Thursday, December 31, 2009

You are My Sunshine!

Happy Birthday Dear Aleyna! You are my sunshine!

I remember the first time I ever saw you. You were a week old. You had WILD red hair sticking straight up on your head. You were SO scrawny. You looked like a little orangutan.
Your daddy was holding you and your little arms and legs were going every which way. How I
longed to wrap you in my arms and cuddle you close to me. We were so excited as we drove mile by mile to South Carolina to see you for the very first time.

Six years have passed. Your hair is more strawberry blonde. You aren't so scrawny. We don't have to drive to SC to see you.

Aleyna, I love your happy heart. I love your cheerful, squeaky voice. I love your hugs. I love your excitement about the little things in life. What I love most of all is your love for Jesus and I cannot wait to see what He is going to do in your life someday!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Letter to William

My Dear William -

How I miss you! Although we celebrated Christmas yesterday, a part of me was missing - you. It has been so long since I have been able to hug you and tell you how special you are to me. It is important for you to know that I am not with you because I do not love you. I love you so very much.

This past Summer was full of making so many memories. I wish I would have known that they would have to last for such a long time. I hope you don't forget the day we went to the beach, the cookouts at the lake, the water park picnic. You had so much fun with your cousins and yet to protect them, to protect my time with them, I must give up time with you. I know you do not understand, have maybe been told things that are not even true, but in your heart I hope you know that Grandpa and I will always love you and be here for you when you need us.

The most important thing you got to do when you lived with Uncle Patrick and Aunt Jordan is to go to church. Ah William! You will never know how happy I was that for a short time, you got to hear about The Way, The Truth, The Life. You are still young and just beginning to learn right from wrong, truth from lies. Your little life has been full of lies. Full of ugliness. For such a short time you saw what it was like to be clean, to be disciplined, to be taught right from wrong. For such a short time we saw you function as a normal little boy with rules and boundries. I pray that a miracle will happen and you will find the Lord and as you grow, be able to see a different way of living than what you have been used to.

I love you William. I miss you. I am entrusting you into His care because for now, He is the only one I can trust to watch over you........

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Memories....

Oh Christmas Tree!
Aleyna's Gingerbread Express!
Juliet and Jocelyn. I am rather upset not to see Jenavieve in her tutu!
Moriah, Aiden, Aleyna, and the ever present Bitty Baby!
James, Robert, and Edwin. Dryscha made shirts like this for all the kids.
My Ruger baby!

The Birthday of a King

A King. Born in a stable. Hard to wrap your mind around. I love to think, to ponder, about that day. Mary was quite young. Away from home. In a dirty place. This year Jenavieve was born amidst all the technology that we have to offer. What a contrast. He didn't have to be born. He didn't have to leave the cleanliness of Heaven to come to the dirtiness of earth. He chose to.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

All is Calm??

The oldest and the youngest.
Mom may not use her new walker, but Robert sure loved it!
Does this look like calm? Some of my greatest gifts are under the tree.

I do love Christmas Eve. Maybe even more than Christmas day. Traditionally my mom and brother come over and join us. This year we had a soup and appetizer meal. Brad brought Lizette. Unused to our pandemonium, she was rather shocked to walk into the kitchen and see Max and I admiring Mike's new handgun. Really shocked.....

Brad and I got mom a new walker. It didn't take long for the boys to discover that it moved. It was hilarious to see them climb up into it and push each other around.

The girls always love being together. Moriah is coming out of her shell and loves Juliet. Jocelyn still bosses everyone around. Aleyna is still my sunbeam.

Christmas Eve is a blessed time . My family is so dear to me. I especially love seeing my kids follow the Lord and raising their children to honor Him.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Darlene has been on my mind so much lately. I desperately miss her. At our store party yesterday, we talked about where she should be sitting. What she should be eating. The comments she would be making. The fact that we just can't believe she is gone.

As I think about it, she is sitting on the right hand of God. She is eating Heavenly feast. She is making a joyful noise. This is her first Christmas with Him.

She has met that little baby born in a stable. Only He isn't a baby any longer. She has seen those nail pierced hands. She has come face to face with those angels who announced His birth. She doesn't have to worry about what to wear this year - she is clothed in Heavenly raiment.

I still miss her. Merry Christmas sweet Darlene.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Miracle at Moreau

For the past few years we have had a tradition of watching Miracle at Moreau with Jocelyn. This was the first year she really understood the story and she was intrigued, curious, and thoughtful as it unfolded.

