Paige. She is just amazing!

Rickyah is one of the original mission kids. Back in the beginning when there were only a dozen or so kids coming, Rickyah was there. I have already seen her go through the stage of wearing barrettes in her hair, to being way too old for that. She has this raspy voice, which is just so cute and classically Rickyah. She is becoming such a lady - love it!

This quiet little one captures your heart quickly. She is so strong and so funny. Once you get her to talk to you without the worries of the others listening, she is just so sweet and such a riot. I just giggle when I think about her. Such a great girl!

Ohhhh this one. She moved to Delaware earlier this school year and it just broke my heart. . . but then my little gem came back. She is beyond smart, should be in gifted classes - if she went to a school that had them. So bright, sensitive, sweet and loyal. There has been a major transformation in her over the past two years. Gosh. This girl just brings joy to my life.


Insanity at 633A Beulah

You learn something new everyday. . . . CRAZY!!!!!


The Reality of What This Thing Is. . . .

I am just putting in here an email I sent out to the girls I work with in the kitchen. Last night the events of 7th and Fairmount made me refocus on more then just the hugeness of the cross, but also the hugeness of the battle that is going on down here.

Hey Girls,

So it's 1:10 in the morning and I am sitting in my room listening to a very quiet street outside. That is because just about fifteen minutes ago my corner was swarming with police cars. About 10-15 of them and an ambulance. So I know what I was getting myself into when I moved into this neighborhood. Knew it quite well. There was a loud party going on all night until about half an hour ago when I heard a round of gun shots, followed a few minutes later by another round of gunshots. My first instinct is to check on Cashee, she's fine.

So I wonder about this. I had a phenomenal time of prayer today. Amazing. Prayed really hard, really long for the neighborhood, for our kids. So I wonder if this is a reaction to that. I don't want to sound hyper-spiritual, but I don't think these things are a coincidence. The was a battle going on here today as there was prayer, and then another tonight. So Cashee lists off to me the names of five or six people she sees walking by the window and I know all of these names. I know them from the mission and through our work down here. From the Lord's work down here.

So here is what I think. I think God is impactful. I think it is not a coincidence that people have been contacting me about how they are interceding for us. Contacted me this week. Obviously we all know that God knew all of these goings-on before we did and before these people who have been offering to pray did. So I think He was putting up protections that we do not see. The shooting was literally across the street. I saw the people, the mob from my window. This is intense stuff, but immediately as I see and hear these things, I think about the bigness of our God and the greatness of His power and these verses.

1 John 4:4 b the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

Right? So - our girls. . . . Listening to the names of the people Cashee thought were at this party turned shoot out, I would not be surprised if some of our girls were there. The older of our girls.

This thing is very real and even the ones that were not there, if any of them were. . . all of our girls are on that cusp. Right there at the line where in the next year or two they will be making the choice to be the girls at these parties or not.

I've told many of you about how many baby showers I've planned and pregnancy tests I've bought. I refuse to do this anymore. God and I have made a deal about it. I'm a little kidding and mostly serious. So let's add to our prayers for these girls simply that they are not the ones going to these parties. Let's pray in faith that God is going to put an annointing on these specific girls and they WILL be different then the stereotypes.

Ok. I think my adrenaline is going away. Love you ladies. Ohhhh and pray for me as I wake up to these things often. A little stressful, but God helps me through with prayer. . . . and pray for Cash as she is starting to see more and more the divide between herself and those she grew up with. Realizing the choices she is making are taking her somewhere. And pray because she wants to start our own bible study with girls her own age. . . .not sure if i'm up for that . . . depends on the selling of the car and the lack of car payments making me able to fully quit the second job. . . .long story, lots of stuff. . . we shall see.

ok . . . love you!

Love, Meg


Gooooooood Friday!

This is a summary of today. . . .

I woke up early to go with Rachel to Temple and do some photo-shoot thing for a project of hers. I was planning on taking Donyae with us. The project has to do with lighting those of different races. Since I tend to be on the far side of the light to dark spectrum and Donyae far far away from me on that spectrum, she was the perfect candidate. But this morning at 8:30 AM on a day she had off from school, she was no where to be found. A seventh grade girl, sleeping in past 9 on a vacation day. Is anyone shocked? Not I. So I called up my girl Keyhana (the mother of the three Day girls) and she provided me one of her lovelies that she always has on hand. With three to pick from, there is always an option at that house.

