A Lesson from Potato Lady

We remember a few random, funny or meaningful things about each placed we’ve lived.  And we inadvertently carry on my husband’s habit of referring to each place not chronologically but by street name. The year just pops in our heads as an afterthought. Yes I said year, as in singular, because we have rarely lived in one place more than a year. But every time we move, I do not give up hope for root-reaching.

So this was the year on “Orgain”. A few things come to mind.

  • Our black wiener dog puppy named Daphne & how cute and mischievous she was always digging little holes to escape the yard.
  • Braylon learned how to ride his bike on that street – a truly exciting day.
  • Two of the most violent thunder storms hit when we lived there. One caused gale force winds to take our basketball hoop down. We watched, it seemed, in slow motion, fall straight onto the windshield of Ricky’s ’79 Nova. CRRRACK!  The other had me pull over on Toll road 130  with Angel, Braylon and his buddy in the backseat.  We watched a transformer blow out 50 ft. ahead of me, and had the worship music up full blast in attempt to drown out the incredible sound of wind and rain as it pounded our Scion from the left side. I was literally yelling my prayers, and even professing my love for the kids just in case it was my last chance to do so. But of course… God was merciful.
  • Friends on the loop – our street looped around and we were blessed to make some great friends there – Andra (Andre’) who would go to Royal Rangers with Braylon,…and the Llanas famila ~ Evie, Ben and their kids – especially sweet Abigail. They lived caddy-corner from our backyard, but Braylon and Abigail would often find excuses to see each other via the shared makeshift tree house where the yards met.
  • The Potato Lady – she lived next door to us. To this day, I can’t recall what her face looked like, as she rarely left her home.

Here is the story about the Potato Lady.

One day when I must have been shopping or something, Ricky decided to have some daddy-son fun in the backyard after they watched a few inspirational  youtube videos together about … squirrel launching.  Yeah.

Well, there must have been a squirrel shortage at the time, so they settled for potatoes from the kitchen. They had a sling-shotty thing they made, and secured a small potato into it. Braylon drew back that sling and let the veggie fly. The potato was supposed to hit the fence, but it must’ve gained velocity and kept on going. Over the fence and into that lady’s yard it went, ending its flight with a supposedly subtle thud against her siding. The next thing we knew, there was a knock on our front door. We knew she was not really a people person, but we had no idea. She and her angry tone awaited Ricky on our doorstep. Along with threats that the police would come if it happened again.

Well, it must have happened again. Ricky, in a state of disbelief, felt like seeing if she really meant business. I don’t think this one actually hit anything but her grass, but she was waiting for it. It was apparently all she needed to follow through. Fifteen minutes later after the boys had moved on to another activity, we got visitor #2, the Hutto Police Department at our door.

Ricky tried his best to not laugh. but it was useless. Following suit, 7 year old Braylon tried to cover his smile to no avail. The officer had to get our side to complete his investigation, and just before he left, he let us in on a bit of the dialog between himself and Potato Lady. He told us she seemed to not get out much…and didn’t seem very understanding. When we asked what he meant, he told us that he said to her, “Ma’am, I’m sure the boy was playin’…and didn’t mean to fling the potato into your yard. It was a mistake. Didn’t you ever make any mistakes playin’ around when you were a kid?”…to which she replied with a resolute, “No.”

Apparently Potato Lady never made mistakes as a child.

I bet you a big ‘ol baked potato, she never had any fun either.



Angel’s Mother’s Day Gift



By, Angel Russ
Let me tell you about my mom.
She is 100 years old.
My mom is special because…
She is a mommy
My mom helps me…
Clean my closet
My mom makes the best…
My mom taught me how to…
I help my mom…
I help my mommy make
(“make” is our word for bake or cook in the kitchen).

I luv this!!

Here are a few more pics of her card she made for me and our fun time making pizza’s & giving gifts at the Stewart home today…







The Someone Else

The kids are out of school all week – Thanksgiving week.

I met with a new friend who is interested in spreading awareness about sex trafficking. So the kids had to come along to Starbucks, but were patient and colored and read and played quietly for over an hour. Before we went there, we noticed an older gentleman by the exit, asking for food on a cardboard sign. It read, “Just Hungry”. The kids and I discussed that we’d see about buying him lunch if he was still there later.