It is the story of three Jewish children trying to escape into Spain. Their parents had been killed/caught, and at a Catholic convent in France, their runner was killed. The children at the Catholic convent were at first frightened by the children and the threat they presented, but as they got to know them, heard their story, they knew they had to help them escape to safety.

As the children led the German soldiers into the woods on a wild goose chase, the French children returned to the convent for their Christmas pageant. The German Sargent angrily demanded that the youngest tell him where the Jews were. He pointed to Joseph, Mary, and himself, stating that they were the Jews. The head nun commented that the Holy family was Jewish.

Jocelyn wants to be a missionary. I told her this is a good example of loving someone who is different. Someone we may have misunderstood before. I also shared a little about the Holocaust and what hatred can do.

Jesus was born in a manger. He is a Jew. The King of Jews.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pomander Pandemoniun

A new tradition might be born! I thought it would be fun to get together and make a craft and have pizza. Just enjoy being family. I am not sure pomanders were the best choice for our first endeavor, but the kids really did better than what I thought they would. The adults punched the holes and the kids put the cloves in.
The biggest blessing - seeing cousins together, siblings together, enjoying family during a sometimes too hectic time of year. Only had one casualty - Edwin who had a very upset stomach.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Little Sheep

Our Children's program focused on Jesus, the Lamb. We are sheep. We need a Shepherd. We need leading. We need still waters. He meekly went to the slaughter. He was the Ultimate Sacrifice.

The program was very emotional for me. The children dressed up like lambs were cute, and the 4 cutest were mine. But, to hear Jordan sing again after so long made me weep. I long for my kids to do right. To use their talents to honor the only One worth singing to - and she did. I wept.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Sweet Things - minus two

Tazer is 90 pounds of brute strength. He exactly what we need here in the hood. Little do most people know that his bark is much worse than his bite! Much worse...

Moses, so named because he escaped the bondage of the Humane Shelter, is our cross eyed wonder. He is so cute. So huge. So funny. He loves to lay close in bed but stretched from my feet to my waist so he takes up A LOT of space!

The day we went to the shelter to pick out a dog, this guy had nothing on his cage telling us anything about him. Why? Because he was next to be euthanized. I was looking for a small female dog and Ruger is who I came home with. Ten years later - absolutely no regrets. He is a great dog and we love him to death.

This is Mia - also known as 'Nosy Rosy'. Mia is a Human Shelter Rescue cat! This picture was recently submitted to Women's Day Cutest Pet and published online. She is 14 years old and has almost used up her nine lives - the day she crawled into the boiler while I was baking cookies used half of them. Also singed half her whiskers!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

One of these days.....

It was a beautiful Fall day today and snow seems like it could be a long way off. I took off for Shipshewana and it was a perfect day. I love that little town! The shops. The friendliness of the people. The meshing of Amish with English. There were countless buggies on the road as they headed into Shipshe for their Saturday shopping spree. A glimpse of a unique lifestyle.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Last night at midnight we got the call that Jordan's post-partum pre-eclampsia was so severe that they were going to start a mag drip. I remember clearly that week after Jocelyn was born and those scary hours that we spend. I went up to the hospital before work where she was in a darkened room and told she could have no visitors and not care for Jenavieve in order for her to be totally unstimulated. I sat and held Jenavieve for a sweet 1 1/2 hour so Patrick could eat and Jordan could rest. Rather than a 24 hour drip, this is going to be a 48 hour process. She does appear to be better emotionally than after Jocelyn was born. That is a huge praise.

Friday, October 30, 2009


After a lot of hard work,

In the very wee morning hours of October 29th......

Jenavieve Elizabeth Smith became a part of our lives.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Meeting Jenavieve

Today at noon, Jordan will be admitted to EGH. We are ready. We are waiting. We are excited. We are scared. For me, I take being a labor coach very seriously. I don't have a lot of self confidence but this is one thing I think I do well. It is also awkward because Patrick will be there as Jordan's support person but I must be in charge. I demand that. I expect that.

Six years ago when Jocelyn was born, I told Jordan I would coach but would leave immediately following the birth so they could be a family. Little did I know what would happen afterwards. The horror of that first week. The life that seeped out of Jordan because of blood pressure problems. This time I am prepared.

