Monthly Archives: January 2014

Praying for unmarried daughters . . .

There is a penny lying on the floor of the living room.  I pick it up and automatically head for the laundry room.  Over the little bank on top of the washer, my hand pauses, and my heart prays a quick prayer and then I head into Cecilias room to do the next thing.  It has become a beloved ritual.

I read once about a mother who saved pennies which she found unexpectedly and prayed a prayer with every one that her daughter would find a husband.  If I could remember who this was, I could perhaps vouch for its success.  (Actually I’ve heard of more than one mama who has done this.)  I think the end result was that at the wedding reception, a presentation was made of the pennies.  I love this!

I liked it so much that I began my collection.  Every time I found a penny lying around — in the house, in the yard, in a parking lot, on the floor at Wal-mart, I would pick it up, bring it home, pray a prayer over it and drop it into my little round bank.  Sometimes I would have a dilemma.  There were times when two or three or four pennies would accumulate before I would go to drop them in.  I decided that I needed to have a plan.  More than one penny=more than one request.

And so, the basic request that I always prayed would be something like this, “Lord Jesus, please send a guy into Deborah’s life that loves you first and then her next.  May his love for you be so deep and so rich and so full that it is the first thing people notice about him.  May his love for her be just as obvious.”

If there was a second penny, this was the second request as it slipped through the slot.  “Lord Jesus, let this young man be someone that Deborah’s brothers will like.  May they be able, not only to co-exist peacefully, but actually be friends.  And may the rest of us really like him, too” (This is important!)

If there was a third penny, there would be this carnal note:  “And if it’s not asking too much, would you please let him be drop dead handsome?”  (Um-h-m-m-m-m-m!)

Depending on the state of my heart, if there was a fourth one, it would include petitions regarding timing (soon!) or grandchildren (yes!) or whatever was foremost in my mind on a given day.

And so the years passed.  I didn’t always remember, so sometimes the stash didn’t grow much, and then I came to a place where I was increasingly uncomfortable with my prayer.  One by one, I’ve watched her girlfriends find their life mates.  One by one, they’ve gotten married, borne these beautiful children that have spirit and intelligence and God-awareness and personality and so much value that sometimes I squint my eyes and shut my heart against the pain of what my girlie does not have.  That she really, really wants.

A family.  Children to read to and play with and nurture and hold through the long night watches.  Someone who loves Jesus more than anything else in the world and then her and then their babies.  Something to call her own with flesh and blood and fire and spirit.

I’ve watched her take her friends children into her heart.  I’ve watched her love them and nurture friendships with them.  I’ve watched her set boundaries for them when they are with her that only increases their love for her.

But sometimes, she cries.

And I kept praying my prayer, but it seemed so different from what my girlie really needed.  And so, one day, standing in my laundry room, my hand holding yet another stray penny, I gave it up.

“Lord, you know far better than I do what my girlie needs.  You know the desires of her heart, and you have plans for her.  I give this up right now.  I’m not saying that I will never again pray for a husband for her, but it will not be my primary request ever again.”  And I dropped the penny in.  And sent my prayer Heavenward.

Now when I have one penny, I pray something like this:

“Lord Jesus, for my Deborie-girl, I pray, first of all that you would conform her to your image.  That her heart will look like Jesus to the people she meets in her job, on the street, in her friendships and where she goes.  Give her courage and patience and wisdom and strength and vision and purpose and joy on the journey.  Help her to be faithful to you and your calling upon her life, whatever that may be.  May she live life fully, with zest and anticipation.  May she have the sweet, sweet assurance that she is where you want her.  Right now.  And that you will show the way.”

If there are two pennies, I will usually try to pray specific things about ministry:  “You know what you want her to do for the Kingdom.  Make your way clear to her.  Give her desire.  Open doors and close doors according to you will.  May the most important things of life be foremost in her mind.

If their are three pennies, I just might get a bit carnal:  “Lord Jesus, you know where she might be heading off to next.  Let it be a place that she will enjoy to the fullest, and send the right people to share her tent.”

I am not criticizing anyone who prays for a husband for her daughter.  In fact, I’m suspicious that God lays on the hearts of a Mama what He wants them to pray for their children.  I am saying, though, that it needed to stop at this house.  And in the meantime, her little round bank grows heavier.  I’ve taken to throwing an occasional nickel and dime in there and muttering, “Okay, Lord, that is a package deal.  5X over the same prayer.”