After the photo-shoot I took this middle Day girl - my much loved Myeisha, out to breakfast. We stopped by A Full Plate, but apparently the amazing brunch is only available on Saturdays and Sundays. No Good Friday exceptions. Boo hiss.

Rach had given Myeisha a sour blueberry lollipop for her efforts in the project. Mind you, Myeisha is the one I will constantly mention in this blog as the one who hates having her picture taken. But in the studio, with only two other people whom she trusts? She was striking many-a-pose. Adorable.

Anyway. Let me loop back to the breakfast. A Full Plate was closed so I called a friend who recommended Honey's Sit and Eat. One of those places that all of your friends rave about and its right around the corner from your house, but you've never been. I think I have even recommended it in the past off of others recommendations. Well, I finally tried it out. On our walk there Myeisha and I came across a park. Now, I use this Northern Liberties hoity toity park for late night, walk-home-from-being-out talks with friends, so to see it in the daylight was illuminating for me.

Myeisha wanted to 'play a little'. One of the sweetest things in this ministry is when you get one of the kids alone one on one and you see them genuinely BE A KID. This girl goes home to chaos. I am just stating the generalities of the neighborhood she lives in. Crack deals outside the window often, gun shots, middle school boys and girls 'jumping' one another on the regular. . . this is the life they live. So when one of the girls with the hardest shell looks up at me and says, "I just want to play for a little bit" my heart MELTS. I have mentioned with another kid about how he hugs like he is playing catch up. When Myeisha is away from the neighborhood drama and is being a kid, playing and laughing, it is like she is playing catch up on that too.

Tying it together, tying it together, i promise. So we finally get to Honey's and there is a 15 minute wait. Myeisha is STARVING apparently, so she whips out her sour-blueberry lollipop to hold herself over. I led you through all of this because I just really wanted to show off these pictures of her while waiting at Honey's. . . .

Doesn't this one look like it could be in a magazine? (talking about the prettiness of the girl with the cool street lines in the background)

Looks SO MUCH like her Mama in this one!

"Miss Megan is my tongue blue? A little blue or dark-dark blue? Take a picture so I can see!"

So after this glorious time at breakfast, we headed to the Mission for the older-girls Easter party. I was not planning on going, just stopping by. . . but really?!?! When they are only a block away, am I really capable of sitting in my house and not spending time with them?

ChiChi's mom planned the whole thing. Went out of her way to buy party favors from Oriental Trading Company, organized crafts, took pictures then printed them out on some little photo contraption. . . .the whole nine. A great, great testimony of this starting to go beyond the kids and getting the whole community involved. Loved it. Mostly loved not being in charge and just hanging out with Doreen and talking about life and the lives of these girly girls.

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Spring Break is officially over. It was as of 3:09 this afternoon. Boo hiss to that, but such is life. The recharging was goooooooooooood.


Maundy Thursday

Jon Piper. . . . I mean, really? Does he know me? This sermon he made on Maundy Thursday in 1996 rocked. my. world. Click here to check it out.

My Best Friend

A shout out my favorite girl in the world.
My big sis.

And yes, her hair always looks better then mine.


Great Things Happen on the Way to Burritos

***note - I changed this child's name for the sake of the story. . . .

So one Saturday about a month ago I had off of work and walked over to this Guatemalan place on the corner and I saw Tyler. Now, this was not a normal Saturday. . . this Saturday marked the 6 month anniversary since Ebony passed away. Obviously, not a highlight Saturday for me. So I did what I do on days like this, and lock myself away for a minute, listen to good sermons via podcasts, weep a little in prayer and spend time with Jesus.

So around 5 or 6, I got a burrito craving. Once you have had a burrito from Pura Vida, you will understand their well-earned notoriety in 633A Beulah Place. Anyway, the craving came so I picked myself off of the couch and walked down the block. On my way, on my mopey day, I see one of the most beautiful things you can see on a walk in North Philly. My boy Tyler was standing in the middle of the block, on his way to the basketball court, just smiling. He had seen me first and was waiting for me to catch up with him. Then, right there, in the middle of Fairmount Avenue, this little man threw his arms around me and we had one of our classic Tyler-Megan hugs.

