#OperationStarfish

As I consider the holiday season at hand and all the homeless  people I would like to take a Christmas tree, a bag of food, and a new sleeping bag to, I feel the weight of this thought process… Seriously THIS keeps me up at night – sure I can make a difference for one; I get that. But I want to help them all, and can’t.

What I CAN do (beyond the few that I can go help…) is to use my WORDS. I totally believe if every person reaches out to one other person, we could make a HUGE dent and THIS holiday season could be EPIC out in the streets!!! WHY NOT?

So, here is a list of possible ideas for those of you (like me) who don’t have a lot to work with this holiday season –  *Fill up a bag with personal items for a man or woman ~ easy. Dollar store. Soap. Toothbrush/toothbrush. Socks. Hairbrush. Bandaids. Candy. Paper. Pen. (yes Dollar Stores have just about every item anyone would like to have in a bag….be creative and fun too. Spend a mere 10.00 or more if you can. Don’t let an ‘amount’ be a reason NOT to. ) *Do you bake at the holidays? Bake an extra plate of cookies for someone; an extra pie; an extra few containers of food. *Depending on where you live, depends on IF you see homeless people – Baltimore, Atlanta, New York City, LA are all big cities where there are for sure LOTS of homeless people that are hungry and cold, and you straight up go right into the streets! In smaller towns there are soup kitchens, missions where you could donate some bags of food they could cook with – or homemade treats to distribute. *If in doubt, fill a bag with socks, neck scarfs, mittens…(again, at the Dollar Store). *Buy some hot cups of coffee or hot chocolate, and a box of donuts. *Make a pot of chili and take some bowls – serve out of your car.  *Get your church involved with you – (power of multiplication!) – youth group – your kids – your local stores – take advantage of the fact that we as humans ARE basically NICE. Sometimes we don’t do something, only because we don’t know WHAT to do. *Don’t forget those in need who are NOT homeless and just need a helping hand. Take a name off an angel tree. *If you LOVE to sing/ perform – well, here’s your sign! Go sing to people who will be your BEST and most appreciative audience. *Go Christmas caroling. (free.) – and X a million other ideas you probably will think of yourself.

Yes you will feel overwhelmed to see SO many needy people. YES you will feel like WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. YES you will realize you can’t save the world.starfish story  We just need to do our small part.

So, this holiday season of 2014 – reach out to one person in need; one ‘starfish’ on the great shoreline of life. I think I shall christen this ~ OPERATION STARFISH. 🙂

#50BlocksInSkidRowLA

I watched a documentary today about Skid Row, in LA – which is literally miles from me. Hour or more in traffic, but 20 miles in actual miles. I literally cried through the whole film. More like sobbed… some of the statements from people that struck me like arrows thru the heart were as follows – ” I am addicted to the downtown life, where no one judges no one.” ( A transgender.) “I take care of her because she is a human and she deserves that.” ( a man who follows around a little hunchbacked old woman who feeds the cats from a garbage filled grocery cart.) “I just live to love on other people, even though I am in constant pain.” (A woman with tumors on every inch of her body.) “I woke up one day and asked myself how did I get here? and that day I decided to take responsibility for my life.” ( a man who used to be an Olympics winner, who fell into drugs.) “These people are my family.” ( a young woman who lives on the street.) And on and on the stories – 50 blocks worth of stories. 50 blocks in Skid Row.

A place of danger, and yet a place where people will share their only sandwich with you. I will never ever get over feeling heartbroken for the people wandering the streets (mentally ill, veterans of war, broken sons and daughters), the lost young person who can’t or won’t go home – every person who lives in those 50 blocks has a story. There is NO call for us to judge whether any these people deserve to be there – does anyone deserve to be broken? They are part of our family; the family of humanity. Most of them don’t know any other life than the streets, and would not leave if they could. Sadly this is true. The street is their home. The sidewalk is their bed. The other homeless people are their family. This is Skid Row in LA; one block over from wealth! There are just a few tall buildings separating the poor from the rich. Ironically, a broken heart looks the same whether in a rich person or a poor person…and ANYONE can become broken.

I don’t have any way to help them all. I don’t have a great elaborate plan to save them or to rescue them. Some don’t even want saved or rescued. Some absolutely DO. All I know is Jesus DID say to go into the highways and the byways. He just said to GO. I guess He hoped we would figure out what to do when we got there…..

I am thinking it would look a lot like what He said – (Matthew 25:35) “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.…” Jesus basically identified Himself with the homeless population in this verse. He thought THIS mattered most.