And most of the time, I rest easy.


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Faring Sumptuously

The family group has been talking about a number of things on our family group.  Numerous things have been said.  That strikes me as more than co-incidental.  It seems like this is a story that has been on my mind so much over this last period of time.

I’ve been struck over and over by the phrase in the King James Version about how the Rich Man “fared sumptuously every day.”  (There was that part about purple and fine linen, but I don’t think my old housecoat that I’ve worn most of the week, no matter what the color or cloth, really qualifies as that . . .)

But even though I’ve been so very sick this week, I’ve fared sumptuously.  I’ve been taken care of.  My house was warm, my family has waited on my hand and foot.  I’ve had all the Sierra Mist and ice water and pain medicine and blankets and comfort measures that I’ve wanted . . . and my bed!  Ah, my comfy bed!

This week the family of six that I have loved so much were (supposedly) evicted from their hotel room.  It has been so cold.  I don’t know where they are.  I cannot think of them without crying.  (I could have, I should have, maybe if I would have, I wonder, I hope . . . )

This week, the family in the trailer that houses ten (to twelve at any given time) found out that they must be OUT by the 31st.  They don’t know what to do.  They are talking of giving the children to relatives.  The kid that is my favorite is with us this weekend.  He is pensive and preoccupied.  I just want to hug him.  And then I come in to the computer and find that he is looking for games called “family killer.”  Oh, Lord Jesus.  Have mercy!

This week, our beautiful niece and her lovely family came home.  Home to people who want to help, who are equipped to help and who desire to wrap this little family up and give them a place to heal.  But it is a difficult and disappointing time for them, and even when physical amenities are in place and comfort measures are available, there is hard, hard work to be done, decisions to be made, and I’ve looked at her face in the pictures and prayed quiet desperate prayers and cried buckets. Oh, Lord Jesus.  Have mercy!

Our friend lies dying in a hospital in Maui, while his wife, son and daughter keep watch.  “Anytime,” we keep hearing.  How can this go on so long?  His only response from the depths of coma is an occasional moan.  They and he have suffered so much.  Oh, Lord Jesus.  Have mercy!

And none of this even addresses the Third World situations that break my heart and how people suffer every single day, but that it is so much worse when they are sick.

And then I think about the fact that not only this week, but for my whole life, I’ve fared sumptuously.  And much of it has been out. of. my. hands. It’s been choices of parents, husband, family and even offspringin’s that bless my heart in so many ways.  And even my own choices that I made– often not beginning to realize how much difference it would make.  (What if I HAD married that other guy, for pity sakes!!!)

And I know that I’m not dressed in “purple and fine linen” but I surely hope that it was the man’s heart and not the fact that he “fared sumptuously every day”that was the real sin.


January 25, 2014 · 10:19 pm

Monday was the day that I needed to take my Sweet Mama to Dover to a dentist appointment.  It was a very short appointment and when we were done, we decided to head out to one of the local Amish stores to see about procuring some hair nets for her.  The place we visited was very close to Sweet Mama’s sister’s house, so we swung by Aunt Gladys’ house to take a peek at the quilt she is currently working on for the local school’s spring festival.  After a short visit there, we headed out for Sam’s Club where there were a few things that we hoped to procure.   From Sam’s Club, we got some lunch through the amazingly efficient drive through of the local Chik-Fil-a’s fast food restaurant.  Mama’s feet were hurting so very much and we sat in the parking lot and watched the pre=storm traffic.  So  many people!  Going where?

When I had sufficiently made a dent in my Chicken strips and sweet tea, I decided that we should head on down to our final stop — the Food Lion in Harrington.  Mama had a hankering to go into a store and get what she wanted, but the day was long, and I was very much concerned about the pain in her feet.  The wind had a bite and I left her off at the door, found a parking place and trudged through the parking lot back to the store.  I saw my Sweet Mama over in the produce section, and I picked up a few things along the way and then caught up with her.  Her face had a drawn look to it, and I wondered if she was going to make it through the store.

