Category Archives: glenwood

It’s been a while…

Two and a half years, actually.  Posting here has been on my mind more lately as I stumble my way through my latest adventure — serving as School Administrator for Hope Academy.  It’s the job I’ve always wanted. Eight years into ministry & life in Glenwood, and I finally have a full-time job here.  It’s been way more intense and demanding than I ever expected.  It’s also been a more perfect fit for my skill-set than I ever have imagined.  Every day it becomes increasingly evident that God has been preparing me for such a day as this, and I’m so grateful that He did.

Hope Academy is a private, Christ-based middle school for kids in Glenwood.  Now that Glenwood has my full attention (and is no longer being fit in after work & on weekends), I am thinking more and more about this work that we’re called to.  Thinking more about generational cycles. Thinking about race relations. Thinking youth ministry. Thinking about more things than I can possibly list here.

Looking back over posts from the last several years, I’ve realized that God taught me a lot while writing on this blog.  It only seems fair to continue to process here, if only so that I can go back and remember later.

Excerpt from Jonathan Kozol’s “Amazing Grace”

“The message of the gospel is unalterably clear. ‘Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not away.’ Those are the words of Jesus.” No exception, she notes, is made for the stranger who talks too loud in crowded trains, or who may be partially deceiving us about his actual condition, or who offends us by his importunity or by his dirtiness, or color.

“Do you think of [New York City],” I ask, “as a Judeo-Christian city?”

“I wish I could say yes, but I don’t know. If it were, I doubt that we could lead the kinds of lives we do. I think that we’d be asking questions all the time. ‘Where does my money come from? Who pays a price for all the fun I have? Who is left out? Do I need this bottle of expensive perfume more than a child needs a doctor or a decent school? What does it mean, in theological terms, when grown-ups can eat caviar while Anthony eats oatmeal? What does this say about a city’s soul?'”

Resting in hope and dependence

I sat on my porch tonight trying to write a concise post about the all the feelings I’ve had about the neighborhood over the last few weeks. As I started and quickly abandoned a handful of posts, all I could do was cry.

Cry for five years of work, play, joy and sorrow all sown into this neighborhood.
Cry for kids growing up.
Cry for the kids who are changing when I had all but given up hope.
Cry for the kids I had all the hope in the world for who are digging in their heels.
Cry for a million other things that I don’t know how to express.
Crying tears of joy and sadness all at the same time.

This summer has been immensely refreshing for me. Being in Glenwood for 5 years now, I have experienced significant seasons of spiritual drought. But this summer, particularly during and after camp, I have come to know a joy and lightheartedness I never thought I’d get back. As hard as things are in Glenwood, the last month in this neighborhood has pure joy, and that’s something I haven’t been able to say for the last few years.

What has made the difference? I’m not 100% sure. Things haven’t significantly changed in Glenwood. All of the same problems are still here. BUT, I feel like I’m looking through a new lens. God has brought significant emotional healing to me recently, which has given me a greater hope for our friends in the neighborhood. He’s also been teaching me to release control to him (in a number of way), because the truth is, he knows what he’s doing and he’ll always speak when necessary. It’s funny how placing our hope and dependence in Christ can shift our outlook so significantly.

By shifting my hope and dependence back to Christ, I am experiencing the rest my spirit so desperately needs…and out of that rest comes joy unspeakable.

I hate that I have to be cautious…

I was just hanging up the phone after a conversation with my mom, rounding the corner into my living room. I looked to the front door and saw a black sweatshirt hood in the window of my front door. I usually have the curtain down, but had pulled it up to let some sunshine in today…of course, it was dark now, so I could not see who it was. I assumed it was one of the kids, although the person seemed too tall. Three siblings showed up a few months ago and tried to scare me by knocking on my door and covering their faces completely with their hoods. Needless to say, their giggles gave them away. Tonight, though, it was not one of them.

The man had jumpy eyes…my guess is that he was using. He was looking for a man who lived here who used to help him out with food sometimes when he was hungry. I let him know that the guy (if it was even the same one!) moved out a year and a half ago. He asked if I had some money I could give him to get something to eat. I let him know that I didn’t have any cash and that I was sorry. He left.

