While Waiting in Line at the Store

I didn’t have much time before I had to be back at work, but that didn’t seem to be as pressing as I thought, because I saw a man’s face in the crowd, and uncontrollably blurted out “hello”, followed by his name.  I hadn’t seen him in years, and yet I somehow knew his name.

He looked straight at me and spoke my name too, which was equally as strange.  I had a hat on my head to hide by messy hair. The brim was pulled down quite low.  I had hoped I was unrecognizable, but then why would I be saying hello?  What was God up to?

The fellow left the line up at the till and walked over.  We went to High School together, he was in my sister’s grade.  Our conversation was as if we knew each other well.  It only took seconds to discover the reason for our familiarity.

“I’ve been a Christian for about six years now” he confessed.  I smiled, “how wonderful” I replied.  He knew I was a believer too.  Ah hah!  We were one in the spirit, brothers and sisters in the family of God.  We shared a powerful bond.

He spoke about his Dad, who had just died recently, and I shared of how my husband and I had just said goodbye to our Mom. I warmly offered my sympathies and raved about how God can help us through even the darkest of times.

He shared about his recent separation, counseling, and the Bible studies he was attending.  I gently reminded him we are all on a journey, and we all make mistakes.  But it is the humble and courageous who recognize their need for help, and their need of God – in order to change.

He told me he had a home church he was attending regularly.  I commended him for not trying to “go it alone.”

I invited him to a monthly community dinner we have for single parents, widowers, the divorced.  “It’s just nice not to have to cook.  By dining together we learn more about that journey we are on, and how we need each other, most importantly how God can help.

We went our separate ways back to our work, but it was evident God had planned another one of His moments.  Life had just gotten a little less lonely.  The world in all it’s frenzy, and indifference had just gotten a little warmer, and made more sense.

I worked that afternoon under a special glow.  We might have a thousand things to do, but none more important than making personal contact.  When we dare to make time for one another, we get to see Jesus in a brand new light.  We get to live on purpose.




…..raking leaves

My plan was to use the treadmill and have breakfast before starting work in the studio.  That plan changed when I walked out into the unusually mild fall weather and saw the dancing leaves.

Many of my neighbors had been sweeping the leaves off their driveways and raking them off their yards, while I had left them carpeting our property with their festive yellow hues.  I marveled at their color and the sound of their voices whispering to me as I swished through them ankle-deep.

The forecast for the next day was rain.  Dry leaves are a joy, wet leaves get really messy.  My morning plans shifted.

As I swept large piles of my yellow friends from the sidewalk into the gutter, I noticed a lady out walking her dog.  To my surprise she waved and crossed the street towards me.

She called out to me by name, and I nodded.

She had seen me leading worship on Thanksgiving Sunday, and recognized me from across the street.  She and her husband were new in town and were attending our church.  She was very pleased about living in the area.

While we chatted she noticed a bird, a white breasted nut hatch, is what I think she called it.  The bird was peeking at us from a nearby branch.  As I listened further, I learned they can go backwards down a tree, and their call sounds like a “sick duck”.  Her words, not mine.

Our conversation shifted to her family.  Sadly her adult sons had suffered issues at Bible School.  Her children shared the same gift and love for music I did.  One of her sons was finding life quite difficult, in a city nearby.  I asked for his name.

I briefly told her about a pattern that had been developing as of late.  I pray for one of my framing customer’s sons, and she prays for mine.  All young people experience challenges as they move out into the world and find their place and purpose.  If it was alright with my new neighbor, I would pray for her son as well.  She nodded and commented on the importance of prayer.

We both embraced on the end of my driveway, and waved goodbye.

I didn’t tell her how my Grandmother’s prayer had saved my life thirty-three years ago on Thanksgiving day.  That’s another major God moment story for some other time.

Missing – leather bound Bible, last seen?

dreamstimefree_175096By recognizing we are ignorant on how to show up in the lives of single parent families, or any other “neighbor” for that matter, a deeper truth appears.

We, the believers of North America have lost our Bibles.  God is not relevant anymore.

