Voices (Part 2)

Part 1

A month ago I used my phone’s GPS for just the second time.

The daughter of my dearest friend was getting married and out of complete necessity, I was driving myself.  It was my first and only real ‘outing’ on my own in over two months, but one of those things I was going to push the limits on and get myself to – no matter what! Especially after my health had already meant missing the bridal shower.

I had used MapQuest the night before and printed out the directions.  As I headed out, I realized plugging the address in my GPS would probably be safer so each turn was dictated to me and I wasn’t glancing at my printed directions.

Since I used the same google account to look up the address both on my computer and on my phone, it pulled up the saved destination as soon as I began typing in the wedding venue.  I clicked on it and selected navigate.

I looked briefly at the first few steps, and thought it was a bit odd that they weren’t the same as my MapQuest directions, but chalked it up to having my starting point as my “current location,” which was actually the pharmacy down the street, not my home nearby.

My gut made me pause and wonder if that was a bad assumption, but knowing they both used the same ultimate destination, I figured it must just be taking me a different way.  I continued on, glad I once again knew the general area, as the GPS lady made appalling attempts at pronunciations of freeway exits and street names, wondering again how someone completely unfamiliar with the area would ever arrive at their intended destination.

Getting closer to the coast, I realized that where I was headed was not where it seemed the destination actually was when I had looked at the directions on the computer the night before.  When the GPS gave one last set of directions: “make a u-turn in 100 feet, and your destination will be on the right,” I knew something was wrong.

Pulling over to the first place I could safely stop, I compared my printed MapQuest directions with the phone GPS instructions.  Both showed the same end point, but they clearly were not in the same place.  How was that even possible?

Being wary after the earlier fiasco, I wasn’t about to trust it to navigate me to the wedding venue on a second attempt! Thankfully I had left ridiculously early and was able to call someone who knew the area well to help me figure out the best way to get back to a main road so I could pick up with my printed directions and hope to still make it to the wedding in time.

Having chosen to trust what seemed to be the more reliable adviser, the more trustworthy voice, I was steered in the wrong direction.

We are constantly bombarded by voices – those of people in our lives, the internal voices that play in our minds, and the voice of God.

When things are too crazy, the only voices I hear are the voices of fear and shame.  I stop being able to hear the voice of God, the voice of rest, the voice of hope and healing and restoration, the voice that gives new life to dry old bones.  And instead I hear the old song I’ve heard all my life: You’re not good enough.  You’re not good enough.

But that voice is a lie.  And it’s a terrible guide.  When I listen to it, I burn the candle at both ends and try to light the middle while I’m at it.  The voice of God invites us to full, whole living – to rest, to abundance, to enough.  To say no.  To say no more. To say I’m going to choose to live wholly and completely in the present, even though this ragged, run-down person I am right now is so far from perfect.

Bread & Wine, 169-170
Shauna Niequist

It can be so easy to listen to voices that lead us astray.  Sometimes those voices are well-intentioned and other times they disguise themselves as well-intentioned but operate with malicious intent.

Sometimes we’re thrown off course when we listen to or depend on an unreliable voice – whether that’s as a result of their speaking being unclear, or us simply following an inaccurate voice.

There are times we sense that the voice we’re about to follow or that we are hearing is misguiding us, yet we justify our decision to listen to it because the source is one we believe to be reliable.

Other times we are so bombarded with voices that it’s hard to discern the source of any voice and we unintentionally follow a voice leading us astray.

When there are voices screaming at us from every direction, noise cluttering our ability to hear, and voices misguiding us and steering us the wrong direction, it becomes even more important to stop, find a quiet place, and seek out the voice of our Shepherd.

We need to be still and listen to the Voice of Truth, gain our identity and direction from Him.

But the Voice of Truth tells me a different story
The Voice of Truth says, “Do not be afraid!”
And the Voice of Truth says, “This is for My glory.”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe
the Voice of Truth

Voices

The very first verse I recall memorizing growing up was not one of the typical memory verses most start out with (like John 3:16).  Instead, the first verse I memorized was John 10:11.

I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd
lays down his life for the sheep.

(John 10:11, NIV)

I learned that verse around the same time the adventure described below occurred, the time when I was ‘navigating’ my family up to where my grandparents lived.

As I was thinking about the navigating ‘test,’ as well as realizing how close the timing of that first verse was to the navigating experience, it made me think back on the context of John 10:11.  Since, if I were being honest, that particular verse isn’t one I find myself coming back to over and over, so it seemed like a God thing as far as how He connected those two things in my heart.