I don’t have a lot of food in my house right now, but I did have a pack of peanuts and some crackers I could’ve given him. I just didn’t feel comfortable opening the door. We were speaking through the door, so we both had to be close to hear one another, but he was pushed extremely close. Having the suspicion that he was using made me even less willing to open it. It’s not that I think he would have tried to harm me, but it would have been VERY easy for him too.

All that to say, I hate that I could have helped, and didn’t. I hate that I have to be cautious. I hate that I have to worry about protecting myself. I wish that it was as easy as opening the door, inviting him in and sharing a meal. But as a single woman, that’s just not an option.
I trust that God will provide food for him. I know that his provision does not rely on me. I just hate that the world is broken to the point that I feel like I have to fear people.

Why do you go to Hooters?

Our neighborhood dance team had a recital a few weeks ago and I was in charge of the boys who came to volunteer. I had about 6 or 7 middle school boys. We had a blast. The boys are a lot of fun to work with — they may be knuckleheads sometimes, but in general, they’re pretty drama free.

Anyhow, after the recital, I loaded the boys up in the church van to take them home. On the way to drop one of the boys off, we passed a Hooters. What followed cracked me up!

MS Boy #1: HOOTERS!!!!!!
MS Boy #2: Oh, Miss Dayna! We want to go to Hooters!! (all the boys joined in at this point)
Me: You have got to be kidding me! There’s no WAY I’m going to take you to Hooters. Y’all must be crazy!
Me: Really?! Now I KNOW you don’t want to go for the wings!
MS Boy #3 (the youngest one in the van): No, we want to go for the chicken BREAST!
Me: Wow…that was a good one, but I’m still not takin’ ya!

It’s terrible, I know, but oh so witty! They had me rolling!

Violence, Part 2

I’ve had some time to think since my last post on the domestic violence that I witnessed, and I feel like it warrants a follow-up. Stick with me here…it’s not as long as it looks…

Many people responded to my post on Facebook, this blog, and in person. Most of them said that I made the right decision, that you have to be careful not to put yourself in harm’s way, and that I could have gotten hurt if I had intervened. And in general, they were right.


Based on my life experiences, I don’t think that I’ll make the same choice again.

I grew up in a home plagued by domestic violence. I experienced some directly, but watched my mom take the brunt of it. It was hell on earth. It still is hell on earth, sometimes, even though it’s not happening any more. The effects of domestic violence reach far beyond the time they occur.

It has been interesting for me to stop and think about the emotions that I felt. First, there was a suffocating fear. Like my heart was being squeezed to the point of pain, and all the air gone from my lungs. I felt the blood drain from my face, and felt the feeling powerlessness that was all too familiar as a child. The feeling of not being able to stop the horror unfolding in front of me. Then came the adrenaline: the urgency to call the police, the attention to every detail, the need to get someone to help. Finally, the fury. I was not only mad for her, but mad for myself, for my mom, for other women I know who have been abused, and for all the women I don’t know. There is a righteous fury that survivors of domestic violence hold inside of them…one that isn’t generally seen until provoked. It was that righteous fury that made me wish I had intervened.

And honestly, so what if I end up with a black eye, a broken arm? Wounds heal. I know that stepping in would neither cause the abuser to immediately drop to his knees and repent, nor empower the woman to stand up and walk away. More likely, she would simply go back home and refuse to press charges, and the cycle would continue. BUT, if for just one minute, she stopped and thought that someone loved her…stopped to wonder why a stranger would stop to get involved, that could be seed enough for a change down the road. A seed that I hope would eventually point to Christ, and the unimaginable love that he gives.

Yes, there are risks involved. But having LIVED in domestic violence, the risks are totally worth it. Some women never feel empowered enough to leave. Some men are never questioned. I don’t think I can save the world. I don’t feel like I need to intervene. For me, it’s just the right thing to do. I’ve spoken with other survivors who feel the same.

Christ’s love compels Christians to share with others, on account of the forgiveness, grace and mercy He gives. It’s an undeniable, uncontainable joy, and they are compelled to share that with others.

Similarly, living through domestic violence compels the survivor to make a difference in the lives of women living through it now. They know the taste of freedom, and cannot stand to see another woman still in bondage.