A new grandchild! A new generation. As we think of three generations, I am so extremely proud of Jordan and Patrick and their faith. The faith of their parents have truly become theirs. I pray the faith of her grandparents and parents will come alive someday in the life of Jenavieve.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Jenavieve - Soon to Be.

Hopefully by the end of this week, Jenavieve will be here. Jordan is in a lot of discomfort and has GOT to have the longest pregnancies on record. We are praying that the pre-eclampia will not be a problem. To be honest, I would prefer she attempt to have this baby with as few interventions as possible but her doctor is already pushing for an epidural. I think she would feel better if she were more in control. I am preparing to be her labor coach again - a responsibility I take seriously.

On a disappointing note - the hospital is in lockdown and no one under the age of 18 is allowed in. That means Jocelyn and Juliet won't get the chance to meet their sister for a few days..... What if she actually turns out to be a he?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saying Good-Bye

Yesterday it was time to say 'Good-Bye' to Darlene. I have never been to an ethnically diverse funeral. She would have told me, 'This is what black folk do.' Wow! They sent her out with fanfare. There were 12 pastors, 2 vocalists, 2 nurses in case anyone became overcome, and 350 friends and family. If she were alive I would tease her and tell her the only thing people were overcome with was the Spirit.

Mike and I had a chance to represent her family from work and share what she meant to us. I was so proud of him. He is not a public speaker and to get up in front of so many people under these circumstances was not easy. We stood beside each other and reached out the few times we began to falter.

I shared that on May 14, 1976 Darlene walked through the doors of Sears as an 18 year old Decca student. Through the years she had many jobs including shoe department, children's, men's, office lead, pricing lead. But this really isn't about her 'jobs'. It is about who she was and how she touched the lives of each of us who knew her as friend.

Even though we have both worked at Sears for a long time, Darlene and I didn't really connect until about 7-8 years ago. We are very different, Darlene and I. Almost exact opposites.

Eventually, our store went through a tough time when it seemed as if the staff became divided. I told Darlene that in the game of Sears Survivor, we were allies. And in spite of our differences, that is what we became. We got into trouble more than once for making secret signals back and forth during staff meetings with our eyes. Darlene and I eventually became Tuesday night staff partners. Each Tuesday we would alternate between Hacienda and Columbo's for supper. We laughed a lot, shared a lot, and we grew to know each other better. I tried very hard not to get on her last nerve!

One of the things I appreciated most about Darlene was her ability to tell it like it was. She didn't worry about being tactful. That really wasn't a word in her vocabulary. But that's o.k. You always knew where you stood with Darlene. She could confront someone when they were doing wrong and also made sure that they knew that they were appreciated when they did a good job.

I also valued her wisdom. Often I would talk to her about a situation and ponder her advice.

Darlene loved to go to Red Lobster. She loves to celebrate - anything! She loved the times she got to spend with her Sears family just as she loved the times she spent with her biological family. She called Maxine 'Mom', Mike was 'her husband', Toni was 'her sister'. Whenever we talked, she would ask me about different people in her Sears family. She loved all of you very much. She appreciated the cards you sent, the phone calls you made, your visits, and our sunshine box.

I remember June 13, 2008. That is when she was diagnosed. We cried together over the phone and then she made fun of me for crying. I am so proud of Darlene. She fought hard and with a sweet spirit. She faced her enemy head on. At the very beginning, I told her that it was possible for her loose the battle but still have the victory, and she did. Many of you became a part of her army, her team with your support and love.

For the past several months, at 8:00 on Thursday evenings, my phone would ring and it would be Darlene. We would laugh. We would talk. Thursday nights will be especially lonely. Especially hard.

Sprinkled throughout you see many members of her Sears family. Darlene had a different relationship with each of us. She met us where we were. She touched our lives in different ways. We all loved her. Respected her. Appreciated her. But to me, she was my champion, my ally, my spirit lifter, my giver of advice, my listening ear, my calmer downer, my dear friend.

When a police officer has passed away, he is traditionally driven by the police station one last time and the code '10-42 Officer .... now at his home' is repeated. Today I say, 'Good Night Darlene, and thank you for working at Sears.'

Darlene's last ride was through the parking lot at Sears. After work I went to the cemetery for a private time with her.