Looking at some of the verses preceding John 10:11, I was struck by the emphasis on the theme of voices, and the differentiation of how sheep respond to the shepherd’s voice contrasted with that of a stranger.

…the sheep recognize his voice
and come to him.

He calls his own sheep by name
and leads them out. 

After he has gathered his own flock,
he walks ahead of them,

and they follow him
because they know his voice. 

They won’t follow a stranger;
they will run from him
because they don’t know his voice.

(John 10:3b-5, NLT)

***

God has blessed me with a pretty good memory and sense of direction.  Both of those things can be a blessing and a curse.

It didn’t take long for my parents to realize I had an unusual innate ability to remember where places were or to get back to somewhere I had only been once.

A year or so after my grandparents moved out to Southern California, I brazenly convinced my parents that I could drive up to where my grandparents lived twenty or so miles away.  That was a pretty gutsy claim for someone who was only about five years old and who spent most of her car rides not wanting to waste a minute that could be spent reading – so it’s not as if I spent every drive staring out the window! Needless to say they didn’t actually allow me to drive, but I vividly recall sitting in the middle of the front seat of our old blue Buick, telling my astonished parents exactly how to get to the house.

Times like now, when I’m feeling so lousy and things take more effort than normal or there are times it seems like things they go in one ear and out the other, I’d love to be able to erase some of the useless or undesirable information my memory is storing.

For instance, still being able to find my way around Tokyo, dependent on rail signs only in Kanji, a city I only spent a few weeks in, going to places I haven’t been in two decades now just doesn’t seem like the most useful bit of information to continue to store in my brain.

tokyo subway map

The location of the best egg salad sandwiches I’ve ever had? Complete with no foreign objects in the egg salad and crust-free bread, just as egg salad sandwiches should be?  Yup, I can walk those streets in my mind as well.  Now if only I knew if that little sandwich shop in a Tokyo suburb was actually still there all these years later!

I gained a reputation with my family and friends serving as their own personal GPS system.

Until about a year ago, I never even had the option of using an actual GPS device.  Having had an archaic cell phone, there was no way to even use GPS on my dinosaur of a phone.

But when my mom and I were out at Mayo on our first trip there last year, I did use the GPS on her phone a few times when we were trying to find a particular type of store in a specific area.

The GPS on her phone was great – a rather pleasant voice, accurate directions, and no crazy convoluted routings.

Unfortunately, my phone doesn’t allow for the same GPS system to be used.  And although it’s not something I have cause to need often, twice I’ve depended on my phone’s GPS system.

Southern California has a lot of cities and street names of various origins, and many are, in part (or entirely) in Spanish. While not everyone pronounces them correctly, most at least get close or can take an accurate stab at the street names.

Trying to get between one doctor’s office and another specialist’s office a couple of months ago, we planned to stop by Sonic on the way.  If I have to go to the far side of town, taking advantage of being near the one local Sonic is a perk worth jumping on! I knew there must be a more direct way than what instinctively came to mind, so I plugged the info into the GPS on my phone to navigate for the person with me.

When the GPS said to turn left on “L – 40,” I scratched my head a bit. We’re not as big on streets with letters or numbers in their names as many other places are. Though I wasn’t in my neck of the woods, it’s still an area I am quite familiar with and I couldn’t begin to figure out what street the GPS meant.

As we drove past “El Fuerte,” I realized that relying on her voice alone we were not going to get to our destinations in an even remotely efficient manner, even with one of us being fluent in Spanish who should have taken into account possible mispronunciations because of language being butchered by a computerized voice.  With no Spanish speaking ability or exposure, or not speaking English comfortably one would have faced even greater challenges trying to discern what the GPS voice intended to convey.

Three other grossly mispronounced street names in just a few miles time made it apparent how easily one could be thrown off course as a result of depending on an unreliable or inaccurate voice.

(To be continued Sunday evening)

Five Minute Friday: Imagine

5 minute friday Linking up with Lisa-Jo and the great group that participates in Five Minute Friday. The main rule is to write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking – on the topic that Lisa-Jo posts about each week.

The topic for this week:  Imagine

Not that it’s not always true to some extent or another, but I can’t even begin to imagine what God is up to right now.

I can’t begin to imagine what He is planning to bring out of the craziness and messiness of the last seven months.

