Just because your poor doesn't mean you have to be dirty.....


Hey Y'all!! I have touched down back in the land of the Flip Flops Family late last night.YAHOO! We sure have missed these kids.....there's no place like home! Thank God the Mr got his work completed sooner than expected. Unless I am on a tropical island somewhere, little umberella drink in hand, 6 nights away is too many! {even if it's nothing but shopping!!}

With the holidays here, I wanted to repost this entry. As we sat next to the interstate last night @ a red light and saw the homeless man with his sign, the Mr scurries into his pockect to give this poor sole some money. You see, we often wonder at times when we see these things if the really are homeless or what exactly their story is. I know it was very cool, he was very dirty and it was late. I would rather take the chance of helping someone that didn't need it than passing up someone who really did. 

Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Hebrews 13:2  You see, regardless of their motive, God knows our heart!! Although the Mr did tell him, DO NOT BUY ALCOHOL with this $$$, go get you some food :) We drove away & all I could do was try to look through my tear filled eyes as I thought of all the people whom this holiday season will be nothing short of a nightmare for. No gifts under the tree, no holiday meal {not @ their house at least} no gifts from Santa....et.c etc.......

{a kleenex or 10 might be a good thing to grab as well....}


Have you ever thought this before?
Passed an old tiny falling apart house/trailer and there is junk all in the yard....
You see them in the grocery store and they have dirty faces......
you can see they don't have much money but you think couldn't you wash your face or brush your hair.....
you get the picture-
{Lord tell me I am not the only one cause it gets my attention mainly cause it breaks my heart, my thoughts always go straight to the kids, heart.breaks}

If I have said it once, I have said it 1001 times.
It really made sense to me.
You don't have to have money to be clean-

My husband, as many of you know is in school. For 1 of his classes he had to read this essay. It really got to him & he wanted to share it with the kids and I. We all sat at the dinner table last night as he read the following- let me just say my kids sat speechless with glossy eyes & I cried & cried. I never judge people, never ever. I just "assume"..I "think".....but really, I "don't even know"....all I can say is Thank You Lord for opening my eyes & that of my family. This couldn't have come at a better time as we are kicking off the holiday season. Today, my mission is to find somewhere to volunteer to help the needy this holiday season, as a family!
{God willing I will be able to do it, ugh I cried like a baby just listening to the story but I must}

"What Is Poverty?"
Jo Goodwin Parker
The following selection was published in America's Other Children: Public Schools Outside Suburbs, by George Henderson in 1971 by the University of Oklahoma Press. The author has requested that no biographical information about her be distributed. The essay is a personal account, addressed directly to the reader, about living in poverty.
[1958 words]

You ask me what is poverty? Listen to me. Here I am, dirty, smelly, and with no "proper" underwear on and with the stench of my rotting teeth near you. I will tell you. Listen to me. Listen without pity. I cannot use your pity. Listen with understanding. Put yourself in my dirty, worn out, ill-fitting shoes, and hear me.
Poverty is getting up every morning from a dirt- and illness-stained mattress. The sheets have long since been used for diapers. Poverty is living in a smell that never leaves. This is a smell of urine, sour milk, and spoiling food sometimes joined with the strong smell of long-cooked onions. Onions are cheap. If you have smelled this smell, you did not know how it came. It is the smell of the outdoor privy. It is the smell of young children who cannot walk the long dark way in the night. It is the smell of the mattresses where years of "accidents" have happened. It is the smell of the milk which has gone sour because the refrigerator long has not worked, and it costs money to get it fixed. It is the smell of rotting garbage. I could bury it, but where is the shovel? Shovels cost money.

Poverty is being tired. I have always been tired. They told me at the hospital when the last baby came that I had chronic anemia caused from poor diet, a bad case of worms, and that I needed a corrective operation. I listened politely - the poor are always polite. The poor always listen. They don't say that there is no money for iron pills, or better food, or worm medicine. The idea of an operation is frightening and costs so much that, if I had dared, I would have laughed. Who takes care of my children? Recovery from an operation takes a long time. I have three children. When I left them with "Granny" the last time I had a job, I came home to find the baby covered with fly specks, and a diaper that had not been changed since I left. When the dried diaper came off, bits of my baby's flesh came with it. My other child was playing with a sharp bit of broken glass, and my oldest was playing alone at the edge of a lake. I made twenty-two dollars a week, and a good nursery school costs twenty dollars a week for three children. I quit my job.
Poverty is dirt. You can say in your clean clothes coming from your clean house, "Anybody can be clean." Let me explain about housekeeping with no money. For breakfast I give my children grits with no oleo or cornbread without eggs and oleo. This does not use up many dishes. What dishes there are, I wash in cold water and with no soap. Even the cheapest soap has to be saved for the baby's diapers. Look at my hands, so cracked and red. Once I saved for two months to buy a jar of Vaseline for my hands and the baby's diaper rash. When I had saved enough, I went to buy it and the price had gone up two cents. The baby and I suffered on. I have to decide every day if I can bear to put my cracked sore hands into the cold water and strong soap. But you ask, why not hot water? Fuel costs money. If you have a wood fire it costs money. If you burn electricity, it costs money. Hot water is a luxury. I do not have luxuries. I know you will be surprised when I tell you how young I am. I look so much older. My back has been bent over the wash tubs every day for so long, I cannot remember when I ever did anything else. Every night I wash every stitch my school age child has on and just hope her clothes will be dry by morning.