Last Christmas she was so ill. She said she only bought one Christmas gift and that was this angel figurine that she gave me. Although I was very uncomfortable with all the emotions at the funeral, as I thought about it, I could use some of that enthusiasm when I Worship. Some of that spontaneous show of excitement. They had her casket open as we left. She was not Darlene. I put my hand on her shoulder one last time. She looked far more beautiful to me the last time I saw her in the hospital - her hair beginning to come back, her skinny little face with bugged out eyes. She looked so beautiful. Some day we will meet again - she is waiting for me. That is my promise. My hope. My surety.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Home Free

Yesterday morning at around 10:30 I lost my Survivor, Sears ally. I lost my confidant. I lost my team mate. I lost my friend.

I really never thought it would happen. I thought that she would win this battle. She lost. But, she did have the victory. The ultimate victory.

On Wednesday I went to see her in the hospital, shocked at how she had changed in such a short time. She had a hard time speaking so I just sat beside her. At one point she became aware of me and thanked me for being her friend, for sitting beside her. She said, 'Now that is a true friend.'

On Thursday I quickly ran up to see her before heading off to the cabin for the weekend. She had slipped further away. On Friday they called and said that she was only given a short time to live so I came home. I told her I loved her. I thanked her for being my friend. I told her I was proud of her. On Saturday morning I got to see her one more time. Again, I told her how much I loved her.

Darlene has left a void in my heart. In my workplace. No more Thursday night phone calls. No more making fun of her eubonics. No more asking 'what black folk do?' No more alliance.

Darlene is Home Free. Good night, and thank you for working at Sears.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Disconnected and Broken

Last Saturday we I drove to Nappanee to get the Angel Food for mom, a lot of memories ran through my mind.

Each Summer we would come home from Puerto Rico. For me, it was a time to be a child. Wakarusa/Nappanee were so safe. There were no agendas. It was just a time to be a kid and enjoy Summer living in small town America. Rather than going to the beach, we rode bikes. Rather than hearing Spanish chatter, it was all English. Different sights, different sounds.

For so many years I prayed that we could move back to America. We would sing the song from West Side Story, 'I like to be in America'. Finally that happened. It was my junior year. I will never forget walking into school that first day. It smelled different. I didn't have any connections with the kids in my class. They had lived in small town America all their lives -together. They knew no diversity. They knew nothing of the ocean, the mountains, the coqui. When I got nervous, I forgot my English. I burned a hole through my chemistry book the first day. I was truly a third culture kid - American by birth, but Puerto Rican in my experiences. Then I was betrayed by someone who I thought was my friend. It has haunted me my entire life - I never understood and have always wished I could ask 'why?'

We just had a class reunion. I have never gone to any. I remain disconnected. Odd. As a child, I drempt of coming home. As a teen, I recognized that this was not home. As an adult, I now know that I am truly a tourist on earth, no matter where I am because my ultimate home is in Heaven. It does make me sad to feel disconnected though.

On Sunday we saw a clip about praying for America. We were asked to get on our knees and pray. The minute I hit my knees I was broken. Broken for people that I am connected to - even through the world of blogging. People struggling. People who have had huge losses. People I have never met in real life. Oddly, I feel connected to them. Perhaps because we share the same faith. The same Hope. The same someday Home. Maybe I am not so disconnected afterall.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Helping Hands

Today the Hershey Boy that we got to borrow was Edwin. He wanted to spend the night at the cabin but tomorrow is so busy that we had to put those plans on hold. We did get to spend the day together though.

We decided to go to a greenhouse that is out in the country. Being in a greenhouse was a chance to explain to Edwin that our world was once like that before God destroyed it with the flood. We talked about how it was warm, moist, and a place for living things. Almost anything in nature gives us a chance to talk about Who created it!

Edwin had so much fun picking our the mums. He decided that the yellow ones would be best. He helped load them in the car and unload them here at home. Today was also 'rebuild the fence' day and Edwin helped remove the wood out of the van. I pray he always has a servant's heart. A heart that is willing to help. Hands that are willing to get dirty. Hands that are open, waiting for the Lord to give and to take away.

Everyone said that being a grandparent is different in a good way, and it is. Each
grandchild adds something so special to our family and to our lives. Each having the potential to be a missionary, to be a pastor, to be another generation that serves the only One worth serving.