I can’t begin to imagine what’s behind His timetable of essentially keeping me ‘stuck’ in this place of waiting and almost being held hostage by insurance issues and red tape.

I can’t begin to imagine how He’s going to bring things to some sort of resolution, when already complex health issues continue to get increasingly compounded.

I can’t begin to imagine how He’s going to provide for needs that seem even more astronomical now.

I can’t begin to imagine what He’s going to bring out of the ashes of this past year, when the price my health has caused me to pay is at the cost of so much – my house, my job, my independence, and (much of) my support system.

I can’t begin to imagine where He’ll have me next now that nearly every aspect of my life is so uncertain and up in the air.

I can’t begin to imagine how or when He’ll bring about a new normal to my life – or what normal even is anymore.

I can’t begin to imagine what good He’s going to bring out of all of this.

And I can’t begin to imagine how He’s going to use this for His glory.

But that’s why He’s God and I’m not.

And so I’ll try to keep clinging to the confidence that He knows what lies around each corner, every twist and turn, and that nothing about any of this is catching Him off guard.

…I Will Always Have Hope

Some days the thoughtfulness of people blows me away.

A totally unexpected gift showed up in the mail from a sweet friend.

amazing hope necklace

She had it made for me – combining my word, my verse, and my star ‘thing’ – all things she knew were especially meaningful to me from a blog post last month.

Isn’t it amazing?

And the timing was perfect.

After a lot of days when things have gotten more frustrating and complicated, the reminder that people are praying and needing to cling to hope is even more necessary, this was just an incredible gift on the perfect day for it to arrive.

Thank you, friend!

This Round World – (in)Courage

landcruiser stuck

The roads made an instant impression on me when I first arrived in Africa.

From cars driving at night without headlights on the way home from the airport in Nairobi, to helplessly passing by accident scenes after learning that stopping to offer assistance would often lead to accepting culpability for an event you may not have even been in the vicinity of, to experiencing what happens when your vehicle breaks down at dusk in a volatile area where pre-election violence had become the norm, it’s little surprise that many of my first journal entries include something road related.

flying to TZHowever, it was when flying down to the village in Tanzania that I realized the adventures involving roads had only just begun in Kenya.

As the pilot pointed out the ‘road,’ he explained that was the good portion, that the rest was far iffier and difficult to characterize as any sort of road.

The lessons God brought to mind as I reflected on those African roads both challenged and encouraged me, and are just as relevant to my life today as they were back then.

Please join me over at (in)Courage to read more!

A New Perspective

Munich is a place I have come to love for reasons far beyond the fact that I have dear friends living there.  It’s actually one of the cities overseas I feel most comfortable in and that I’ve spent considerable amount of time alone in, despite the fact that German is one language I hardly can say more than a dozen words in.

After spending a morning wandering the lush and spacious English Gardens (Englischer Garten), I headed towards the city center mid-afternoon.  While simultaneously people watching, enjoying a fresh German pretzel, taking a few pictures, and studying architecture, I suddenly stopped when I noticed a man intently looking up at the tower of St. Peter’s Church.

St. Peter’s Church (also called Alter Peter or Old Peter – Peterskirche) was originally the site of a chapel in the 8th century; the city of Munich was built up around it.  Burned and eventually rebuilt in 1368, with the tower and steeple added in the 17th century, it now stands 302 feet tall (or about 30 stories).

St Peters 1

Unable to make out exactly what captured this man’s attention, I used the zoom on my camera to try to see more clearly.

St Peters 2

(Clicking on that photo takes you to a larger version of it)

I realized that there were people up there standing along the fencing over the tower’s steeple.

(Looking near the fencing just below the green dome, one individual is standing just a hair away from 6 o’clock, three are standing at the corner sort of between 7 and 8 o’clock – what almost looks like another in the other corner by 5 o’clock is one of those viewing things that you see on some buildings or places with good views)

For a reason I still cannot possibly even come up with, going up there myself seemed like a good plan.

I never really contemplated exactly how high up there I would wind up, nor exactly how darn many stairs there were to climb in order to get there.  And I definitely didn’t being to think about exactly what the ‘flooring’ would be like up at the top!

I suppose that all that crossed my mind was that standing at the top of the tower would be a unique way to gain a new perspective.