Poverty is staying up all night on' cold nights to watch the fire knowing one spark on the newspaper covering the walls means your sleeping child dies in flames. In summer poverty is watching gnats and flies devour your baby's tears when he cries. The screens are torn and you pay so little rent you know they will never be fixed. Poverty means insects in your food, in your nose, in your eyes, and crawling over you when you sleep. Poverty is hoping it never rains because diapers won't dry when it rains and soon you are using newspapers. Poverty is seeing your children forever with runny noses. Paper handkerchiefs cost money and all your rags you need for other things. Even more costly are antihistamines. Poverty is cooking without food and cleaning without soap.
Poverty is asking for help. Have you ever had to ask for help, knowing 6 your children will suffer unless you get it? Think about asking for a loan from a relative, if this is the only way you can imagine asking for help. I will tell you how it feels. You find out where the office is that you are supposed to visit. You circle that block four or five times. Thinking of your children, you go in. Everyone is very busy. Finally, someone comes out and you tell her that you need help. That never is the person you need to see. You go see another person, and after spilling the whole shame of your poverty all over the desk between you, you find that this isn't the right office after all-you must repeat the whole process, and it never is any easier at the next place.
You have asked for help, and after all it has a cost. You are again told to wait. You are told why, but you don't really hear because of the red cloud of shame and the rising cloud of despair.
Poverty is remembering. It is remembering quitting school in junior high because "nice" children had been so cruel about my clothes and my smell. The attendance officer came. My mother told him I was pregnant. I wasn't, but she thought that I could get a job and help out. I had jobs off and on, but never long enough to learn anything. Mostly I remember being married. I was so young then. I am still young. For a time, we had all the things you have. There was a little house in another town, with hot water and everything. Then my husband lost his job. There was unemployment insurance for a while and what few jobs I could get. Soon, all our nice things were repossessed and we moved back here. I was pregnant then. This house didn't look so bad when we first moved in. Every week it gets worse. Nothing is ever fixed. We now had no money. There were a few odd jobs for my husband, but everything went for food then, as it does now. I don't know how we lived through three years and three babies, but we did. I'll tell you something, after the last baby I destroyed my marriage. It had been a good one, but could you keep on bringing children in this dirt? Did you ever think how much it costs for any kind of birth control? I knew my husband was leaving the day he left, but there were no goodbye between us. I hope he has been able to climb out of this mess somewhere. He never could hope with us to drag him down.
That's when I asked for help. When I got it, you know how much it was? It was, and is, seventy-eight dollars a month for the four of us; that is all I ever can get. Now you know why there is no soap, no needles and thread, no hot water, no aspirin, no worm medicine, no hand cream, no shampoo. None of these things forever and ever and ever. So that you can see clearly, I pay twenty dollars a month rent, and most of the rest goes for food. For grits and cornmeal, and rice and milk and beans. I try my best to use only the minimum electricity. If I use more, there is that much less for food.

Poverty is looking into a black future. Your children won't play with my boys. They will turn to other boys who steal to get what they want. I can already see them behind the bars of their prison instead of behind the bars of my poverty. Or they will turn to the freedom of alcohol or drugs, and find themselves enslaved. And my daughter? At best, there is for her a life like mine.
But you say to me, there are schools. Yes, there are schools. My children have no extra books, no magazines, no extra pencils, or crayons, or paper and most important of all, they do not have health. They have worms, they have infections, they have pink-eye all summer. They do not sleep well on the floor, or with me in my one bed. They do not suffer from hunger, my seventy-eight dollars keeps us alive, but they do suffer from malnutrition. Oh yes, I do remember what I was taught about health in school. It doesn't do much good.
In some places there is a surplus commodities program. Not here. The country said it cost too much. There is a school lunch program. But I have two children who will already be damaged by the time they get to school.
But, you say to me, there are health clinics. Yes, there are health clinics and they are in the towns. I live out here eight miles from town. I can walk that far (even if it is sixteen miles both ways), but can my little children? My neighbor will take me when he goes; but he expects to get paid, one way or another. I bet you know my neighbor. He is that large man who spends his time at the gas station, the barbershop, and the corner store complaining about the government spending money on the immoral mothers of illegitimate children.

Poverty is an acid that drips on pride until all pride is worn away. Poverty is a chisel that chips on honor until honor is worn away. Some of you say that you would do something in my situation, and maybe you would, for the first week or the first month, but for year after year after year?
Even the poor can dream. A dream of a time when there is money. Money for the right kinds of food, for worm medicine, for iron pills, for toothbrushes, for hand cream, for a hammer and nails and a bit of screening, for a shovel, for a bit of paint, for some sheeting, for needles and thread. Money to pay in money for a trip to town. And, oh, money for hot water and money for soap. A dream of when asking for help does not eat away the last bit of pride. When the office you visit is as nice as the offices of other governmental agencies, when there are enough workers to help you quickly, when workers do not quit in defeat and despair. When you have to tell your story to only one person, and that person can send you for other help and you don't have to prove your poverty over and over and over again.
I have come out of my despair to tell you this. Remember I did not come from another place or another time. Others like me are all around you. Look at us with an angry heart, anger that will help you help me. Anger that will let you tell of me. The poor are always silent. Can you be silent too?