Suddenly she said, “Where are you parked, Mary Ann?  I am sorry, but I will need to go out to the car.  I just can’t make it.”  Ah, my Sweet Mama!  Little bit by little bit the things she loves to do are being taken away from her.  “I will try to take these things through and pay for them –”

“No, Mama.  We will just put all your things into my cart and you can take your cart out to the van so that you have something to steady yourself with.  I will finish shopping and come.  Start the van so you don’t get cold.”  And she, without any fuss or objection, did just that.

The store was busy!  No kidding!  Delaware was supposed to get up to ten inches of snow and everyone and his brother was in Food Lion, stocking up on things.  I told Certain Man that I sometimes wonder if the weather forecasts are as much to warn us as they are to boost the grocery store business.  In either case, the stores around here made out like bandits during this recent deluge.

I had left my list at home, but a quick call to Deborah got it back for me.  Ah, Yes!  I needed rice.  I found the big bag of Uncle Ben’s converted rice that I usually buy and put it in my cart.  I tried to think again. Small group was coming up.  I wanted to make a taco dip since the Tostitos were “buy one get one free.”  I needed tomatoes for that.  I turned my cart back towards the produce section.

“What in the world is wrong with my cart?” I wondered as it began to give me trouble.  It acted like it was running into something that was keeping the wheels from turning.  I backed up, went forward, backed up, went forward, and looked down there to see what was going on.  I couldn’t see anything that should be making it act like this.  I gradually made my way around the ends of the two aisles and headed up towards the produce.  Things were no better.  If anything worse.

I picked up my cart and set it down firmly and Oh!  What a dismal sound met my ears.  Rice was pouring from the bag in my cart into a proverbial pool all around my cart.  For crying out loud! What was going on.  I carefully picked up the bag of rice and discovered a two inch rip in the bag.  It must have caught on something when I put it into my cart and had wasted no time in becoming a liability.  I carried the bag over to the deli and asked for assistance.

“Could you take this bag of rice and call for a clean-up?”  I asked.

The gal behind the counter was very sympathetic. “Of course,” she said pleasantly, but then seemed momentarily confused.  Then I noted that there was a very long line at the deli (people need lunch meat and cheese, too, when a storm is coming in) and I also noted that she was right in the middle of something.

“Would it be better if I did something?” I said.  “Like taking it to Customer Service or something?”

She looked so relieved.  “That would help so much,” she said.  “They are the ones that will need to call for a cleanup anyhow, and they are the ones that will need to take care of that bag, too.”

“That is just fine, then” I said.  “I will take it over there.”  But now I was in a dilemma.  Customer Service was at the other side of the store.  I wanted tomatoes from this area.  I decided that I would get my tomatoes and grab an extra vegetable bag for the rice.  The deli personnel looked at me strangely, and  I heard them warning people about the dangerous situation, but I eventually got my tomatoes, put the big bag of rice into a vegetable bag and carried it over to Customer Service.  Again, I was treated with incredible respect and cheerfulness.  They would send someone right away and they took the broken bag off my hands without condemnation even suggesting that maybe I should pay for it.

So, I went back to my shopping, finished everything up, went out and got my Sweet Mama home safely.  The wind was having a bite that was foreboding, and I decided that I would just go straight on home.

Tuesday.  The weather forecasters were calling for misery and mayhem.  Mama had another appointment in Milford at nine o’clock, so I flew out to Greenwood and picked her up.  We got to her appointment early, but they took her right back and we were out of there in record time.  We took her prescription around to the pharmacy, and then picked up a few things at Wal-mart that had gotten forgotten the day before.  And then it was home again to her house on Yoder Drive.  But Wowser!  Was I ever feeling wretched.  As the afternoon progressed, a deep, deep ache settled into my bones and when evening came, I was one sick doggy.  My temp went up to 102 and I was vomiting.  Sitting on my chair with my blanket, trying to stay warm,but not succeeding very well.

“This is ridiculous,” I said to my long suffering husband.  “I got my flu shot, but this almost HAS to be the flu because I am on strong antibiotics for a Urinary Tract Infection.  Which means that this has to be viral.  And it certainly has all the symptoms of the flu.”

