Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Scarlet Cord Friday Night Update, May 22nd

Dear Scarlet Cord Community,

We had an excellent night of service and growing in friendship. Our team included Bekah, Cheryl (and Greg along with our special little guests who made a brief appearance to bring dinner), Bailey, Sherry, Jen, Sandy, Cameron, Muna, and Carrie (myself). When I arrived, the team had already set-up our wonderful cafe/sitting area - you are so timely! Then the Dillon family arrived with 4 dinner courses! The Dillon's' eldest two children even helped to carry in the food. What great family team work. Dinner was an elaborate Thai theme, complimented by Jen's dressed asparagus, a beautiful fresh fruit spread from Bailey, and home-made strawberry-rhubarb pie from Cheryl. In case your curiosity is too strong, I'll list the names of the Thai dishes: Pineapple Ginger Soup, Shrimp and Chinese Broccoli, Stir Fry Beans and Cauliflower, and Seafood Soup. I hope everyone sampled as much of this meal as I did!

We welcomed a new security guard (Dan) to SC. He was on time and courteous. I think he is going to be perfect.

In preparation for the night, we had a lively discussion about some 'street team hot topics'. I know there will be more discussion at our upcoming All-Volunteer Meeting 6/14/09. I highly encourage you to bring your questions regarding SC guidelines and policies to any Friday meeting, or contact a leader via email. Our team had a very healthy talk, which I believe will make us increasingly united. Thank you to those who had the courage to raise their questions and to respectfully discuss the ideas.

In the end, Cheryl, Bekah, and I decided to remain as the home team. We reviewed the instructions for the 4 Thai delicacies and enjoyed the company of D, who arrived not long after the street teams departed. D educated us on the latest news of singer, Eminem and imbibed the delicious soups. She appeared completely at ease and had a countenance of one whose needs were met in the moment she realized them. As the evening continued, Cheryl began to feel ill and it was our pleasure to also serve her. Cheryl diligently served even while 6-7 months pregnant! We send our thanks and warm regards to her, hoping that she feels better.

The street team split into two groups, with Jen & Sandy staying on Sandy Blvd. while Bailey, Sherry, Cameron, and I (Muna) headed to 82nd Ave. Jen and Sandy were very heroic in calling 911 to help a gentleman in distress. They were able to talk with some potential guests as well as visiting the regular community businesses. The remaining team members were able to head to some new establishments and had flyers hanging up from the previous week! That is exciting!! We were greeted warmly by almost everyone we came across. We did talk to one woman who was very interested in coming....we hope to see her there soon. We made a quick stop by the the 3 lingerie shops as we headed back to have some delicious dinner. We were able to give D some more lotion that helps with her daughter's eczema. She is usually there alone which is concerning-we told her to stay safe or as safe as possible.

All in all it was a lovely evening!

Carrie & Muna

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Scarlet Cord Friday Night Update, May 15th

Dear Friends,

Another beautiful “summer evening” in the spring spent at SC. I pulled up to the back parking lot to see the first wonderful surprise of the night….Sandy setting up a small weber that she brought to BBQ burgers! For the main dish, Sandy brought hamburgers to BBQ with all the “fixins”, and so we spent some time enjoying the great outdoors and the wonderful scent of a real BBQ. What a treat!

The volunteers tonight were Christina, Melissa aka Lissa, Esther P (thanks birdie-girl for coming extra!), Muna, Sandy, and myself (Carol). Dinner consisted of an awesome raspberry cobbler made by Christina, crisp green salad from Lissa, a big and juicy seedless watermelon (yeah! Summer is a comin’), roasted potatoes with rosemary, and of course huge hamburgers with all the trimmings! We eat so well…

As Muna, Lissa, and Esther headed out to the street, D had long been chatting it up with us already. She was at another “green” event and came with new brochures, etc for us to enjoy. She didn’t sleep that day, so commented she would love to take a nap before work. Isn’t it great that “our place” has those huge, wonderful, comfy couches? It is so great to see her so at home with us. We decided to just let her rest and Sandy, Christina and I headed out to yap it up around the BBQ (like men do, but with a female twist…no wonder they like to congregate around the BBQ, it’s rather enjoyable)…but not before Christina got a blanket from her car and laid it over the resting D. When I came back in tip-toeing to get something, there she was sleeping soundly with a yellow blanket wrapped all around her….it was so sweet. While we enjoyed the beautiful sunshine outside around the “barby” Sandy shared that she had touched base with S and that S promised to come tonight. We were hopeful to see her again. We finally went back in to wake D up and have dinner together…and just as we were finishing…who comes walking down the ramp with all her usual style and charisma….S! It was so wonderful to see her again…and she looked like she was in a better place than last time she was here. This time she brought Beyonce (the singer for all of you “not in the know”…which was technically me before last Friday) and we chatted it up like old times with the music going.

The street team was Esther P, Melissa, and Muna. It was a beautiful evening as we headed to 82nd/Powell area. We also stopped at the Max on 82nd and came across some women who were very appreciative of our lotion/flyer. The police in the area confirmed that the area we were headed to was a hot spot. We stopped at a few establishments and were also warmly welcomed. We stopped at one lingerie shop and the lady thought we were advertising for a "Romance" party so she gave us a front row spot for our flyers! I think God has a wonderful sense of humor!

When the street team came back, there were more shouts of joy at seeing S again. It felt like one of those rare family reunions you actually want to attend and be a part of!

So many things to be thankful for…so many blessings that have occurred at SC this past year…..and so many, many wonderful people! Thank you everyone for continuing to pray, lift good thoughts for us, and being a part of this crazy and wonderful family!

