Great Scott

I was hanging out in the sanctuary tonight while Carman was at Essence, his youth group. Suddenly Scott came in, walked right up to me and gave me a hug, which totally surprised me. And delighted me. He told me that he'd been reading my blog, and I got confused. I'm not used to people I know in real life reading my blog! How funny is that...

Scott had read one of my postings about hugs, and how much I appreciate the ones I get at church because sometimes when you're single you go without much physical contact from people. Scott said it was kind of a lightbulb moment for him, and how he realized why his widowed mother doesn't let go for a long time when he wraps her in an embrace.

Scott, if you're reading this, know that I was so touched by your kindness. I have been so humbled by the extraordinary loving kindness shown by people in my church. I guess I shouldn't be surprised by seeing the extraordinary in people who are living their lives walking with Christ. But I am deeply appreciative to be in their company.


The Hurricane Boogie

Kelly and Gordon thought my son-in-law was taking a couple of pictures; they didn't realize he was filming them. Kelly's on her cell phone talking to me in what looks like a barren, boarded up place, but what used to be a lovely living room in a 10th floor apartment. This is a short clip of how you entertain yourself after six days of bathing with baby wipes, and going without any modern conveniences like electricity. Being their mother, this makes me smile everytime I watch it!

The Hurricane Boogie


And the blessings fall...

1. First of all, a large, incredible thing - The Kalamazoo Promise. My son's school district is giving college scholarships to all students. ALL students. My son started there in 2nd grade which means he will have 95% of his tuition paid for four years of college. Amazing grace. The superintendent has been making the national news rounds - Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN. It was so wonderful seeing the excitement and joy my son had when the announcement was made, and basking in it myself. College is attainable now, when it used to be a source of anxiety.

2. Carman was watching me pay an unexpected bill online last night, and knew it took all I had left in my checkbook. Oh heck, all I had left in the world, except for the $30 in my wallet. I had promised him some spending money for his upcoming birthday, and not only did he offer not to accept anything from me for his birthday, then he said he knew that he was getting some money from his dad and he wanted to share it with me. I refused both his offers with tears in my eyes. This man-child of mine has such a huge heart.

3. Kelly called me this morning for advice on which doctorate program she should enter - one she really likes, or one that would be very practical in guaranteeing a successful career. Then she started talking about how she loved sociology, and in her undergrad class she tried to explain her family dynamic - two parents both married two times, and divorced twice. Various and sundry stepbrothers, stepsister, and a half brother (but she never calls Carman her half brother, but just brother). In the midst of me feeling bad that she had such a crazy life she said, "People think how hard it must have been, but you always made our life so positive." An enormous gift for a mother who was wishing she could have given her daughter a more conventional unbringing.

My advice on the doctorate program: Follow your passion. Do what you love. Listen to your heart and you will soar beyond your expectations.

I think it was very good advice.


The Diner Church

I took myself out to lunch today at the little diner my friend and I like to frequent once a week or so. I sat at a table in the little back room with its burgundy oilcloth tablecloths, the salt and pepper shakers sitting neatly in the wire basket caddy along with the sugar and Sweet & Lo. I brought my copy of "The Jesus I Never Knew" to read while I sipped my coffee out of my thick, white ceramic mug while indulging in two evil cigarettes - one before lunch and one after. But I did more musing than reading.

It was Rhonda's birthday today, and someone had scribbled the announcement on the chalkboard over the cashier's desk. Rhonda, a sweet young mother of two came bubbling over to my table to show off her new birthday haircut. It was adorable, and I told her so. Rhonda always makes it a point to be friendly, and bubbly and kind. I sat there listening to the hubbub in the other room. All the waitresses were bubbly, and kind. They were bantering with the regulars, flirting with the 80-year-old men, squatting down to coo and ahhh at the baby in her car seat carrier. The waitresses there serve everyone joyfully, and serve everyone joy.

Isn't that what church should look like?

Last week Brenda and I were cashing out our $5.25 lunch special and talking to Rhonda about being "regulars" now. Rhonda started talking about how she cares about all the people there. She said that she'd noticed that one of her regulars, a man in his mid-80s, had been gone for a few days, and he's usually there every morning. Somehow from conversation she had an idea where this man lived, and so after work she drove around and found his place and knocked on the door. Undoubtedly he was surprised. She sat and visited with him for over an hour, and found out that he'd been in the hospital for a few days, which explained his absence. I'm sure he was touched that this waitress cared enough to track him down, (stalking him, the other waitresses teased her). What a loving and kind act.

I think the Antique Kitchen diner is what church should look like. I think I should be more like Rhonda, and I think I should tip her more than I do.


The World Breaks Many of Us

Two weeks ago in our worship gathering we viewed the movie of postcard secrets that people are sending in anonymously for a project. They're heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, and so naked in their vulnerability. I interspersed the Flash movie I did with quotes from a Psalm - how else could we get through such pain without the One who is Love?

I also created a prayer table with more postcards, river rocks, candles and faux barbed wire. I feel so honored to be allowed to do this creative work with the goal that it will help draw people closer to God.

More photos:
Photo One | Photo Two | Photo Three