Certain Man didn’t say anything ‘yay” or “nay.”  He just listened sympathetically to his miserable frau and tried to help out as best he could.  He had planned to take Tuesday off anyway, and then Wednesday got cancelled because of the weather, so I’ve had him around for five days straight.  Middle Daughter had quite a hiatus from work, as well, so her faithful ministrations have kept this household running smoothly.

And that is the news from Shady Acres, where Certain Man has gone back to work, Cerain Man’s Wife is striving valiantly to get better and the rest of the tribe is hoping not to get it!


January 23, 2014 · 8:45 pm

A tragic Comedy. Or Comic Tragedy. Whatever . . .

It all started innocently enough.

It was a Monday morning.  The night before was one of those nights that I love.  My Bible Study gals with their husbands and their kids (All of ’em!) had been together in the Gathering place of Laws Mennonite Church for our Christmas supper.  Good food, good company, and a great time made some wonderful memories for this Delaware Grammy, but even with excellent clean-up help, this gal was so very, very tired.

My Sweet Mama had been away for two weeks but came home while we were having our supper.  I was under the impression that she was going to be late, and so, when I came into the house around nine o’clock in the evening, I decided against calling her.  My good sister in law was driving her, and I knew that she was in good hands.  I had checked to make sure that someone was going over to turn up the heat and make sure things were in order, so I thought all was well.

Monday Morning.  There was piles of laundry to do, and I had an appointment in Dover for Nettie.  I needed to take Mama to Denton in the afternoon for an appointment with her primary care physician.  I got my ladies up, gave Cecilia her shower and got her dressed and combed, got breakfast and medications done, packed the lunch, and tried to keep up with the laundry.

This was also the day that our chickens were going out.  We would like it very much if our chickens would never go out on Sunday night for Monday’s processing, but we don’t choose that, so Certain Man was up most of the night, putting up feed lines, raising the drinkers, and making sure that not too much extra damage was done.  He managed to break his glasses somewhere along the way, so when the last house was finally under the control of the catching crew, he decided that he would go to work so that he could stop at his Dover optometrist and get those glasses fixed!  So he was on his way around 9:10.  I drew a deep breath, so tired, so tired.

Around 9:20, the phone rang.  It was my Sweet Mama.

“I thought you would be coming out here this morning,” she said.

“Um, no.  I am coming out this afternoon to take you to the doctor, though.  You have a four o’clock appointment with Dr. Jensen.”

“Oh, well.”  She sounded let down.  “I got home around seven last evening.”

“Really?  Did you hear from anyone?”

“No.  No one.  I thought for sure you would come out this morning.”

“We had our Bible Study supper last night, Mama, and I was so tired when I got home.  I think Beebs is coming out there this morning, but our chickens went out last night, I’m trying to get laundry done this morning, and I need to take Nettie to Dover for an appointment at one.”

“Well, I guess I’ll just go back to Pennsylvania with Rose,” she said.  “Nobody comes, nobody calls, nobody cares.”

That really hurt my feelings.  Being tired probably made me touchy, and she was probably (at least a little bit) joking.  “Mama. I’m so sorry.  I think that Beebs can get what you need and bring it out, and then I will come this afternoon and take you to Dr. Jensen.”

She had been so sick while she was up and Nel and Rose’s house, and I was very anxious for her to get to her PCP.  Two rounds of antibiotics, strong cough medicine and huge doses of rest hadn’t managed to knock out the bug that was bothering her.  She gets incredible care while she is with Nel and Rose, and I know that we don’t cover the bases as well when she is home. Sometimes I feel really, really insecure about that, and this time, secretly, I was suspicious that we could never measure up.

The injured feelings cast a long shadow over my morning, but there was so much to accomplish before heading to Dover.  The doctor’s office had faxed me fourteen pages of things to fill out.  Actually, Nettie was to fill them out, but this is the stuff that ordinary people have trouble with, much less handicapped individuals.

“On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your pain?”   “Is your pain a stabbing pain, an aching pain, or a throbbing pain?”  “Would you say your pain is sharp or dull?”   “Is it constant or intermittent?”  “Is your pain made better or worse by lying down?”  “Is your pain made better or worse by standing?”  “Is your pain made better or worse by sitting?”  “Is your pain made better or worse by daily activity such as getting dressed or household chores?  “Does your pain interfere with— (there was a never ending supply of those questions!).