Just an update on Tyler. This is THAT kid. The kid new volunteers go home and tell their family and friends about. The one that will scare those with weak stomaches away. He will interrupt, curse out, disrespect any adult that he feels inclined to. Pure attitude, loads of anger and many many walls. Inside that shell of anger is one of the brightest kids I know. I am not just saying that to be polite or speak well for speaking well's sake. Tyler could really make it, as an engineer, a chemist, a doctor. Math and Science? Child's play to Tyler. But the attitude? The attitude is making him fail most of his classes.

Now this kid doesn't just hug you like he is glad to see you. He hugs like he is catching up on a lifetime of hugs. It comes to the point where I literally peel him off of me. But that is so hard. I just want to keep on hugging him. Keep on loving him the only way I know how. I don't know the depths of what causes him to be this angry. There is not a tool in my 'tool box' that can work on this one. Tyler makes me look up to focus on the One who can bring that healing, and knows the depths of the soul I can only guess about.

So I just hug. I try to help him catch up on however many hugs he feels like he has missed out on. And as he pulls away, he says - "I love you Megan". melt. my. heart. How can anyone claim this Saturday as a bad day when this interaction has happened? You just can't. So the six month anniversary of Ebony's death turned out to be a great day.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Then tonight I got that burrito craving again. So on my way over I saw my favorite people. Six or seven of my girls were out on Fairmount Ave, causing a ruckus. But I love ruckuses. Did I mention that there were also four or five boys mixed in there?

I laugh as I sit here and think about the scene. Almost every other adult in the world would jump across the street and walk on the opposite side of this mob. Not me. Somehow, sometime, God set it into motion that I became the woman that marches right through the middle of this
particular mob. Not only do I walk through them, but I get several hugs on my way through.

Of course I tell each of my girls that they are too good for whatever these boys are telling them. I tell them that they are so valuable. Whispers in their ears as I hug them. Reminders of things we have already spent time talking about. I pray as I walk away that somethings sticks, that God moves some little bit of their hearts or minds to protect them for now. Lord, please protect them as they are so young, too young to grasp the outcomes of these actions. Lord, please please protect them.

The idea of these girls and sex is top on my mind. I've done this urban/teen/girl ministry before. It led to planning baby showers and buying pregnancy tests. I talk to God a lot about this. I don't want to buy any more pregnancy tests or plan and more baby showers, unless its for my sister again ;) Seriously though, I have faith that these girls are different. Faith is being sure of what you hope for, and certain of what you do not see, right? So I plan on being sure and certain that Miss Megan is not planning any more baby showers. And I can have confidence in telling them its not ok. Because these are not my rules, they are God's and He certainly does not play.

ahhhhhh, these girls have totally grabbed my heart!!!

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So, I think I really like my walks to get burritos. Never has there been a dull one. Good stuff. God is good stuff.

Watching the Little One

I didn't know I could love someone this much. 

And Dave, this DOES NOT make me a stalker!  :)


Just thinking about Easter. . . .

So often I forget the greatness of God and the greatness of the sacrifice. I tell others when they come to me that guilt is a form of selfishness because you are saying that you need to carry this thing around with you because the sacrifice of Christ on the cross was not enough.

How much more so do I need to remind myself of this! I have been looking on all of my sins lately, on all of my shortcomings and I have been thinking that I am not equipped to do this ministry with these kids. I am right. I am not equipped. In my flesh, I will never be equipped. But Christ is! And this same God that was powerful enough to pay for not only my sins, but those of the entire world in one sacrifice, is the same God that lives inside of me. I have not been claiming that. Claiming that this earthly body, which is tainted with a sinful nature and bad habits, is also carrying one third of the Trinity. I am not equipped but the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world is.

So as I look toward this weekend, I think about the power of His blood. Those of you who have heard me talk about Ebony know how much she means to me. Her favorite worship song was 'Nothing But the Blood'. So I think too about her testimony in that. That she knew the great healing power of His blood and because of it, knew exactly where she was heading when her battle against cancer was lost. But was it lost? No, "to live is Christ, and to die is gain". Ebony knew the deep truth of this better then I do.

So when I look upon the cross and see this blood, and when I think upon the deep truth that Eb showed me, I realize that He is powerful. My sins are accounted for and I am able to live in freedom. Free to love as He would, free to serve without worry or guilt. Free to know that He reigns, and my sin does not.