It was wonderful to get to spend the day with Edwin. When we took him home, Robert said, 'I am the oldest and the smallest.' Edwin then had to tell us, 'I am the youngest and the biggest.' I asked James what he was and he said, 'I am the middlest.' I told him he was the smiliest -my sunbeam! Just another reminder of the uniqueness of these little souls we have been entrusted with.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Under New Management

On Saturday before I went to work, I got a phone call letting me know we have a new manager. It has been two months. Two very long months for most of the staff. The announcement went out to everyone else today.
As I left work, I had to chuckle. My team was so anxious for a new manager. Reality hit when after only two hours he had had words with three of them!
Team 2130 did an amazing job. We kept that store running. We are the most profitable in our district. We passed our compliance check. We have done so many things right. These past two months have been hard, but also a blessing. We are truly a team. We have learned to give. We have learned to give some more. We are united. We are family.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Meeting Jenevieve

Today I got to see Jenevieve for the very first time. Yes, 'it' is a 'she'.

As the technician took her measurements it reminded me of how fearfully and wonderfully we are woven. When I took my EMT class, I have no reason to believe that the instructor was saved, but as he shared about our human bodies he said, 'And now you know why I do not believe in evolution'.

As the tech was moving her wand around, I noticed that the measurements varied. The head in particular measured two weeks ahead of Jordan's gestation. I didn't want to alarm Jordan but I did ask the tech if it was normal for certain parts of the body to measure so different. When Jordan asked why I wondered, I told her I noticed that the head was measuring larger than her gestation.

After the ultra sound we went up to see our dear friend Darlene. She has been having a very hard time. Jordan showed her the pictures and the first thing she said was, 'That baby has a big head!' How funny.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fabulous Frankenmuth

Each year Dryscha and I attempt to go to Frankenmuth and get some Christmas shopping done. She's easy to spend time with because we both enjoy just hanging out and reading. A rare treat for both of us. We do get some shopping done. We do get to share what is happening in our lives. And really, that is the best part. Just spending time together. I am blessed by Dryscha and her tender heart and sweet spirit.

The place for chicken!

I don't even know how to begin to describe Bronner's. Although I have been there about 6 times now, I am still overwhelmed as I walk in. Definitely a hard place to control spending impulses. It is one of my favorite places.

Monday, September 14, 2009

We Heart You Baby!

Jordan's pregnancies are always long. Not 'term' long, but emotionally long - filled with many anxieties. It is hard at times to 'be still' to 'know'. She is blessed with a Christian doctor who is able to calm and soothe her. By the end of this week we will know if this is a baby boy, or a baby girl. It really won't matter - we will love either one!

I once read that God doesn't give us the gender we want, but rather the gender we need. How does He determine that? How does He know? It boggles my mind to think of Him and His infinite wisdom. To know that He knows the plans that He has for us. Sometimes those plans are so hard to understand. So hard to bear.

Another little life will be joining our family soon. It is always exciting and humbling to wonder what plans the Lord will have for them.

Monday, September 7, 2009

It Is Well with my Soul. Or is it?

I left the cabin today feeling very optimistic. It was good to get away. Good to have quiet time. Good to flee the distractions of work, computer time, business.
My optimistic feeling lasted until I got to Wakarusa and found my mom feeling rather ill. She seemed lucid though. Said she was sick to her stomach and she went back to bed. I left to go to work. Four hours later I get home to a message on my answering machine begging me to get there quickly because she is so ill. I have no idea how long the message was on the machine. I had no idea what kind of shape she will be in when I do get there. I called Dryscha and asked her to contact the neighbors and gave them permission to call the ambulance if needed while I sped towards Waky for the second time today.
God was good. She is ill. but the worst appears to have passed. For now. I am not sure how much longer she can live alone. I feel bad. It is tough to see our roles change and she is just as stubborn to my parenting as I was to hers! I am praying for wisdom. I am praying for peace and good attitudes on the part of both of us as we navigate this path.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Quiet Time is Coming

Sometimes it seems that life is running away from me. It gets so chaotic. I hate chaos. I love things that are orderly and scheduled. My work life balance has not been balanced since July. I am tired.

Perhaps I will feel guilty, but today I am going to the cabin. I drempt of going alone but there is a six year old little girl who has also been the victim of my lack of balance, Jocelyn. She loves it up there too. Tonight Bob will come up for supper and we will build a huge bonfire. I will sit. I will read. I will get closer to the Lord.