St Peters stairs

These cement stairs were at the bottom of the tower.  Any sort of handrail was  non-existent for portions of it, and at times, the spiraling stairs didn’t even have a central wall, meaning they opened to the round of stairs below. I found it disorienting, difficult to assess exactly how far I had come or how much further I had to go.

It was a very warm day and the dozens of flights and hundreds of stairs soon had me second guessing my decision to climb up the tower.  The corridor got narrower the further up I went.  Most of the time it was so narrow that if someone was coming the opposite direction the only option was to flatten yourself against the wall as much as possible and hope the other could pass by. The stairs became more unpredictable – switching between becoming slipperier or more rickety, and closer together or further apart.  It was impossible to predict where my foot would next land, let alone was coming around the next bend.

Eventually I reached the top – very hot and very tired.  As I was about to step out onto the platform, I stopped before even placing my foot down.  What I hadn’t been able to tell from down below was what the bottom of the platform was made of something best described as grating.

Although I wouldn’t say I have a fear of heights, I have a degree of what my mother calls her ‘fear of edges.’ From below, it appeared I could take photos and enjoy the view standing on the inside of the tower platform, essentially keeping my back against the wall.  But when I got up to the top of the tower, I realized every step I took out on the platform would force me to see those gratings – essentially putting my fear of edges right in front of me with each step, even if I went with my plan of trying not to look over the edge directly.

Other than a man taking photos for postcards, almost the entire time I was up on the tower platform I was up there alone.  Had he not been on his way back down shortly after I made it to the top, I probably would have asked him to take photos with my camera for me.  Though I pushed myself enough to walk along the platform to take photos, I couldn’t convince myself that standing at the railing’s edge was a great idea, despite the fact that on clear days it’s possible to even see the Alps from the tower.

Although it was entirely out of my comfort zone, looking down from the tower gave me an entirely different perspective.

Essentially all of the green in the background of this photo is part of the Englischer Garten.  In the foreground is part of the Residenz (palace) that was used by many German Dukes and Kings.

part of English Gardens

The Frauenkirche “Cathedral of our Blessed Lady” is the largest church in Munich.  It is primarily a Gothic cathedral with some mixed Renaissance touches.  Built around 1500, it replaces an earlier church which stood there.

Frauenkirche

The next photo is of what is probably the most widely recognized structure in Munich, and built off the main square, Marienplatz, home to both the old and new city hall buildings.

Marienplatz

The town hall (the rathaus) building houses the glockenspiel.  Although it chimes throughout the day, at 11 am, noon, and 5 pm, a little reenactment occurs, drawing big crowds.  For many tourists, I’m sure it’s vaguely reminiscent of Disney’s It’s a Small World.

Mplatz details

The glockenspiel has 43 bells and 32 life-size figures housed in the carillon and they reenact two different scenes during a 12-15 minute ‘show’ – the time it runs varies based on which music plays that particular time.

Knowing Munich well enough allows you to plan to get a bite to eat or something to drink at one of the cafes or restaurants in the Marienplatz.  Sitting about five stories up allows you to be about eye-level with the glockenspiel for one of the reenactments.

Photo by Dan Nevill – Creative Commons

Although Munich is a city I know well, one I have wandered and explored, and one I feel very at home in, seeing it from above gave me an entirely new perspective.  Distances appeared different – places I walk on foot that seem so far apart are actually much closer to one another when looking at them from above.  Maze-like streets and neighborhoods weren’t nearly as complicated as it seemed at ground level.  From above, it was easier to determine where a series of destinations were in relation to one another, allowing me to gain insight into the most efficient route between them or the most logical order for stops on my next outing.

The view from above gave me a glimpse into the perspective that God sees when He looks at my life.

God knows the bigger picture when I can only discern the next step.  The things I perceive as detours or hassles, red lights or caution signs, are there because He sees the sinkhole up ahead. The times it feels as if He has me on a circuitous route and I’m getting nowhere fast may actually be there for my protection, preventing me from coming into danger.

The times it feels as if I’m so far away from my destination, I’m reminded that God sees the bigger picture, reassuring me that my starting point, my current location, and my ultimate destination are all within His view. He is aware of every detail, of every intimate bit of information of where He has me and where He’ll lead me.

I am so thankful for the man who stopped to study the people up on the lookout of St. Peter’s tower and steeple, causing me, in turn, to decide to go to the top myself.  The walk up to the top wasn’t particularly fun, and company along the way would have made it more enjoyable.  I’m sure I never would have even considered going to the top if I had known being up there meant not only my dislike of edges, but also being forced to see them with each step because of the grating the platform was made of.  Still, the perspective it gave me on my beloved Munich was worth it.