After my meeting, I was hungry too, and in my search for food as I drove through Tualatin, I noticed that man was no longer standing there. But a young man was…also holding up a sign, and stood on the other side, toward I5 north. I rolled my window down and asked him if he’d let me read his sign. It said, “Clean and sober over 1 yr. Anything helps.” I yelled “would you want lunch?” to which he replied happily, “Yes!” and off I drove through my green light, still looking for a place to buy food. I ended up at Subway. As I told the Sandwich-Artist my order and how one was for a homeless man, he asked me what the man looked like and where he was. I told him, and his reply kind of took me off guard, “Yeah, he’s not homeless”, he said with a smirk. “You know him? I presumed he was homeless” “His name is Wade. He’s actually got a nice home and a nice vehicle too”. Well, I didn’t change my mind. I still bought my two subs and left, and said a little prayer as I drove off. What should I do, Lord? I then shot the same text to Ricky. He quickly replied, “Drive around looking for another one”. So we headed south on Boones Ferry. Perhaps there would be someone at the Wilsonville exit. Braylon was swift to ask, “Uh, mom? Where are you going? You promised that one guy lunch.” “Well, I don’t know if you heard the man in Subway, but he knows that guy…and it seems as if he’s not really in need. Me and Daddy think we should look for someone else to give the sandwich to.” And a few minutes later, we came to the Wilsonville exit.

And there he was. The someone else.  We turned around and parked in a perfect spot nearby where he stood. As we approached, the sound of the freeway drowned us out, so when we said hello, and he saw Braylon and I, it shook him a bit. Bray didn’t ask him his name like I suggested, but asked him if he’d like a sub sandwich, and handed it to him. He was very thankful.  I got his name, “Raymond Woods”. Before either of us could then ask him what his story was (because we all have one, don’t we?) Raymond told us he has been battling cancer. Colon Cancer. He’s been ok for the last 7 months, but needs to see a doctor to make sure it hasn’t returned. He said he’s travelling from WA to CA., in an old van, but it only gets 8 mpg, so he tries not to drive too much.

His skin was leathery and wrinkled, probably 50-60 years old. Most of his teeth seemed to be missing, and his eyes were a soothing baby-blue hue which off-set his unshaven cheeks and chin dotted with unruly salt-n-pepper hair.

Angel was in the front seat of our van, watching, as I asked Raymond if he minded if we prayed for him. I’d never done that before, not like this. It was surprisingly easy and comfortable. And I was glad it wasn’t raining at the moment. I took his cold hand in mine, noticing his long, dirty nails. Braylon followed suit, later telling me he didn’t want to hold it tight, so he held it loosely, but also noticed how cold it was. I knew that serving the homeless last Thursday with Bridgetown Inc. prepared Braylon’s heart for this moment.

I prayed for a minute, in Jesus’ name, for Raymond’s health, healing, fulfillment in this life, and provision as he travels to California.

He thanked us again and off we went. As we turned the car around again to head home, Braylon was filled with excitement. He said to me, “Let’s go to the Dollar Tree and buy a bunch of stuff, and go around looking for homeless people to give stuff out to, all the rest of the day! And we can get a few things for me too, there at the Dollar Tree.” How could a mom not smile at that? What a incredible, kind, and honest little 10-year old I have. Angel chimed in, “Me too! I want to too!”

It was a beautiful opportunity God gave us, to be a small part of His story, and be used to possibly make some kind of impact on him. And he on us.  On the way home, I told Braylon and Angel how what had just happened ties into scripture…as  Jesus said, “when you did this to the least of these, you did it to me.”..and conversely, “when you didn’t do it to the least of these, you didn’t do it to me.”

 Today, Raymond was Jesus. And in a strange way, we got to be, as well.

Who knows… one day we may be the someone else.


The Wendy’s Jason

Today I went to Wendy’s with Angel. Jason, the manager hooked her up with a kids meal & frosty, when all I ordered her was nuggets!

He’s been the nicest guy to my kids whenever we’ve gone in there. Gives them focused attention. When we talk about him we always say… Wait, which Jason? And the other person will say, The Wendy’s Jason. “Oh, yeah. Ok…”

After our meal, I thought we should talk to him some more, semi-privately, and I said 2 things:

1. We may be seeing less of him cause we’ll probably be moving the West Linn, but will stop by as much as possible. This somehow led to him telling me how he has a burden for those who are involved with trafficking, & also those who suffer from Spina Bifida. He sees a little girl come in to order food there regularly – and how much pain she has to endure, and it tears him up.

2. Is there anything Ricky and I can be praying for you about?

This was surprisingly comfortable for me to ask!

He leaned in closer and said, Heh…EVERYTHING.

I laughed and told him that was pretty general… and he repeated it, louder. I still dug deeper, “What… Relationships? Finances?” to which he nearly cut me off with a nodding “YES. Why you think I keep m’self so busy around here?!”

My Healer, Sustainer and Comforter will hear from me about some new
things tonight.

I’m so thankful He listens.

This post is to be continued…