Last night went really well. People were surprised to learn that it was our first time doing a presentation like we did because we seemed like we had our stuff together. That was a relief, I must not have said ummm too much. And I didn't actually cry, though I did skip half of a cue card when I almost choked up and said something to the effect of, "I really don't want to talk about what happens to those kids, right now, but it's bad."
The first great thing to come of it happened last night already. We are getting a free logo design for the charis project, and help with the web development end of things, as well as streamlining all the technology so that it's really easy to use and update. They were even talking of making video presentations further down the road. I am so excited about it. It will be good to have someone who knows what they are doing working on these things. Yay!
[On a side note, I have to figure out how to respond to people who tell me they really admire what we're doing. I understand, I do, because I admire people too that I think are doing good in the world. It just makes me feel a little uncomfortable because I know that I've never though of myself as all that admirable. I think of what we're doing as something really cool that I get to be part of. I'm the lucky one.]
This morning, because I am brilliant scheduler, I had to take 3 overtired children who had consumed far too much dessert last night to a dentist appointment. I made the appointment over 3 months ago so that part couldn't really be helped. I mean, how was I to know that the day we went to the dentist would also be the day God decided to flood southern California. At least, that's what it feels like is happening. That rain, she keeps falling, beating down upon us. There are flood warnings and mudslides happening. There is a very cold wind chill factor. I grew up in snow and ice so don't y'all think I'm whining my little pampered southern butt off here when I say it is MISERABLE OUTSIDE.
Going anywhere outside of walking distance is a bit of an undertaking for us to begin with. We take the bus, the very slow bus that only comes once an hour. So two hours before we have to be a 10 minute drive across town we go out and stand next to the road and wait. That gets us to the transit center in time to wait 45 minutes to catch the bus that goes to the dentist, where we arrive 40 minutes early. This is actually almost pleasant on a normal sunny day here, and except for the time it takes out of the day, I don't mind.
Today, after dressing for icy rain and puddles we walked out to our bus stop only to see the bus pass right in front of us, just before we got there. The only thing for it was to walk. It's walkable, though far, about 3 miles, but it was going to be miserable in the pouring rain. We gritted our teeth and set out.
Enter Joanne, a tiny little old lady wearing a smart little suit, felt hat, and lipstick. As I was waiting to cross a street she stopped right in front of me, opened her door and said, "Get in, get those children out of the rain." She has grandchildren, so her car was kid ready and we bundled them into the back as she talked away about her morning. (She went to church and then to buy gifts and was headed to visit her disabled brother.) She drove us straight to the dentist's office where we were on time.
Little was not happy about someone sticking their fingers in her mouth to check her teeth for the first time, and screamed indignantly, but perked up when she realized that she got a prize after. The other two love the dentist, they wish they could stay there all day with the movies and toys and books. There was much complaining when I announced that we needed to bundle up in our wet things again and go catch the bus. That's when the dentist told me, she who sees hundreds of children every month, that she was hoping to drive us home but she didn't have any car seats so she wasn't sure that would be a safe idea. (Anyone else ever had their kids dentist offer them anything like that? Now I love her even more than I did before because she works on my kids teeth without scaring them or making them cry.)
I was really surprised by such a kind offer but opted to take the bus home. We only had a 5 minute wait and it was safer for the kids, and her insurance. At the transit center, we stepped out into the rain again wondering where to take shelter. There are no rain shelters down here, only sun shades, that are water permeable. A bus driver called out to me. "Ma'am, what bus are you going to be catching?...Well, here, wait on my bus until he gets here so you can stay dry."
He has 5 children and several grandchildren, a big burly black man who probably looks a bit scary if he isn't smiling, but he was smiling, and kept the kids all entertained until our bus arrived.
We don't live in a small town. Southern Californians tend to ignore and avoid contact with everyone else, especially perfect strangers. But today, my kids and I were on the receiving end of surprising generosity from several kind people. It turned a miserable day into a blessing. I feel like we got to witness a little mini miracle.