I love Easter. Love love love it! I love that I am able to have the week off prior each year to refocus and remember who I am. A person washed in the blood. Someone who has been in the fountain that is filled with blood as that old hymn says. I listened to that hymn this morning on youtube (how great is it being a Christian in the world of podcasts and youtube?) and wanted to share it with you because it reminded me of the great work done by the blood of Christ in the life of everyone who believes.

Here is the link to the hymn

'go girl, seek happy night to happy days' w.shakespeare

The girls came over for game night. We were scheduled to begin at 7:00. . . . but preteen time that means 7:30. At 7:25 my apartment was calm and quiet. By 7:32 it was filled with 10 crazy girls and 2 adults that are either clearly naive or definitively insane. Sadly, we knew what we were getting into, so insane it is.

Trisha could not BE more excited to be part of game night. Seriously though, the table team was no match for the couch team. . . I mean c'mon now.

Imani came. She is not quite old enough to come into the 'kitchen' group, but she knocks on the door every week. She's pretty great. Sass and a half. . . love Imanigirl!

Sometimes I get them to join on on my PhotoBooth nonsense. Imani ate it up!

I mean really!?!?! How can you not just fall in love with this one? Tamiya Day! Gorgeous and sweet. . . pleeeeeaaaaassseeeee let her stay this way always.

You know when there is a spotlight to be had, Myhonia Day will be right there to fill it up. My girl took charge of the games.

Can you guess which girl likes her picture taken and which one requires stealthy moves on my part? Tyshanna and Myeisha, the dynamic duo. . . .

Paige aka 'Slush' and Tamiya. These kids have my heart.


Window Visitors

This is what happens when North Philly kids figure out which window is to your kitchen window. Ohhhh, Shariff . . . .


Spring Break with a BANG

So Spring Break has only been going on for 35 hours, but I have already spent more then half of them with mission girls. Ok, maybe I am exaggerating, but its been a large percentage so far.

Last night, I took them out on the town. We parked right under the Comcast Building. Ok, to be honest, by 'out on the town' I mean we went to TGIFridays. I mean, it was Friday after all. . . anyway, thought the view from the sunroof was pretty cool.

I have to sneak pictures of Myeisha. I love how they are learning to spend my money wisely. They agreed to order of the children's menu so there was money left for dessert :)

Once I had them warmed up, we took the chance for a photo op right outside at night- safe neighborhood though, as we took this, we were looking at the Franklin Institute and the fountain.

I planned on sleeping innnn this Saturday kickoff day of Spring Break. The girls thought differently. My phone was blowing up with text messages before 9 am. The girls stopped by before noon and we chatted in the stairwell for a moment. Also, Eggstravaganza was going on at the mission and I apparently needed to be there. So of course I schlepped myself over there for a some time with the kiddos and somehow got talked into taking them to the park afterwards.

Who knew there were boulders that look like a hiking-type national park underneath the expressway? Myeisha spotted these and insisted on a photo op. Dang, for someone who hides from the camera, she sure wants me to take a lot of pictures with my itty bitty cell camera.

The Girl, The Myth, The Legend. . . . Myeisha Day (the previous picture was her little sis Tahmyia)

My Kids - What I wake up for each day. . .

Well, what I get up so EARLY for each day. . . .

So I made it to Spring Break again!!!

So there is no greater part of being a North Philly teacher then the following two words. . . .



The dreaded PSSA tests are over and you go into work each morning wondering if you can actually make it to June AGAIN without going certifiably insane. The kids are overly stressed from the build up to, tension during and deflation after testing. And the teachers? Well we get to where it is a watching of the clock, securing the room and making it until the bell rings.

Don't get me wrong. I love my kids. And I say that this year when I have had the 'turn-around-homeroom'. We started out with bleak at best expectations, and now we get compliments. That's right, the people known for criticism and harsh standards give us compliments. My kids pulled it off. They started seventh grade as sixth graders and are almost finished looking like eight graders.

And I genuinely love them. They are actually great kids. If they manage to keep their noses clean and stay away from the tricky stuff that can so quickly pull any kid down- north philly or chester county - they each have the potential to 'be all they can be'.

So here's to my kids that I love.

I also love that I won't see them for a week.