Crazy White Lady

I am a middle-aged white woman who has every advantage a person could have. I was born in America. I’m white. I’ve never hungered a day in my life. In fact, I was super morbidly obese for 10 years of my life. Just morbidly obese for the other 35.

I’ve never been so poor that I couldn’t buy food. Only one day did I wonder about dinner. No food. No paycheck. And the long weekend to make it to money. And even at that low point, my husband went to our local food pantry and got enough to fix dinner for a few days. A friendly, benevolent nun gave us pasta and sauce. Humiliating as that was, we ate dinner with our school-age daughter. And we were so very thankful. We were full on grace.

I’ve been struggling this week. Last Friday, I was accepted for a mission trip to Israel. I rejoiced at being chosen, but immediately became worried after the joy subsided. I would have to raise the money for my trip.

I’ve never been good about asking others for money. I struggled with paying my medical bills, but hesitated in asking others outside of my family for help. So crowdfunding made me squeamish, but missions are something that I’ve wanted to do since I was 16. Go to another part of the world and help those in need.

I know you might say, “Martha, we have need in this country.” And I would say yes. But we also have overweight poor people. The need in this country is real. But even our poor people live better than most in other parts of the world. Even our poor people are among the 1 percent. THAT’s the truth. Being poor in America doesn’t automatically mean death. Being poor in other countries can mean starvation. Being poor can mean a violent or untimely death.

I need to raise ~$3500. The supplies for this trip are already provided for, but I need to get myself there, to help. But first, by Monday, I need to raise $500 to reserve my spot. GAiN is supporting me and encouraging me to keep trying, they want and need me there. I can serve in so many ways on this trip. But I need that $500 to reserve my travel. If I don’t have it, this journey ends here.

At 4:10 am, Tuesday morning, just this past week, I woke up in a NyQuil/Benadryl-induced fog because I’ve been very sick. Trying to write, work and raise money for a trip has been tricky. At 4:10 am, I didn’t want to be awake, but my eyes popped open. And a realization washed over me. It was God’s voice because there’s no way that I would have this thought.

God, carefully pulling me close, grasping my attention and pajama collars, whispered softly into my stinging eyes, “Martha. You’ve been worried. Terrified. About money. You don’t know how you will provide for this trip halfway around the world. You’re scared. You feel alone. You feel forgotten. Forsaken. You’ve only experienced that for a few days. NOW, my dear child, you have some small understanding of what these people I want you to care about face every single day of their lives.”

And I fell back into my dreamy, warm covers. Broken and blown away.

I can’t tell you why this crazy white lady wants to go to the Holy Land. I can’t justify it. Other than to say, I’m following God’s heart. And that plane is going with or without me.

If this trip dies here, it dies here. I don’t want it to though.

God, if you want it to happen, you will provide. I know that. Thank you for opening my tired, sick American eyes, at the very least. I’m going to run after you, every chance I get.


Please consider giving. GAiN for Martha Maggio. There’s more info about my trip and who we’ll be serving. If every one of my followers gave even $1, I could meet my immediate goal. Thanks!

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The Kindness of Karen

Karen. Aunt Karen. She’s not even my aunt by blood, but I think of her as family. I’ve only known her for just over a year. She’s one of the nicest women I’ve ever met. Gentle, kind, a manifestation of the Holy Spirit for sure. She was my husband’s saving grace when he was a child.

My husband grew up in a strange home. Don’t we all.

He lost his parents when he was very young. His mother died when he was still an infant and his father died when he was a toddler, too young to even form a memory of his face. He was orphaned.

He was raised by his paternal grandparents. His Uncle Guy and Aunt Karen were there for those formative years as well, living just next door.

I’ve known Karen for years, without the benefit of meeting her in person, because my husband described her so vividly. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed angel of mercy in a chaotic world. A calming influence on an energetic boy. He would tell me about her rubbing his back for naptime. (He still likes to have his back rubbed. Who doesn’t?) He was certainly enamored with his Aunt Karen.

He talked about how Aunt Karen could show discipline, not humiliation, in behavior correction. His grandmother and uncle often resorted to yelling and intimidation. But Karen. She was different.

Karen was the mother he needed. Tender. Patient. Feminine. She was the female ideal. The compassion he required as an extremely sensitive child. A soft place to land.

I finally met Karen just over a year ago. She was so warm and welcoming. Immediate hugs and she accepted me totally from the first moment. She was every bit of the angel Guy recalled to me. Karen has a generous spirit. She always asks questions and she lavished our daughter with so much attention.

She lives in Colorado, so we don’t get to see her much, but we have Facebook (thank God) and she’s so supportive of my blog. Thank you, Karen!

Aunt Karen just made the first donation for my trip. An extremely generous one. Thank you for believing in me and this journey.

I truly appreciate your kindness, generosity and the immediate acceptance as a member of your family. I’m just sorry we hadn’t met until just over a year ago. You’re a beautiful person. Inside and out. You changed my husband’s life and offered him grace when he absolutely needed it. You saved him from a harsh life just by being kind and showing him nice people exist. Thank you for my husband. Thank you for the kindness you showed him. Thank you for being a mother to him, even if for a short time. It stayed with him all through the years. You ARE an angel. I know he thinks that, too. xoxo

Gimme My Money!