Muna and Carol

PS. Welcome back Katie who has been away in S. America for the past couple of months! And welcome back Misty who has was swallowed by school the past couple of months! It will be so great to see you two sisters again!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Scarlet Cord Friday Night Update, May 1st

Dear Friends,

I was driving home from SC tonight and literally almost burst into tears just from sheer joy. I was so grateful to be in the company of the other volunteers tonight: Sara (she's back from the land of 1040's and it was so wonderful to see you again...we should sooo go for a hike, Muna (your strength and what you're capable of totally amazes me more and more every week...seriously, will you marry me?), Raelene (you make my sides split from laughing, you are total medicine for the heart), Vania (you just emanate warmth and kindness and I swear your eyes literally twinkle), Tiffany ("Mrs. Al-to be" heart saddens to see you go away again but so, so, so, so, so happy for what is in store in the next few months as you become a wife to a fantastic man...gosh, look out world for this couple!), and our new volunteer Sherry (I am pretty sure you've been a part of our group for a long time already, you're a "kindred spirit" and soul sister without a doubt). I am so, so, so thankful to God for bringing all these women into my life...I just feel so blessed to be part of this group.

Which leads me to something else I'm thankful for: food, I mean really, really, really good food. I am pretty sure that when God made women, he/she gave us women the love and appreciation for food on purpose. Granted, that can become a very painful place for a lot of women and a lifelong struggle, but it can also be a thing of beauty utterly appreciated for the "sensual pleasures" it brings, a place for incredible artistic expression and creative genius. So that is the segway into the discussion of our dinner tonight and a pathetic one that doesn't do any justice. First, our other new volunteers Caroline, Carol, and Arlene who made our dinner: I just want you all to know that eating your meal literally made my heart sing and I felt like I was eating at Portland's finest restaurant (Gabriel Rucker, you've got nothing on Caroline and my two aunts!). I knew that you all spent time together creating this incredible meal as friends and as sisters (literally!) laughing and sharing...I could feel that "time" you put into it. I know without a doubt that food had blessings heaped upon it by the hearts that did the stirring, the chopping, the roasting, the sautéing, etc...and prayers were given during the creation of it. So, when I ate the food tonight, it was such an experience to partake of this phenomenal meal...I wasn't just eating food, I was being filled with blessing after blessing. It was, without trying to use a cliché, absolute soul food. The salad was spinach, with feta, oranges, dried cranberries (if my memory is right?), and a dressing that was like a citrus vinaigrette partnered with some pizzazz of red onion. Then there were steamed green beans with a lemon dressing....oh my word. Next, we had quinoa with glazed pecans, dried cherries (or cranberries...there was an orange flavor there too). For the main course there was herb crusted roast pork cooked to absolute perfection...moist, and tender.......and served with herbed gravy (real gravy...gravy makes me giggle with delight). For dessert, we had lemon bars and chocolate bars with I believe a cream cheese frosting....AND chocolate covered strawberries. Folks...everything was homemade and from scratch. It was enough to send a person into nirvana. They also brought a mango blend juice and I think there was one more kind that I cannot remember. It was a gastronomic experience......just imagine someone coming in from a sad place in their life and partaking of something that not only was out of this world smashing, but was created with such devotion and love? What a way to spread some love!

How does one describe a Friday night at Scarlet Cord......sisterhood! It is so amazing to see women loving and caring as it was meant to be. As Carol mentioned each woman is so dear it is so fun to see each other after a time away and catch up....and Carol (calm and always seeing the strength in others-your words are poetry-more food for the soul). Sandy (looking stunning in her lil' black dress) dropped off bread on her way to see the graduates from Shepherd's Door-another ministry that helps women. Thank you Sandy for stopping even though you did not have time because it turned out to be a connection we were able to make later that evening.

We quickly set up and what was to be a quick moment to work out the plan for the evening turned into a story of romance, which we were all on the edge of our seats eating up every detail. The story wrapped up and the street team headed out (Carol, Vania, Sherry, and Muna) to hit the clubs and lingerie shops. The sights, sounds, and smells of spring were all around us and we ENJOYED every moment of it.
We stopped at one of the "shops" that we have not always been warmly greeted at-every time we stop they are just a little more soft, friendly, and open to us! They even asked how we were doing! It We were able to have conversation with a few girls-talk mostly revolved around slow business and swine flu. At two different spots the gals talked about using some of our "gifts" for their children....what a blessing to think of a little girl running around with her own little purse or a child that is experiencing relief from some of the lotion that was so generously donated to SC! We talked with D and she was hoping to come by some Friday when she was not left alone to grab some bread...we told her we would bring some next week but as we finished off the rounds we make a quick trip back to grab some bread and bring it back to her. Please keep her (and others that may be left alone in the businesses) in your thoughts and/or prayers. It is good to see how we are continuing to build bridges...the girls and men in some cases know who we are and they are keeping doors wide open!
Tiffany, Raelene, and Sara stayed in our cozy Friday night abode to welcome the guests. D was our only guest for the evening but what a fine meal she received! D has been getting back together (in her words they "might be working things out") with her ex-husband and is excited and scared at the same time. She also mentioned it was her birthday next week and she was hoping that her children would be taking her out to dinner next Friday. She was concerned that we know why she was absent-she knew we would be worried! I love to see the change in her....when she first came she hardly cracked a smile but now she smiles often!
When we got back from the streets everyone was relaxing at the couch. Tiffany got up to help serve plates to the street team.....It has been a true joy to get to know your sweet quiet spirit and I am sad that you are leaving but when I see the sparkle in your eye about returning to see your love-well you can hardly be sad when you see that and I am glad it will just be for a season! I echo Carol's sentiments as to the meal as it was AMAZING! It was a moment of refuge and I think we all just wanted to linger around and continue conversation....just like a family gathering-our family of sisters!

Much love Carol, Raelene, and Muna