With our Bible buried underneath some stack of magazines, God becomes far away and forgotten.  If we get stuck we can pull out a scripture or two or maybe some popular tweet.

Besides, we all have our own problems, and we really shouldn’t be helping anyone else until we get our own lives together, right?

We’ve also become so smart.  Who needs Jesus, who needs to read the Bible?  Look what we can create on our own.

Oops, that’s when our condition is glaringly revealed.  Mankind might look intelligent on the surface, but God sees the heart.  Look out because history is repeating itself.  Contrary to popular belief, we are not getting better.  Society is digressing.

If we desire to be relevant in someone’s life today, first of all be very happy Jesus planted that seed in the first place because it certainly didn’t come from our own self-righteous hearts.  If we want to be relevant in someone’s life, Jesus needs to be relevant in ours.  We need Jesus and we need to know what He is saying to us.  Only through Him will we be able to move past our own flaws and embrace others.  Only by embracing others are we able to really get the big picture!  The Bible, God’s Word is the only place you find the “big picture” and we can hear His voice and see His plan if we read it.

We can stay where we are if we want to, with our techno toys and our busy lives and our own pain, but we’ll miss the miracle – the miracle of love.

And although the “miracle of love” might sound light and fluffy and sweet, it isn’t.  Love is bloody and sacrificial and hard work, and miraculous.  Just ask Jesus, He knows.

John 19:17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull

Luke 9:23  Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

Romans 15:4 NIV  For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

Below is just one website I found with a list of verses that talk about the importance of reading God’s Word.  There are many other resources that can help you dig into scripture.


Hebrews 4:12For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Cindy Palin
Break of Day (practical break for the single parent family in our community)


A Helping Hand or Shovel?

I’ve been devouring story, mostly in movie form, some in paperback or hardcover.  There’s so many out there, but I don’t want to settle for believing that I’m hearing them all.  I can’t be.  There are so many people who don’t get to tell their stories.  Very rarely are they given opportunity and the few who are, often don’t know how to tell them.

What’s more is, I want to pay attention to the stories that are happening around me, the ones that permeate my skin every day, and bubble under the surface.  It’s fine to watch something like “Blind Side” and be pumped for a day or two about the “Good Samaritan”, life changing opportunities around us, but what about getting excited enough to take one or make one, oh wha-ta-heck – what about recognizing one?

Recently, while seeking first the Kingdom, I heard two words “harvest field”.  I’m a visual person and expected to have my eye’s appetite wet with heavy wheat on a rolling hill, instead I saw a cemetery.  There was a fence right in front of me, kind of like the type you would tie something to, not high, not even a deterrent for entry, and yet a crowd stood behind it and observed people stepping into open graves.

I heard another word “help”.  I squeezed my eyes shut as tight as I could for fear one of them would turn and show their face.  I saw an arm, perhaps even mine, extending a shovel.

Now that’s a story that’s happening here.  Opportunities right before our eyes to love our neighbor and instead we’re allowing them to self destruct.  They need help, and instead of doing what ever it takes to meet their needs, to share with them, we’re handing them shovels to dig their own graves.

What are you offering today, a helping hand or shovel?




Dirty Laundry and Broken Hearts

I didn’t realize as I stepped onto the landing and through the door of the laundromat that this day would be THE day a new crack would form in the universe, the universe of my heart.

You don’t have to spend much time in a small town before realizing everyone knows everybody’s business, also known as “dirty laundry” and yet I hadn’t a clue the young man who worked behind the counter along with his two toddlers, had recently been abandoned. 

The above excerpt is from a writing project I’m working on, true accounts of “real life” happening all around me.  Through a recent series of events my faith has been challenged, and I am on a soul journey to learn how to love my neighbor.  By making myself available, specifically to single parents and their children, I am learning something very important about their needs, but even more surprising, I’m learning something very important about myself.

Without Jesus, my love is only as good as the people who gave up on them.

Fragile, fickle, conditional and selfish….

What does true love look like?

What does it mean to love our neighbor?

What does it mean to love the Lord our God with our whole heart, mind and soul?