What do you do if someone owes you money?


I loaned someone money and they said they would pay me back as soon as they got their check. Well, they never did. That was over a year ago.

At the time, we had plenty of money and I let the debt go. I figured they didn’t have it, needed more time, or simply forgot. I also figured, they would remember and catch me when it was a better time. Should it stay forgotten?

This person is forgetful, scatter-brained and usually busy in their own small world. Consumed with personal thoughts and easily distracted. Do I ask for the money, offer a reminder, or let it go?

This person just received a sum of money and I’m currently in need. (Feel free to donate to my trip fund for my upcoming mission trip if you have any extra income. LOL) Is it petty to ask for the money now?

How would you handle, or how have you handled, situations like this in the past? Would love to hear your comments for my readers! Even my daughter said she would be interested in the answers because she has been offering commissions and people sometimes forget to pay!

I hate talking about money!!! LOL

Mission From God

Blues Brothers: On a Mission From God

I have just been accepted to go on a mission. I am going to the Holy Land in January. Because it’s an area with delicate political issues and potential risks, I have been asked to only say the very general region. I can tell you the people we’ll be serving are in need.

We will be serving at wheelchair and vision clinics. Please click on the link below if you want to know more or can donate:

Help me go on my MISSION!

Here are the tiers at which you can donate:


1-Shout out! I will tag you on Facebook or WordPress and thank you personally for any donation of $5 or less.

2-Reblog! I will reblog your favorite or most recent post on my site! Or, if you don’t write at WordPress, I’ll post your favorite article or excerpt. I’ll even write a personal introduction and tag your blog for my 400+ followers for any donation of $10.

3-Reading materials! Signed manuscript of any of my online Amazon publications (Present Tense, Updo, House Full of Hope), your choice, with a personal note of thanks, plus all of the previous rewards for any donation of $25.

4-Double reading materials! 2 signed manuscripts, your choice, personal note of thanks, plus the first two rewards for any donation of $50.

5-Pictures! Full color bound picture album of my mission (from Shutterfly), plus the previous rewards (1, 2 and 4) for any donation of $100 or more!

Thank you in advance for just reading about my trip and learning more about GAiN!

You may ask yourself, “Why, Martha, are you going halfway around the world, burning jet fuel, to aid others in a difficult country? Why not help at home?”

Good question.

This has been something I’ve been taught my whole life. Support missions, go out and teach the world about Jesus, go on missions, spread the Word. And I used to assume what that meant–convert the world to Christianity.

I’ve come to understand it’s more complex than that. What the Bible shares, what the Bible teaches Christians, is slightly more nuanced than just “make others submit.”

If we teach? How do we teach? By showing.

If we love? How do we love? By acting.

We don’t win hearts by conquering, punishing, extorting. We show God’s love through acceptance, kindness, tolerance. By example. We do what Christ did. We heal. We live small. We show humility. We are meek. We take care of our speech and actions. Mainly because–if we act nice, if we act lovely, won’t others want to be the same and be close and find out more? Won’t they want to know why we act this way? Won’t they want to know Christ in the same way? They cannot deny Christ if they see him in us. Even if not, then we have still served as we are commanded.

We serve. We serve the least of these to show that we live what we believe. We show Christ by doing the things he did. By loving the people he loved. By going where he went. By washing the feet of the least deserving to be washed. Because who on Earth deserves to be cleansed?

I will admit, I want to see the places where Christ walked. But I also want to serve where he served. Die to myself where he died. Continue in service in His Spirit as we are asked to do. I want to touch those walls and earth and stones that he touched. But I also want to touch the souls of those he reached for.

When people look at me, I want them to see Christ and his love. His smile. His care. His heart.

That’s why I’m going. Plus. That plane is going, with or without me. Why not be on it? Time to do good in the world.

This is not a luxury vacation and people go to the Riviera every day. This will be work. Hard work, long days and a risky environment. But God has rebuilt this temple of mine. I’m ready to put it to use.

I’ve thought about crowdfunding before. Especially when I faced my very expensive medical debt, but I paid most of my surgeries through savings or one bill at a time. It was tough. I spent thousands of dollars, but I made it through without crowdfunding. Most Americans can’t do that with rising healthcare costs.

I will need your help to make this goal. That’s tough for me. To ask for help. But this is exactly what Christ has called us to do. Help each other. Please help me help those in need! If you can. I will go in your place even if you only have $1 to give. If you have nothing, that’s ok! I totally get it.

Thanks for any help. Truly. I need to raise at least $500 in the next ten days to go (to reserve my spot), but the total goal will be ~$3500!

GAiN for Martha Maggio

 

Pee! The world’s on fire.

My only brother, 11 years older than me, used to sleep in late. As teens do. After being out late with his friends, he would sleep late. Also, at one point, I think he worked evenings or nights at a local gas station, so he might have been sleeping during the day for that reason.

