...in the ghetto

“...the image is one thing and the human being is another...it’s very hard to live up to an image.”
-Elvis Presley

Well... yesterday was Elvis’s 71st birthday... it also was my little cousin JD’s 7thbirthday... now, for the last 4 years, I’ve tortured my friends in whichever community I was living (Mercer or WVR) by throwing a birthday party for Elvis on January 8th, and I’ve brought my life-size stand up of the king himself, however, this year my community consists of my immediate family members, and, obviously, we were planning on having a birthday party for JD, not Elvis... but he tagged along, and we had a good time, so tradition not broken! That is fantastic! You guys know how I am about traditions and anything sentimental... hahaha!

Anyways, in the twenty words I began this email with, the king of rock and roll fully expresses a feeling I’ve experienced a lot of recently... how convenient that I found a quote from ELVIS to start this email off with! That’s amazing! Here’s a question: Do y’all ever start to feel like you “over” making mistakes? Like you’re past that... maybe all those things the car salesmen say are true a little bit... Yeah, you tell them you’re not at all perfect, you’re a sinner just like the rest of us, but maybe a little part of you starts to believe them more and more everyday... and slowly, but not too slowly, you start feeling like you’re pretty much “over” making mistakes... Congratulations! YOU, and you alone, are the one and only person since Jesus Christ to accomplish living a perfect life... That’s incredible... You must be very proud! Be assured, you will do great things!

And then........... You make a big one! And then you make another one, and several more...... And then, suddenly, you become astonishingly aware of the daily mistakes you’ve been making all this time, and that you’re still making... whether it’s “internal mistakes” like distrust, or anger and hatefulness, or the easily identifiable “external mistakes...” they’re all there, making it impossible to live up to that Christ-like image you and the salesmen have created of yourself... oh well.... It’s useless... why even try?

Thankfully, we ARE human beings, and we ARE all sin filled, and we’re not expected to be perfect, because it’s an impossible goal to reach completely... the Lord is quick to remind us of this fact when we start feeling a little (or a lot) arrogant... He used circumstances and my own sinfulness to remind me, and then He backed it with Romans 3... however, being an unreachable goal by no means makes it a useless goal! %100 of the time our top goal should be to become more and more like Christ everyday! THAT is something we can accomplish and thrive at through enlisting the Lord’s help! The good news in all of this is that while we, being human and sinful by nature, make mistakes daily, God, being God and gracious by nature, loves us without compromise and is ready and willing to forgive our continual sinfulness... and when asked, He will undoubtedly assist us in becoming Christ-like and even though we make mistakes He will use us each to do great things FOR HIS GLORY! There’s no other way really...

Well... that’s where I’m at... it’s a pretty easy thing to jump back into reality when you work with at risk youth, because you’re constantly making mistakes in the way you handle situations and the way you don’t handle them... the moment you feel like you’ve got it, you quickly realize that you don’t at all, and it’s abnormally easy to recognize when that has happened... but I think and I hope that God is using me in some of these kids lives! They are fantastic and so much fun! I am very very blessed to know them all! The steps that we have seen some of our students take in the couple of weeks before Christmas break and this past week after are huge, and remind me of why I’m here! God is alive and at work in all of them and in each of us who work with them!

Thanks for praying for us, you’re a huge part of the success we see in these kids and a huge part of the reason we make it through each day! Y’all are wonderful! My most current prayer need is these two new students we have and their transition... and as always, the school and ranch as a whole, staff and students alike, that we represent God well and glorify Him everyday!

Keep in touch! I love y’all, really!

Anna Kathryn

“I thank my God everytime I remember you;
in all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy!”
-Philippians 1:3

I’ll leave you with this:

“As the snow flies
On a cold and gray Chicago mornin’
A poor little baby child is born
In the ghetto
And his mama cries
’cause if there’s one thing that she don’t need
It’s another hungry mouth to feed
In the ghetto

People, don’t you understand
The child needs a helping hand
Or he’ll grow to be an angry young man some day
Take a look at you and me,
Are we too blind to see,
Or do we simply turn our heads
And look the other way?”

-Elvis Aron Presley, In the Ghetto

haha, wow, a lot of you just laughed I’m sure, that song holds a lot of ridiculously funny memories for me and most people who know me... but it really is pretty telling...

at JD's party, his little sister, elise, 4, looks at Elvis and asks me: "Why isn't that the real Elvis?"
me: "Well... we're not sure he's really still alive..."
elise: "He's alive...."
me: "why do you think that?"
elise: "well I hear him singing on the radio..."