More than that, however, the reminder of the view and perspective God has from above made it more than worth the climb to the top!

If you would like to see a (phenomenally clear) 360 degree video someone who doesn’t have a fear of edges took while panning from the top of the tower, it’s available here.

Five Minute Friday: View

5 minute friday Linking up with Lisa-Jo and the great group that participates in Five Minute Friday. The main rule is to write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking – on the topic that Lisa-Jo posts about each week.

The topic for this week:  View

There are so many times I wish I could see things from God’s point of view.  To be able to see the bigger picture, more than just a glimpse of what is going on, or the way He is going to work things out for my good and His glory would provide a measure of reassurance and peace.

At the same time, if I could really see from His point of view, not only would it not require the same measure of faith, but seeing the challenges and struggles around the bend probably wouldn’t make things any easier than walking through them uncertain of the outcome at this very moment does anyway.

Thinking about the word view also brings to mind a movie from a few years ago, Vantage Point.  Vaguely reminiscent of the TV series 24, and far more suspenseful and full of explosions and things prone to make one jumpy than I’m typically fond of, Vantage Point was a rather unique movie, though it was met with oddly mixed reviews.

Without giving away everything, an incident happens in the first 20 or so minutes of the movie, and then it rewinds and you see the same incident happen from the point of view of another individual.  The entire movie revolves around seeing that one event from the vantage point of each of the other key characters or witnesses.

It’s rare to literally see something from the perspective of someone else.  At times in a book or movie or even just in a conversation, we’ll have a character lend their perspective verbally, but to literally see an event replayed a half dozen or more times from entirely different viewpoints each time made me take pause.

In each case it appeared that individual had the correct or most accurate insight from their point of view.  Yet the event was still shrouded in the frame of reference of each character, complete with their own subtexts and personal biases.

I wish we could rewind and look at the events from the eyes of another – or, at times, from the eyes of several others.  I wish that they could see what I see – and I wish that I could see what they see.  Things could be much clearer – or at least allow for a fuller and more complete picture.

Ultimately, I guess it comes back to how I started this out, thinking about how God has the ultimate view – the ultimate vantage point.

And that?  What reassurance it provides, even if I’m still walking in the midst of uncertainty!

Wonder If (part 2)

If you missed last night’s post, you may want to read it first as this ended up being an unexpected follow-up.

This morning while waiting for my nurse to come, I heard an additional segment of the new Oreo commercial that I previously reflected on.

The new segment is just a typical 30-second commercial spot, but it even more overtly presents a message of the ripple effect our actions can have on another.

It’s rare to find a commercial with much value, let alone one that allows for deeper – even spiritual – implications to be drawn from the words.

I wonder if anyone would have thought that a cookie commercial could challenge our way of thinking or living and encourage people to realize that even the smallest gestures can make a difference?

I wonder if having this little jingle stuck in the heads of those who hear it will change how they live, act, or even react in any given situation?

Wonder if I gave an Oreo
To somebody out there who I didn’t know
Would they laugh after I’d gone?
Or would they pass that wonder on?
I wonder how it’d change your point of view
If I gave one to you?

Wonder If

As I posted awhile back, I’m a multi-tasker, sometimes to an extreme.  That shows up in almost every arena of my life, but nowhere moreso than when it comes to TV.

Unless I’m watching something in another language when I need to be paying closer attention, or watching a movie with someone, I can’t just sit and watch TV or a movie.

During these last six and a half months, my ability to multi-task has all but disappeared.  Much of the time it feels like I can hardly focus on one thing, let alone two or three at once.  That is one of the “normal” life things I find myself frequently frustrated with and one of the things I miss most.

A few days ago, I had a good hour or so when I felt pretty “ok” and I pulled out fabric to start working on some quilts for the kiddos of some friends.  I had the NASCAR race on in the background but was only half tuning in as I tried to concentrate on colours and designs.

Though I didn’t really notice it until the tail end of the commercial the first time, I realized a sort of catchy little tune caught my ear.  When I heard it start again later I stopped and really watched and listened.

A full 90-second spot, it was Oreo’s newest commercial.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times since then I’ve found myself humming this silly tune.

Stopping and really listening to it, I realized how applicable the essence of the message of the commercial actually is to the rest of life.