  1. Wowwie! Now that is powerful. It really makes you stop and think. And to be thankful for everything we do have and how we should never take it for granted.

  2. Thank you for posting this...I work with children in poverty and it took me awhile to understand that these kids aren't just too lazy to shower; they either don't have money for hot water/soap or a PLACE to shower. It's amazing how much we take for granted...if I ever don't have hot water, I can go to the gym (where I pay a membership) or a hotel (that I can afford). These people have no other options. THANK YOU for posting this :) I'm going to share this with everyone!

  3. thank you for sharing this article. i have read it before, actually, in one of my graduate classes. i think it is worth a read for all people, not just those in school/set to work with students.

  4. Ohhh honey... it gave me chills. Thanks for posting this. I absolutely love this time of year, but I always feel a little sadness along with all of the holiday cheer - i think it's stories just like this one that cause that sadness. Not everyone is happy during the holidays - and you're right, it's a great time for those that are super blessed to help in some way. I will see what I can do. :)

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. Daphne -

    You're post today really brings to mind a young lady I went to school with. Her family was living in poverty and she was mocked daily. I am ashamed to say I did not befriend her, though I did not mock her either. Today, she is living proof that dreams do come true. Due to her ambition and intelligence, she was able to rise up out of her poverty and bring her family with her. Still, that type of happy-ever-after is only too rare. This holiday season, our church is working to de-materialize. One way we are doing this includes working with our local government to help those locally in need. I pray that this holiday season, we all move outside our comfort zone and give instead of receive. Give ourselves, our time, our love. Thank you for sharing and thank you for caring!

    Run on.

  6. What a very powerful post. Thanks for giving me a different perspective on poverty....I am so thankful for my life and what I have.

  7. Hi Daphne,

    thank you for posting this powerful essay... i love it...

    and thanks for stopping by Underneath His Wrapping... its indeed very nice to meet you! thanks to HHL...:)

    i've been meaning to come by.. but have been busy


  8. Very sad - she needs to go to church. Not once did she mention faith or seeking help with any religions -- it's amazing what the non profits and churches of this nation come together to do for people in these situations.

  9. Wow, that is really eye-opening. Thank you for posting.

  10. This is a very POWERFUL story... a great reminder that we must always do our best to show compassion and to be grateful for what we have, instead of complaining about not having the latest of this or that.

    I always try to remember ~ someone living in poverty could be the next doctor, or teacher if only given a chance and helping hand. It is most important to teach children to be compassionate for those who may have less then them , instead of being mean.

    my heart breaks to read these stories .... Wishing you a wonderful week-end my friend!!! xo HHL

  11. wow -- this moved me to tears. Thank you for sharing it with us, it is so powerful. I am like you, I see these things and it hurts my heart and makes me sad. It then makes me even more grateful for the many blessings in my life.

  12. wow that was powerful.

  13. thanks for posting such moving story! definitely gets you thinking!

    have a great weekend!

  14. thanks for the poignant post. very thought provoking and pokes my heart in a most uncomfortable way.
    i'm linking to you and posting about the advent conspiracy. it's a call to offer up more of ourselves instead of over-indulging on ourselves.
    thanks for a timely reminder.

  15. Wow - that is powerful, thanks for sharing!

  16. Sniff sniff, the cross some bear! I never pass a homeless person that my heart doesn't break a million times over when I think about the many ways God has blessed my life! Thanks for this touching and thought provoking post! Enjoy your weekend, friend! Are you running in the Senior Bowl race this weekend?

  17. Good morning from Tokyo! I discovered your blog through my friend, Ruth's, of This G.R.I.T.S. Tale.

    I want to thank you for keeping this story up. I have tears in my eyes as I type this. In Japan, most things such as poverty, ill children (mentally and otherwise) is swept under the rug as it's considered burdensome and an embarrassment. This is a nation built on pride and there is little to no room for those who are "different". It breaks my heart to think about that, to read this story, to consider all those who are being dismissed and left behind when we could actually do something. I want to thank you for sparking my indignation further at this situation and remembering to not take my familys blessings for granted~though Lord knows I often do.

    Take care and enjoy your weekend.



  18. Very moving and powerful. Thanks for sharing. And thanks for checking up on me, it's nice to be missed. I'm back up and running. Have a great week. Preppy from Bay

  19. Very, very touching. i have tears in my eyes.

  20. Powerful, moving and brings us all back to reality. I saw your comment on another post about getting your heart results back. Is everything okay? I will be praying for you


  21. Powerful stuff, D! Puts it all in perspective doesn't it, especially at this time of year!

    Thanks for linking up...jealous of your pedi! Glad you're back home in Sweet Home Alabama!

    Happy Friday!