My head was spinning.  I was trying to answer as questions with answers like I thought Nettie would answer, but the end result was frustrating and time consuming.  Plus, there were all those questions about her general health, social adjustment, medications and mental illness.  I finally carried the questionnaire in to her table and asked her several questions while she signed the necessary papers. And finally we were ready to go.

And then the phone rang.  It was Certain Man.

“Hon, could someone run out to the chicken house and make sure that the catching crew turned off the tunnel fans?  They said they were going to, but I just want to make sure.”

“Well, I’m just about ready to walk out the door to take Nettie to Dover . . . “

“Maybe Rachel could go, then,” he said.  “All you gotta’ do is check to make sure the fan on the front side of the house is off.  I’m sure if they turned off the front one, they also turned off the back side, too.  I just don’t need all this cold air getting pulled into the house and causing trouble.”

“Tell you what, Sweetheart,” I said, “I will go out there in the van and check when I am on my way to Dover.  I can just drive out there and I won’t even need to get out of the van.  I can just look!”

“That will be fine,” he said happily.  And so, that was the plan.

So I got Nettie and her black book.  I got the 14 pages of paperwork and my purse.  I got a tall glass of water and got everything loaded in my trusty mini-van and headed out towards the chicken house.  Whew!  I was tired.  Did I mention I was tired?  That bone deep weariness that feels like it will never get better.  I contemplated my lot in life as I headed off the side drive onto the chicken house lane.

Wait a minute.  Which house did he tell me to check?  House two or house three?  Oh, well.  I guess it didn’t matter.  I would just check them both.  On the front side of house two, all the fans were quiet and unmoving.  I checked the back side of house two and found things the same there.  On back the lane I went and checked the front of house three.  Nothing there, either.

“This is good,” I thought.  “But what if they had somehow inadvertently let the fans on at the back of the house?  I will check there just to be sure, then I can tell Certain Man that everything is totally off.”

Which, of course, it was!

But now I had a dilemma.  The thing is, I’m not the greatest backer in the world.  And I had about a hundred feet to back with chicken houses on one side and sturdy fence on the other.  I decided to cut in between the chicken houses and make the backing part of my departure shorter.  So I turned my wheel while looking out the driver’s side to make sure that I had enough room.  I noticed that there was a very soft place in the ground beside the tunnel fans, and having had a previous experience with getting VERY STUCK in that same place on another occasion, and noting that there were deep ruts from the chicken trucks that I needed to avoid too, I cut a wide berth and was carefully watching out the driver’s window when — KERSHLAM!!!

I jerked my head around in time to see Nettie rock in her seat like she had just had a jarring experience.

“Mare-Ann!” She said reproachfully.  “You really hit that hard!”

“Oh, dear!” I said.  “I guess I did!  What in the world –?”  My heart sank to my shoes as I looked out the window and realized that I had somehow collided with the feed bin at the end of the chicken house.  I put the car in forward and pulled out a bit.  I got out of my side of the car and trudged to the back to see what the damage was.  I couldn’t see anything!  I looked and looked all around the back of the car and there was nothing.

“Whew,” I thought ruefully.  “I would have thought there was some sort of damage for how hard that hit!  I must have gotten away with it this time somehow.”  But then I happened to look on up the side of the van and my delight was short lived.  On the sliding door, just behind the front passenger’s door, there was a nasty, nasty dent.  I betook myself up there and mournfully surveyed the damage.  I tried to open the door.  That was out of the question.  There was a very sharp place on the handle, anyhow, that discouraged too much effort.  What was Certain Man ever going to think?

Time was slipping by, and I had an appointment to make, so I got back into the driver’s seat and began my trek to Dover.

“I had better call Daniel,” I thought.  “Might as well let him know.”  I’m so glad that Certain Man is usually kind and understanding about such things.  There have been times when I’ve been surprised at how nice he is when things like this happen.  Rarely does he fuss at me about such things.  But I still dreaded calling him.  I dialed his number and waited while the phone rang and rang.  He didn’t answer.  That would give me more time to cry, I mean, THINK!

Then the hands free device on my visor announced, “Phone call from A-Daniel.  Answer or ignore?”


“What’s up?” Asked my good-natured husband.  “I saw you called.”