My burdens will go with me. I will still pray for my mom, my work family, my real family, the people in my blog world who are struggling. They are all a part of my life and people the Lord has laid upon my heart. The difference will be that I will also be able to focus on them in a quiet place. I love the world that the Lord created. It amazes and astounds me as I reflect on His creation. There is something about being at the cabin that allows me to do that. I need a few quiet days.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

An Anchor

Since July 21st, life has been like a storm at sea. Almost two months have passed since we lost A and emotions still rage. Especially since we still don't have a store manager. We are tired. We are beyond tired. Some days I am so tired I can barely breathe.
Mom has been in and out of the hospital/nursing home three times since then. It has been tough to add in the travel to Wakarusa several times a week. Jordan is having a difficult pregnancy. And the worst is yet to come. My grandchildren probably don't even remember what I look like! Bob is not getting the meals he should. Darlene, my dear Darlene, discovered the cancer has metastasized. I am her cancer support person. How can I support her in the way I need to?
For Mother's Day, Celia, wh has adopted me as her mom, got me an anchor necklace. She wrote me a poem about being an anchor in her life. I have been on the ocean enough to know what an anchor does. It holds firm. It holds steady. It holds fast. It goes deep into those waters and provides stability. Those huge ships depend on those anchors.
Being an anchor for someone is scary. It is serious. I better know that the ground is firm. I better know that I will hold true. That I will hold on no matter how high those waves get. In order to do that, I need to know in Whom I am grounded. And I do. He will hold me fast. He will lend me strength. He will hold this tossing ship, me, very tight. Tonight I am very thankful for that.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Secret Place - No More.....

My first three bags of personal items went to the women's shelter this week. It is a secret place to me no longer - although it is a place of secrets. It is a large place. A place where visitors need to be buzzed in. A place whose play area is surrounded by a tall fence and topped with barbed wire rolls. An inner city place where public transportation is readily available.

Tomorrow my first Woman's Shelter new hire will begin work. I am excited. I actually got a second phone call from another Women's ministry about another woman in dire straits. My co-workers may not share my passion. They don't tend to be as 'forgiving' as I am about certain traits. For several years I have been burdened for women in muslim countries. Perhaps God is leading me towards women right here in Elkhart, Indiana. I am excited to see where the path I can I can share The Answer, The Hope, The Way....


There are days when I honestly do not think about the grandchild that we lost. The grandchild we never got to know. There are other days that the loss is very poignant as I realize we would have had 4 three year old grandchildren rather than 3. Whenever I go to Jordan and Patrick's, I always take a few moments to see the little area they planted in this child's memory. I do not feel that this child is an angel awaiting us. The angels are created beings and I feel that aspect of creation is done. I do know that the soul of this child is in Heaven.

Six years ago we celebrated the birth of Jocelyn. It was....I can't think of a word to describe what it was like to watch my first grandchild being born. A child I had prayed for. A new generation. Along with death, comes life. Jocelyn has asked Jesus to be a part of her life so someday she will be reunited with the sibling she never had a chance to know. Heaven will be full of reunions.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Secret Place

For a long time I have felt a desire to somehow connect with the local Women's Shelter. Obviously time is an issue. Obviously money is an issue. Yet, I feel I need to be passionate about something. I need to give.

For the past several months, I have been using CVS Extra Care Bucks and rolling them over. I have done a pretty good job and also have accumulated quite a bit of personal products. I decided to make up gift bags with items in them that women in crises could use.

Today I decided to give them a call. I have some hiring needs and thought maybe someone there could use a job. In the process, I could also find out how to get the bags to them. After all, they live in a secret place. I told the woman on the phone about the items I collected. Really only 3 gift bags. I asked her how I could get them there. I acknowledged that I knew it was a secret place. She said, 'Honey, you call me before you come and I will tell you how to get here.' Maybe she could hear the sincerity in my voice. My desire to minister to the women in that secret place.

I had a woman come in soon after I called. Her application gave an address. A fake address. After all, she lives in a secret place that only a few know about. I scrunched up my mouth and told her we might have a problem. We do need a valid address for company information, taxes, etc. I asked her if there was a chance that her abuser could find her here. I told her we wanted to protect her. She was so beautiful. So articulate. So happy. She was almost dancing on her way out.

What would it be like to live in a secret place? To watch out the windows and wonder if the secret would remain? To leave your past for a secret present? To wonder about your future and how long you could keep that secret safe?