What can one person do? Reach out to one person. Gee, there are millions of people around – so you do the math. A million people each helping ONE person, means a million people would – get a cup of coffee, get a fresh clean blanket or sleeping bag, get a bag full of useful items such as soap/toothbrush/nail file etc.), get a wrapped Christmas gift, get a warm meal, get a case of water, and on and on and on….donate to their Mission down there by dropping off some bags of chicken or bake a few dozen cookies (or have your whole church bake cookies)…..the possibilities are endless.

What IF the people of Skid Row REALLY believed that they mattered and that someone cared enough to SHOW them that they matter? EVERY HUMAN BEING IS VALUABLE. Get involved with the homeless of YOUR city – find a church group that has an outreach or start your own – serve chili and rolls from the back of your car –  Drag a christmas tree and set it up by someone sleeping on a curb – cover a few people in new sleeping bags….we can’t change the whole world in the blink of an eye, but we CAN change one life at a time. I say, let’s aim for a cool million! A million to reach a million….why NOT????!!!!!!

#SomewhereOutThereIsSomeonesChildMotherFatherSisteBrotherFriendChildOfGod

#TheHolidaysAreComing

This is a section of Skid Row....50 blocks is the whole perimeter...:(

This is a section of Skid Row….50 blocks is the whole perimeter…:(

#365ReasonsNOTToGiveUp

I don’t know about you, but when I do something – I generally have to stand back AFTER and ask myself why I did it. It is not a bad idea ever, to examine our motives. We can deceive ourselves. After I hit the word PUBLISH for my first full-length book, I had to ask myself why I did it. It is my sharing of my heart – my real and raw and flawed moments and seasons of many years gone by. I just wrote a book and shared my grief of losing my husband to cancer. I just told you I got mad at God. I just exposed I have been tempted. I let you know I have failed X a million. Why? Because NO matter what circumstances I found myself in, I always chose NOT to give up. And if THAT helps anyone, I would do it again.

I didn’t keep at it because I had all the answers – I STILL don’t. I didn’t see my husband get healed from cancer. I couldn’t keep my house from burning down. What I learned I COULD do, was to keep moving forward. Sometimes that was crawling, or being dragged by a friend….SO why did I write this book? For a book club? To be on a talk show? No. Though that’d be awesome….of course. I wrote it for YOU. And YOU. And You…because we ALL walk this same journey called LIFE. It is filled with the unexpected and detours and pitfalls. We can’t stop that – But we CAN choose to embrace the bad with the good, and find a way for the sorrows and joys to co-exist. My book is about survival, choices, tears, grief, sorrow, failures, mistakes, detours and wrong turns – coupled with stories of friendship, family (lots of personal stories about the people who have made me who I am), love, laughter, giant moths, lost teeth, dandelion seeds, christmas fruit cakes, faith, purpose and above all else – HOPE. I’d love you to purchase it and upload it to your Kindle, and leave me a review so I can know if anyone was helped 🙂 I want you  to be encouraged on a daily basis NOT to give up. For any reason. And to know that there is ALWAYS a day AFTER the worst day of your life.

If you read it, and you are helped, pass it on to someone else…let’s all work together at bringing hope back into a very dark world.~

~Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the .free kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.  httpsCorine-Channell---BOOK-COVER

#FeetAreAnOddPlaceToShowLove

I truly hate when I hear judgmental words. I desperately try to keep my thoughts, opinions, judgments, and needless words to myself. I usually find if i was to say them, they would probably be wrong anyways, or based on something I didn’t know enough about to give my opinion in the first place. (insert deep breath….)

I will offer one example, although I could think of…well, hundreds! When you hear the words ‘Skid Row’, you instantly think what? I will say it. You think ‘drunk laying in the street’. And go a bit further, and most people would at least think to themselves, that the drunk doesn’t deserve help. He got himself there; his problem.

I call that a misplaced judgment. We don’t know all the details of his life. We have no way of understanding the deep level of pain or loss or abuse or tragedy, that drove him to the street. Oh, and even if it was a failure that took him down, still we have no right to judge. Something broke him into shattered pieces. It didn’t probably happen overnight. It was a long, dark process of a downward spiral.

So, should we judge him? No. Should we care about someone who is down and out? Yes. If we cease to care, we cease to be human. And where does humanity end up? We all make mistakes. We all fail. We all could be in someone else’s shoes, and boy ~ THEN would we ‘get it’. Maybe we didn’t end up as a drunk in the streets, because we made good choices, had a lot of love extended to us, kept our noses clean, and life was just, well – good to us. In THAT case, we need to take our full hands of love, (and clean noses) and go lift up the fallen.