I’ve lived in Glenwood for four and a half years now. I know domestic violence happens here. I’ve heard about it. I’ve heard it. I’ve seen the effects of it.

Tonight, I saw it.

As I rounded the corner of Union Street and Silver Avenue, a man punched a woman in the head, knocking her to the ground. He then continued to threaten her. Less than a minute later, they were both getting back in their car, pulling away.

I wanted to get out and help her. But, fear of getting hurt myself kept me in my car. I pulled over and called the police, keeping an eye on them the whole time. Of course, the couple left long before the police even started their cars.

As I pulled away, fury set in. I wish I had gotten out of the car. Screamed. Yelled. Fought. Done something to help her. I don’t care if I would have been hurt.

In the end, I know the “smart” decision was to stay in the car. But at this moment, I regret it.

I hope she’s alright when they get home.

Funny Quote of the Day

First, good news — by the miraculous provision of God, we made $1,200 at the camp fundraising bakesale today! Last year we only made around $200, so this was a huge surprise, Thank you Jesus!

Upon hearing the figure, one of our kids, K, exclaimed

“$1200?? A drug dealer couldn’t even make that in a day!!!”

While that statement may or may not be valid, and sounds kind of funny at first, it speaks volumes to the frame of reference our kids live in.

“We met on the chat line…”

Yesterday I ran into a teen boy that I got to know a little bit last year. T was sitting on a fence, waiting for his shoes to dry (that could be a whole story in itself). Here’s the way our conversation went:

D (me): So, how are things going?

T: Pretty good. I’m getting ready to move to South Carolina.

D: South Carolina? What’s there?

T: I’m going to live with my girlfriend.

D: Oh, ok. Do you have a job lined up yet?

T: Yeah, at Burger King.

(Don’t laugh yet…it gets better)

D: So, when are you moving?

T: At the end of this week.

D: Geez, you really are moving soon! How’d you meet your girlfriend?

T: We met on the chat line. I figured, now that we’ve talked for a while, we might as well meet.

D: Wait a minute…you’ve never met her, and you’re moving in with her?!?! What if she’s, like, 80 years old and 800 pounds or something???

(I know, I’m a little dramatic sometimes)

T just stares, with a surprised expression on his face.

D: You know she could be lying right? That’s pretty crazy to just move in with her when you’ve never met her.

T: Yeah, I guess maybe we’ll just meet this time. I don’t know. (with a smirk) I guess she could be 80 years old.

D: And 800 pounds.

(We both kind of laughed for a second)

D: Well, best of luck to you.

Just another crazy day in the neighborhood…


One of our girls, K, is pregnant. 5 months or so, now. About a month ago Suzanne and I took her out to dinner to talk to her about her pregnancy, what her plans were, and to make sure she knew all of her options. Overall, it went very well. We had dinner, then went over to Target to pick up some maternity clothes for her, as she could no longer button her jeans. Later, I went out and picked up one more outfit for her. Everytime we’ve seen her since then, she’s been wearing one outfit or the other, so it was clear that she needed some more clothes. When we were out the first time, we told her that we’d see if we could find some more for her, and she said that sounded fine.

Fast forward to today. A friend of ours bought several outfits for K, and I had picked up another piece or two as well. They’ve been sitting at my house for a week or two. Today we saw K at her grandma’s house, and she didn’t speak to us. At all. I figured that she must’ve just woken up or something — a lot of our kids are pretty grouchy if they’re tired. Later we ran to my house to pick up the bag of clothes to take to her. Suzanne jumped out of the car and took them over to K. To our surprise/dismay/hurt/??? K, with a hardened look on her face, said “I don’t want them. I don’t need them.” And turned away.

I don’t know what happened in the last month. I don’t know why she’s so angry with us, but it’s clear something has happened. I wonder if it’s the “charity” thing, that maybe someone said something to her about it. I don’t know. At this point, I don’t even view it as charity. She’s a friend, a loved one. Whether she needed maternity clothes or not, I still would have wanted to buy her some, just because it’s so exciting.

Anyhow, it didn’t bother me so much at the moment, but the more I think about it, the more it saddens me. In a deep, deep way.