“Well, hon, you will be glad to know that the fans are all off.  I checked both houses front and back and everything is off.  The bad news is that I did something bad to the van.”

“Hon!  What did you do?”

“I ran into the feed bin.”

“Hon!  How did you do that?”

“I don’t know.  I was just backing around, trying to miss the soft spots when I crashed the side of the van into the feed bin.”

Great was the discussion for some time about what we were going to do and when and how.  It was only a short time until the kids were all coming home for Christmas and we were planning to use the van for family expeditions.  We finally agreed that, since I couldn’t get the door open, that Certain Man would call our faithful body repair shop and see if he could get it in pronto.  We said our “love you’s” and “Good-bye’s” and I waited to hear, “Call terminated” coming from my device.  What I heard instead caught me flatfooted.  It was my husband’s voice, frustrated and a bit cross, coming over the airwaves in a tone that I have almost never heard directed at me.


“Uh, Hon,” I said, “I’m still here.  I can hear every word you are saying.”

“Call terminated” chirped my hands free device.  And believe me!  It WAS!  The thing was, I didn’t feel bad about it at all at that point.  I was so upset with myself that I could hardly see straight.  I mean, this is the same van that I hit a deer with last summer that made it need so much repair work.  That was all covered by our insurance, but this?  Um, I think not.

It wasn’t long until Certain Man called back and said that he was going to meet us at the doctor’s office and see for himself what the damage was.  The body shop said that they needed to know what kind of door it was, but that they would work it in and do it as soon as possible, even though it didn’t suit them very well.  And so he met us there, strong armed the door and got it to open and decided that we could live with it until after Christmas.  He didn’t mention the things that had been said in my hearing.  I didn’t either.  I found out later that he never heard me.  But whenever the subject came up, he looked a little sheepish.  He never once said that he didn’t say them.  Like I said, He isn’t inclined to speak unkindly to his addled frau.  He should be allowed to let off some steam now and then.  The LORD KNOWS I deserve it.

There was still the doctor’s appointment to get through.  I handed in my paperwork and decided to arrange other transportation for my Sweet Mama’s appointment in the afternoon.  Niece Carmen agreed to do it.  I called Mama to tell her my troubles and that Carmen was going to take her to her appointment.  I couldn’t help crying.  Mamas are pretty good at detecting what is really wrong, and it wasn’t long until she realized that part of my problem was the hurt feelings from the morning.  Mama was so sorry that I had taken what she had said as truth.

“You weren’t hurt by what I said this morning,” she said with that element of wonder in her voice.

“Well, Mama,” I said, feeling so petty, but also still smarting, “You SAID that nobody called, nobody came, nobody cared!  And that you were going back to Pennsylvania.  Of course I was hurt!”

“Oh, you girls!” she said.  “I’m going to have to stop saying anything.  I say stuff and I mean it kidding, and you take me serious!  I didn’t mean it!”

I managed to tell her that Carmen was taking her to her appointment, that I had messed up the van, and she was fine with all the arrangements.  “Don’t worry about anything,” she said, cheerfully.  “Everything is going to work out okay.  You’ll see.”

Back inside the doctor’s office, we waited and waited.  Then they took Nettie back and did vitals and went over her paperwork.  Then we waited some more and finally the nurse came in and said that the doctor wanted to talk to me privately before seeing Nettie.  And there ensued the strangest conversation I have ever had with a healthcare professional.  The upshot was that he was not going to treat Nettie.  He was certain that he could not help her.  He was uncomfortable with her mental illness, and critical of her former doctor’s treatment.  As we left the consult room, I noticed that he didn’t even turn in the direction of her room.

“Is he not even going to talk to her?” I asked the nurse who was walking with me.

“Well, he CAN, if you want him to,” she said a bit cautiously.  “Shall I ask him to come tell her?”

The adrenalin had been flowing since the feed bin episode, but suddenly all of that was gone and I felt a hundred years old.  I thought about my girl, Nettie, on the other side of that door, and of all the rejection and disappointments of her life, and suddenly, I didn’t want him setting foot in that treatment room.

“No,” I said.  “I will tell her.”  I put my happy face on and went into the room.  “Well, Nettie,” I said, “this is your lucky day!  You don’t have to get any of those long needle shots after all.  The doctor doesn’t think it will really help anyways, so he is recommending that we don’t do it.”