Taking the “Oreo” piece out of the equation, what happens if we substituted in “grace” or “love” or “forgiveness” or “kindness” or “_______” (any number of other gifts) into any relationship or scenario that we can imagine?

Do we “wonder if” and think about the domino effect of the difference that one act of kindness can have on the lives of people even much further down the line?

Something we do for one individual may change the entire trajectory of their day, week, or even their entire life.  And as a result of the changes that one small act might make in the life of the original person, it has the potential to impact the lives of so many others, as well.

Bringing cookies to a lonely neighbor may brighten their day.  In turn, they may be reminded that even small things can make a big difference, and they might write a note to someone going through a rough time.  When things in their own life turn a corner, that person who had received the note might decide to bless someone else by bringing a meal to a family who just had a new baby.  And on and on and on.

While on face value the commercial is silly, using fictional characters and Oreos, the essence of it is a great reminder and challenge.

Whenever I hear it play in the background or find myself humming it’s catchy little melody, I’ll “wonder if” and resolve to do even little things that might cause a chain reaction of actions to make even a bit of a difference in the life of another person.

Wonderfilled

Wonder if I gave an Oreo
To the big bad wolf
How would the story go?
Would he still go huff and puff?
Or would he bring those pigs cool stuff
To decorate the deck he helped them build?
Would they not get killed?

Wonder if I gave an Oreo
To a vampire
In a creepy show.
Would he not act so undead?
Would he thirst for milk instead?
I’ve just got this feeling that it might work all right

‘Cause cream does wondrous things
Inside a a chocolate sandwich dream

If I gave them to great white sharks
Would they give them to baby seals?
Would they call up a giant squid
For a friendly meal?

Wonder if I gave an Oreo…
Wonder if I gave an Oreo…
What if I gave
An Oreo to you?

Gifts of Grace

The last few days have been such that I’ve been needing to remind myself of glimpses of ways God’s provided little gifts of grace amidst all the not-so-fun stuff.

  • An old ministry partner that I’d not seen but once in the last year texted me out of the blue and asked if she could pick me up so we could catch up and have bite to eat.  It was a sweet nearly five hours of hearing what God’s been up to in her life and dreaming aloud.
  • Getting to spend time with a friend from work – the first time in months I’ve seen any of them except for the couple I saw for a few minutes when I visited a few weeks ago.  We’ve been wanting to get together for months, and the timing ended up being great after some really lousy days prior to it.  I had something to look forward to and a morning full of smiles.
  • I’m humbled and excited to get to have some pieces that will be posted in some other places in the weeks and months to come.  One coming very soon, which is kind of fun!
  • Sonic lemon-berry slushes.  Does more need to be said?!  Sonic is a newer thing for us out here – and the only one anywhere near me is really not very near…so it’s only when I see a particular doctor that I ever really get the chance to get that or limeade with peach – fun diversions from water, water, water or a periodic glass of tea!  Actually, I guess I should thank going to Mayo for getting me to finally try drinks at Sonic since they have a bunch and several people had told me about them, with their ‘rabbit-pellet ice,’ for years and couldn’t believe I’d never been there.
  • My other home health nurse who deals with my DVT/coumadin side of things was super sweet and went out of her way to come here on a Sunday in order to work around all my appointments today and got authorization to draw my labs a day early (which came back horribly, but that’s another issue!) and then resubmit for authorization to continue the visits.
  • Nurse Sassy had family here for her birthday and so I’ve had different nurses the last couple of times.  The one I had today said my name seemed familiar, and when she told me her full name, her name was familiar to me, as well.  We realized we lived in the same small neighborhood for about ten years.  Her oldest daughter graduated with my brother, and her younger kids were at the small school I had taught at over the same time I was there.  We know many, many people in common and just have many oddly overlapping things in our lives.  She just lost her husband a few weeks ago and I had been praying for her, as I’d heard that from others – but now I’ve realized some of the same people asking prayer for a particular woman who just lost her husband were also meaning her.  And as a blessing to me, it’s nice to know that when Sassy has her baby, I’ve got another nurse who’s going to angle to get me on her schedule regularly during that time.
  • Emails from sweet friends I’ve met because of blogging :-)  People I feel so blessed to have gotten to know because of this venue – who I am privileged to get to pray for and who I am grateful to know pray for me, too.
  • A dear friend who called today just to share answers to prayer.  I love that!
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