Well, my father creeps into the hallway with an impish grin. He was in a goofy, manic phase and holds down the smoke detector test button.

BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!

Except, our alarm was louder and more terrifying. Enough to make you piss your pants.

At the same time, my dad hollers down the hallway, “Pee! The world’s on fire!” Laughing his country-ass off. (One of his favorite sayings was, “I work my country ass off!” I still say that. So does my husband. LOL My husband does a perfect impersonation of my father, even though they never met, mainly because I say it exactly the way my dad used to. Love it.)

My brother comes running out of his bedroom, his long, usually-perfect, feathered hair tousled from sleep and his eyes barely open. His eyes quickly narrow even further at the sight of my dad and the rest of the family giggling maniacally.

He did not pee. He was pissed though! I think my dad just wanted him up and out!

Good times.

Coff-tastrophe

I recently bought a new coffee maker because I recently fell in love with coffee. 🙂 Before the age of 45, I never liked coffee. Then I met Starbucks’ Carmel Macchiato. Hello, Lover.


I was spending at least $2 for a cup of coffee every coupla days. That seems too expensive, even for a working adult. So I bought a drip coffee maker after doing some research.

I wanted a Keurig, but my husband was concerned about price and waste from the K-cups. Someone told me about the reusable pods, but the price was still too high for a machine. Oh well.

After price comparison and reviews, we decided to buy a Black and Decker drip coffee maker. Only ~$20. It’s great! As long as you don’t forget the snap-in diffuser (or whatever it’s called). LOL

Well, I forgot to snap in the diffuser this morning and I had coffee all over my new coffee bar! LOL

coffee bar
New coffee bar at our new apartment in Venice! Before the massive coffee lava blow and flow. LOL

The water backed up and spilled out, along with coffee grounds and sadness. Needless to say, I will never forget the diffuser again. Sigh. Never. At least it was just water and coffee to clean up. Coffee is probably a good cleaner? Maybe not. I know it cleans my insides out. 😀

We purchased Starbucks dark roast espresso whole beans and grind them ourselves using our small shake blender. The blender does an adequate job and the brew is strong and tasty. Not bad for a cheap drip machine! Tastes good with milk and Splenda. Coffee catastrophe curtailed!


The worst time to crave coffee is 9 pm at night. Why is this happening?

Stars

The beginning of an old short story from my 20s. Never finished. But I still like some of the ideas. Simply archiving! It’s so old it was hand-written! lol


She lingered in the plush blades of grass that curled around her plump toes. Standing in her nighgown, she wondered at the evening sky. Arms limp. Relaxed jaw. Deep breath. The young woman found two particular stars completely interesting.

One of the heavenly bodies shivered incessantly on the deep, cold black expanse that marked the top half of the sky, flickering in and out of consciousness. Then, the other was nestled in the warmth of its own glow. White and constant, it shone brightly in the plum ether that split the black sky from the earth.

The two suns were seemingly inches apart, but in reality, worlds away from one another. Not unlike she and her husband. She shivered as she woke from her meditative trance.

Michael called from the porch. “Sara, come in now.”

As she crossed the threshold of their sterile country home, Michael asserted, “You’ll catch cold.” Michael threw a blanket around her shoulders.

“Thanks.” Sara managed a smile without looking into his eyes.

Silently, they climbed to their bedroom. Upstairs, in their average, comfortable bed, Michael slept as Sara laid awake, remembering the stars.

Most of the time, she felt like the weaker star. Finding it difficult to shine all the time. It was hard to summon light within herself. She felt the encompassing darkness surrounding her. Enveloping her. Swallowing her. Drinking in her life. Sara viewed herself as a fool because she had no control over the dark. It would creep into her mind and she assumed that she allowed that. It rose and set like the moon, involuntarily. Unstoppable. Phasing like a dead planet composed of ash.


Not bad for a 20-something? When the internet did not exist. LOL

Sunset and Missing Missouri

I moved from KC, MO to Florida just over a year ago. I still miss it from time to time, even in paradise. You can only take so many palm trees before you look at them like oaks. But it’s better living off-island and near a river now! And I see pines from our place.


Watching the sunset over seas
Enjoying tropical island breeze
Is heaven

But watching this sun set behind the trees
Brings me to my thankful knees
It’s home

These trees give some permanance
To these limitless firmaments

Sailing from every temporal shore
Can leave a wanderer wanting more

Grounded with grass and pines in the yard
Make living in paradise not so hard LOL

Conclusions

You draw conclusions
Like ragged curtains
Assume that I feel
Pain that is real
Un-hidden in the place
Where hurt lands

But I’m injured inside
Bruises subside
Too deep to detect it
No surface affected
Clues coincide
Chaos will abide

Down to the core
Heart of the sore
Poison pill, weakened will
Infected ill, quivering quill
You kill me with your words
I rocket to the ground like gunned-down birds

Everything you say
Is trapped inside my brain
I try to let it go
But you race to reload
I will say thanks to you
Now that I’m dead, I’m bulletproof