“Does that mean I have to live with this pain the rest of my life,” she asked, sounding a bit non-plussed.

“We need to go back to your pain management specialist,” I said, “and see what he has to say.  Maybe since this doctor feels like this wouldn’t be the best course of treatment for you, Dr. Coveleski will find something else that will work better.  Besides, Nettie!  Just think!  We can go get some shopping done now and we don’t have to worry about those shots.”

She looked a little unconvinced, but before long we were happily on our way for a little retail therapy.  At the mall, she bought a sixty-eight dollar bottle of Red Door perfume and I bought a Chrismassy sweater and both of us came home in a much better frame of mind.

Four weeks later, the van is repaired, looking better than it ever has on the passenger’s side.  Nettie has had a change in her pain meds that seem to be working quite well, and Certain Man and his wife have been living harmoniously and in forgiveness concerning the van mishap.


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Nothing of Comedy

She stands in my kitchen, asking for money for gas.  

She speaks of Victoria’s Secret spray perfume wasted on her motel mirror by a child who was trying to clean the mirror.  She laughs, and her words stumble over themselves and slide together in a drugged sort of way.  She tries to give me a piece of the cake that she bought for her youngest’s birthday to the tune of 38+ dollars or at least a cupcake from the ones that she bought for the girls for theirs for fourteen.  

I feel sick.

Her children have new shoes.  The sparkly eye shadow circles her eyes and the tattoos peek from neckline and sleeves while the piercings, some so new I don’t remember them glitter in my kitchen’s bright light.  She left her car running for almost a half an hour while she tried to get gas money, and talked of other things.  I knew that there was something more on her mind.

“If I meet you part ways can the kids go back to Sunday School?” she says suddenly.  “Where could I meet you to bring them?  I’d like the kids to get back in church.”

I puzzle over this momentarily, but then name a place where she could meet us if she wants them to go.  I wonder again what it is that she really wants, but even though she hesitates on her way out like she almost has to say something else, she collects her two youngest ones and heads out.

Today she calls again, asking for my husband’s number.  I ponder asking “why?” but decide I don’t want to know.  I call him and warn him.

Yes.  She did need something else.  

Homeless since April, living in first one motel and then another, she has reached the end of resources.  The family is about to be put out onto the street.  The only way she can stay is if she comes up with $400.00.  She cries so hard he cannot understand her and so her live-in comes on the phone and explains the situation.

My husband’s heart is full of compassion for people.  He has tried so hard to help this family, and I hear his pain as he says, “I can only help this much.  If it is not enough, then it will have to just be that way.”  He is speaking to the person at the desk of their motel.  “It seems like they are buying what they want and begging for what they need and I cannot go on.  This is the last time that I will help them.”  There has been a lot of church money that we’ve given as well as pouring incredible amounts of our personal resources into this family.  My husband has reached the end.  I’ve known this was coming.

And I am glad.

Even when I write that, I feel guilty.  On one hand.  On the other, I am (just a little bit) excited to see what it is that God is going to do next in this situation.  I am so depleted that I cannot imagine anything good coming out of this.  But Jesus said that He can do the impossible.

I don’t even know what that looks like in this situation.

Oh, Lord Jesus!  Once again, hold the little ones in your great love and may you accomplish your plan in their lives.  I do believe that you have a plan.  But oh!  This hurts!”



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So.  I wrote a story.

I called it a tragic comedy.

And I worked at it over a week.

It was a LONG story.  Over 2,000 words.

It was tragic and it was also filled with crazy moments.

I was so pleased when it was done.  I hit the “publish” button with great satisfaction

My computer froze, and nothing would fix it.

The only draft that my computer had saved was a short draft from over a week ago.

It SAID that it was saving it, all along, as I checked on it.

But it didn’t.

My story is gone.

I don’t think that is (at least to me!) a comedy.

But probably there are those who would never consider it a tragedy.

I wish I had spent my time on something else.

I wish that I had at least saved my story in documents.

I wish that all the things that always worked before at retrieving posts would work again.

But no!  That would be too easy.

It is what it is.

And my friends have been spared another LONG story.


January 14, 2014 · 1:40 am