I go to a church right in the heart of Hollywood called OneChurch LA ,who is taking care of homeless people on  Skid Row, on a weekly basis. I LOVE that they refer to this place as Hope Row. Everyone deserves to have the FREE gift of HOPE extended to them!  This Easter,OneChurch LA along with some other organizations, are taking extending hope and love a little further than I have ever heard before….they are going to go down there, and wash the feet of those in the streets!! I have no words for this. Most people in general do NOT like feet. No , really. Unless you are privy to get to go get pedicures on a regular basis, or blessed with rare pretty feet, most of the human race would not be thrilled with washing someone elses feet. Just sayin…..

Well, let me put it into perspective. They are going to wash the feet of those who others have forgotten their names. Maybe a bar of soap has NOT seen their feet in….weeks, or months…..For someone to come and lovingly do that, could bring some much needed dignity back to someone who feels less, and feels forgotten, and feels like trash. What an amazing gesture of humility and love. Ever heard of the actual ritual of foot-washing? (and no, not at the local spa.)

Here you go ~  “When Jesus had finished washing their feet, He put on His clothes and returned to His place. `Do you understand what I have done for you?’ He asked them…. `Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet’ ” (John 13: 12, 14)
In the days of dusty roads and open-toed sandals, feet often became dirty, and it was the job of the lowest servants to wash the guests’ feet. But Jesus set an example of service by doing this job Himself!! His actions spoke a silent message of love, that said~

NO JUDGMENT HERE.Image

#ToBeGreatYouMustServe

#FeetAreAnOddPlaceToShowLove

I truly hate when I hear judgmental words. I desperately try to keep my thoughts, opinions, judgments, and needless words to myself. I usually find if i was to say them, they would probably be wrong anyways, or based on something I didn’t know enough about to give my opinion in the first place. (insert deep breath….)

I will offer one example, although I could think of…well, hundreds! When you hear the words ‘Skid Row’, you instantly think what? I will say it. You think ‘drunk laying in the street’. And go a bit further, and most people would at least think to themselves, that the drunk doesn’t deserve help. He got himself there; his problem.

I call that a misplaced judgment. We don’t know all the details of his life. We have no way of understanding the deep level of pain or loss or abuse or tragedy, that drove him to the street. Oh, and even if it was a failure that took him down, still we have no right to judge. Something broke him into shattered pieces. It didn’t probably happen overnight. It was a long, dark process of a downward spiral.

So, should we judge him? No. Should we care about someone who is down and out? Yes. If we cease to care, we cease to be human. And where does humanity end up? We all make mistakes. We all fail. We all could be in someone else’s shoes, and boy ~ THEN would we ‘get it’. Maybe we didn’t end up as a drunk in the streets, because we made good choices, had a lot of love extended to us, kept our noses clean, and life was just, well – good to us. In THAT case, we need to take our full hands of love, (and clean noses) and go lift up the fallen.

I go to a church right in the heart of Hollywood called OneChurch LA ,who is taking care of homeless people on  Skid Row, on a weekly basis. I LOVE that they refer to this place as Hope Row. Everyone deserves to have the FREE gift of HOPE extended to them!  This Easter,OneChurch LA along with some other organizations, are taking extending hope and love a little further than I have ever heard before….they are going to go down there, and wash the feet of those in the streets!! I have no words for this. Most people in general do NOT like feet. No , really. Unless you are privy to get to go get pedicures on a regular basis, or blessed with rare pretty feet, most of the human race would not be thrilled with washing someone elses feet. Just sayin…..

Well, let me put it into perspective. They are going to wash the feet of those who others have forgotten their names. Maybe a bar of soap has NOT seen their feet in….weeks, or months…..For someone to come and lovingly do that, could bring some much needed dignity back to someone who feels less, and feels forgotten, and feels like trash. What an amazing gesture of humility and love. Ever heard of the actual ritual of foot-washing? (and no, not at the local spa.)

Here you go ~  “When Jesus had finished washing their feet, He put on His clothes and returned to His place. `Do you understand what I have done for you?’ He asked them…. `Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet’ ” (John 13: 12, 14)
In the days of dusty roads and open-toed sandals, feet often became dirty, and it was the job of the lowest servants to wash the guests’ feet. But Jesus set an example of service by doing this job Himself!! His actions spoke a silent message of love, that said~

NO JUDGMENT HERE.Image

#ToBeGreatYouMustServe