If my boss would walk by my office he would see eyes with tears in them. It is only by the grace of God that I do not have to live in a secret place. Today my prayer is that as I someday soon walk through those secret doors, that somehow I will be able to share a very loving Christ.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Walking The Path

Sometimes it is hard to figure out which path to take, where to plant my feet. Yesterday, we had to put mom in a rehab facility, at least for now. As I walked in this morning, I had a tough time. I am so thankful that she was in good spirits. Her faith is strong, and her spirit seems willing to do what she needs to return home.

Wakarusa is such a dear place. A place of refuge. A place that I longed to return to each Summer. A place of such wonderful memories. Yet, this morning as I walked along the sidewalk to Dollar General, I realized I knew no one! Not that the streets actually had anyone on them! Oddly enough, I seldom go anywhere in Elkhart without meeting at least one person I know.

There will be decisions to make. Tough ones. I know Who is walking the path with me. I simply need to allow Him to lead the way.

Monday, August 17, 2009


It was probably 20 years ago that I sat outside crying because we had to put sweet Ginger to sleep. Out of nowhere came this stray kitty. She climbed onto my lap and comforted me. For the next several days I watched the newspaper to see if anyone had reported her missing and they had not. She became mine.

Over the years, Sophie always knew when I needed comforting. She loved to be held. She gave us the best Christmas memory we ever had of finding a mouse in our curtains. She was calm. She was sweet. She had one bad habit - not using the litter bpx to pee in.

About four months ago I realized we were going to loose her soon. I fought hard for her to see another day. She fought too. Four months ago Darlene had just undergone her mastectomy and I could not have handled loosing my Sophie. There were days when I thought I would not see her alive again, but she had the strength to greet me each morning begging for food.

Two days ago she didn't come. I knew she was either dead or close to it. Bob found her in the basement. She lived another 48 hours and I went down and petted her and told her how much I loved her several times each day. Today she is gone. My little tidy cat kitty who always knew when I was grieving. Today I grieve alone.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tomorrow, tomorrow - it's only a day away.

It is probably best that I don't include my place of employment. Our motto since July 21st, when we lost our store manager, is 'Can it get any worse than this?' Yep it can.
Within the past two weeks, I have been involved in two sexual harassment investigations. One resulted in another staff member being terminated. Yep. Another one bit the dust. His irate wife then attempted to run over a woman in the parking lot. Someone almost bit the dust big time.
Today, a repair man was climbing around in the ceiling, He had a ladder blocking the dressing room. A woman decided to go in anyway, change and what to her wandering eyes should appear? I guess it should be 'Who to her wondering eyes should appear?' Mr. Repairman. She now claims she is going to sue us because he saw her in all of her glory. I don't know. I don't strip down nekked just to try on tops.
Tomorrow is the last day I work this week. We always did call it the Thursday Night Curse. I just can't wait to see what happens tomorrow. It's only a day away!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust.....

The unimaginable happened. I know it is not uncommon, but that doesn't make it any easier. We lost our store manager because of theft. It was one thing loosing Chris who didn't 'choose' to be let go. This is totally different. For the past two years I have felt things were not 'right' with him. I asked him more than once about how he was detaching himself from us. I suspected a gambling problem. There is too much to write about. I cannot. All I can say is that I am sad he never shared with me, whom he often shared confidences, how desperate he was...... And, I was right. I wrote him a letter and told him I forgave him. More importantly, he can be forgiven by a God that doesn't categorize sin. And that is the most important forgiveness of all.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wet in Wakarusa

Last night we grabbed my mom and met Mike, Dryscha, and their boys and Patrick, Jordan, and their kids at the waterpark. There is nothing better than a small town waterpark on a July Summer evening. We had a picnic first. What is a waterpark without food? After playing on the waterpad, everyone decided to climb the huge hill that is used for sledding. Of course Dryscha had to see if she could roll down it. What a mom!

It is always fun to get the little guys together. It always brings back a flood of memories to be in Wakarusa. Happy memories of carefree Summers. Wakarusa is in my blood.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Walking by Faith

Sometimes the road that Christ takes us on is not a pretty one. It is narrow. It is twisty. It is rocky. There are barriers to overcome.

When Christ called Peter to become a disciple, Peter was a simple man. He was a fisherman. Uneducated. Probably a man who wasn't too concerned about personal hygiene or proper etiquette. When he was called to follow Christ, he was going about his everyday task - fishing. He had no concept about theology. Didn't fully understand the verbage Christ used. What he knew was that he needed to obey. After he obeyed, everything else just fell into place.