Penny Walks

>> Monday, May 21, 2018

Money was scarce when I was a child, so entertainment had to be inexpensive.  I spent a lot of time with an older sister who had two daughters, and so for pleasure, we took penny walks.  These were the rules.  When you got to an intersection, you flipped a penny.  If it was heads, you went right.  If it was tails, you went left.  And on the rare occasion it fell in a crack and stood on its edge, you went straight ahead.  

Sometimes we went around the same block several times.  Sometimes we traveled a long way from home and had to remember our way back.  But no two walks were ever the same.  

Life is like that. Sometimes you go left.  Sometimes you go right.  Sometimes you go around the same block several times.  But my question is: “Who is flipping your penny?” Is God in charge of your walk?

Sometimes taking the walk is not your idea.  I arrived at the intersection of “Divorce”, although I didn’t want that word in my vocabulary.  And for a time, I continued to go straight ahead, because it was all I knew.  Changing directions was so terrifying it seemed impossible.  

Are you at an unexpected intersection?  Who took you there?  Do you tell yourself, “It’s not my fault?”  Is it your parents you blame?  Or maybe your spouse?  The list is endless.  Friends. Church.  Life.  But the true question is: what are you going to do about it?  

I had never had “Intersection Training”.  I prayed for a neon sign to show up in my yard, displaying the answer.  But as I cautiously emerged from my shell, I discovered the Bible was full of guidance about choices and what direction to go. I had to want to find the answers. 

Maybe you need to make a hard-right turn…right now…today.  Are you willing to change directions?  Just maybe your abundant life is down that road to the right.  You don’t want to miss out.  

Remember, no two walks are alike.  Even though someone else’s choice for direction in their life may look appealing to you, this is YOUR walk.  

“Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days….” Deuteronomy 5:33 (NIV) 


Out of the Nest

>> Thursday, May 10, 2018

I’m under a deadline to complete my current afghan project, so I took it to the backyard swing to enjoy the beautiful day while I worked. The birds were singing…a lot of them…since I have four bird feeders. As I crocheted I talked to God about my gratitude for His blessings. 

But one robin wasn’t singing. It was declaring an emergency.

Soon my dog, Charlie, was frozen in position with his nose stuck in an evergreen. I’ve seen him do that before when he sees something. But usually it’s short-lived and he goes about his business. 
The robin was still in distress and Charlie was halfway into the tree.  

“Maybe these two things are connected.” 

I called Charlie to leave the tree. He didn’t budge. I laid my afghan project on the swing and walked toward the tree. Charlie stayed frozen and the robin sounded desperate. Taking Charlie by the collar, I led him inside the house. Then I returned to the tree. Kneeling down I began to look for the problem. 

And then I spied it. A baby bird, apparently fallen from the nest. I wanted to help. What could  I do?

I returned to the house, with Charlie at the door determined to go back outside. Putting on some gloves, I returned to the tree once more. Crawling closer to the baby, with the momma shrieking and flying around my head, I pondered my next move. Reaching for the baby caused it to flutter and leave the protection of the tree. Now it was out in the open on the rocks. 

Momma was still going crazy. 

I moved to the other side of the tree, creeping closer. “Even if I do get it, then what? I don’t see a nest.” 

It didn’t work. The baby is still on the ground. The momma is still signaling distress. And Charlie is currently banned from the back yard. 

But our relationship with God can be just like that. All He wants to do is help. But we reject His advances while others…spouse, friend or pastor…try to give advice and guidance. For some, God is a big, scary thing that just causes fear. It used to be that way for me. Not anymore. 

I’ve fallen out of the nest and He has gently picked me up and situated me in a place of safety. He’ll do that for you too. 

“His huge outstretched arms protect you—   under them you’re perfectly safe;” Psalm 91:9 (MSG)



>> Monday, May 7, 2018

The treadmill I use every morning at the gym faces out a window. When I stepped up on the track today, I noticed a police car sitting across the street in the church parking lot. Aha! He was looking for speeders. He was at the ending edge of a school zone. Cars coming past him would have been notified earlier to slow to 20 MPH. 

Yet, they did not. In a matter of minutes three of them had been pulled over with the dreaded flashing lights behind them. 

And then the policeman gave one more ticket. I watched as he took off headed toward the school zone…lights flashing. 

I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding.” 

Any car headed toward the zone could easily see the police car sitting there and the blinking yellow light saying 20 MPH. Apparently, slowing down was not an option as it cruised past the police. 

As I’m pondering how very stupid that was, I remembered just last week. I was busy in my head writing a blog and cruised right past the street I planned to turn down. Was that stupid? 

I believe it’s called distracted driving. 

Life is just like that. It’s called distracted living. 

What is it that distracts you? Worry?  Stress? Compulsions? We can get so caught up in our own drama, we miss the signs that tell us there is trouble in our family, our friends or job. And then we are shocked when a child leaves home too soon, a divorce splits friends or a co-worker is no longer around. 

I’m going to try to not write while I drive. What choice will you make? 

“Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions.” Proverbs 4:25 (MSG)


It Happened Again

>> Monday, April 16, 2018

It happened again. This morning on the treadmill. A “life moment”.  

Saturday, I purchased a new iPhone 8. A friend who knows the tech language went with me to answer the gigabyte and pixel questions. He and his 12-year old grandson traveled home with me to make sure I was all set up. As he unpacked the accessories, he explained to his grandson what the short cord was for. 

“It’s for when you want to listen to music on your iPhone. You plug one end into the phone and the other end is where you plug your ear buds.” Since I don’t listen to music on my iPhone I paid no attention to his explanation.  

This morning I stepped up on the treadmill and placed my headphones on my head.  It is my routine to listen to podcasts as I walk. I reached for my phone to plug them in. My phone had no little hole for inserting the headphone cord. I turned that phone upside down and backwards looking for the hole. 

“This is a new phone. My old phone had a place for the headphones. Why on earth would the new one not?”  

And then my lightbulb came on.  That little cord. That’s what it’s for. Not just for music but for podcasts too.  

I walked in silence. 

Life is just like that. Many times, we don’t really pay attention because it doesn’t affect us. And then we discover it really does. Do you know how to be around an autistic child? Until I became friends with someone who has an autistic child, I paid no attention to the articles and books on their differences. Knowing I would be around them, I devoured information to help me understand not only the child but what the parent was experiencing. 

We just never know when a “life lesson” will occur. They are happening all around us.

“I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw.” Proverbs 24:32 (NIV)


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