Friday, December 11, 2015


Welcome to my little corner of the Five-Minute Friday community, where a group of dedicated bloggers link themselves with Kate Motaung and engage with a word prompt for five minutes... Just five. No editing, no revising - just a five-minute thought stream....

Today's prompt is... REFLECT.

GO --

We study light in fifth grade, reflection, refraction, and absorption. It's amazingly mathematical, the movement of light, bouncing off of surfaces at the same angle it bounced on (hmm...can you bounce ON to something?). Transmitting through objects and surfaces; emerging changed in predictable ways. Waves of light, measureable by height, amplitude, and length.  Resonating, vibrating. In synch and absorbed, never to be seen again, and out of synch - changed. There's science here. And numbers. Equations -- open and shut, done and done. Electromagnetic radiation -- those are the lightwaves -- the length determines the frequency which determines visibility. And here's the cool thing. Just because we can't see it, doesn't mean it's not there (yes, double negative intended).

And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
Genesis 1:3 (ESV)

Science and math can explain what it is and how it works. And the explanations are logical and satisfying. Opened and closed. Like visible light. Now you see it - it's easy to believe it.

And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 
John 12:44-46 (ESV)

Not equation. No numbers. Not open and shut, not done and done.

Jesus as light.

Reflecting from us, in acts of kindness, in compassion, in loving one another as He loves us...

Transmitting through us - our attitudes changed by Him, choosing joy, choosing belief, choosing hope...

Absorbed inside of us - Holy Spirit cocooned in our hearts, never to leave, dependable and steadfast...

Out of the darkness. Jesus.

And today - I leave you with a quote for our world - 

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; 
only light can do that. 
Hate cannot drive out hate; 
only love can do that.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, December 4, 2015


We argue, on occasion. True confession. It's a question of expectations and opinions and belief in the right or wrong of a situation. A question of statements, and disagreements, and finding common ground to go on. Never loud; no yelling, not even volume raised, but argument nonetheless.

And my daughter knows. She's sensitive to tone and innuendo, to body language, to abrupt silence. I don't know what goes through her mind. A storm cloud looming? A rocky path? It's ok that she witnesses our disagreements; she needs to know that people have disagreements. Even people she loves. Even her parents. She needs to witness respect in the difference. And resolution. It's ok that she recognizes things are not always hunky-dory. That life goes on. That love goes on.

And that's when I learn from her.

"It's e-lationship, Mom," she tells me. "You and K...., it's e-lationship." She puts her arms around me, the empathy master working on comfort, and all I can do is smile at the Sierra-ism. She skips first letters on her words sometimes, in this case, turning relationship into e-lationship.

But isn't that just like her. To show me the joy?

Elate - the verb means to make someone ecstatically happy. It originated from a combination of two Latin roots: ex -- meaning 'out or from,' and ferre -- meaning 'to bear.'  These became 'effere', which then became 'elat' which means raised - which then travelled over to late Middle English as the verb we now know.

I like that. Relationship and Elationship. We raise up, we bear. From two minds, from two people, out of two hearts -- we raise up.

Love is like that.Relationship is like that.
"At that season Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes: yea, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in thy sight. All things have been delivered unto me of my Father: and no one knoweth the Son, save the Father; neither doth any know the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal him.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:25-30 (ERV) 

Five-Minute Friday and the prompt is Season. It is the beginning of Advent and the sometimes crazy Christmas season is upon us. In looking for an anchor for this post -- a scriptural anchor -- I came upon this passage from Matthew. In every translation except English Revised, season translates as time. As in - in that time... Curious. 

I tend to do this thing - this choosing of the 'underdog', so to speak. This choosing of a scriptural anchor that only uses season in one translation. When the whole prompt is season.


I'm sure it's because of the reference to children -- to the wisdom of children. Because I am a witness to this through my daughter. My 24-year old daughter who is not a child, yet, because of her unique capabilities and differences, perhaps because of her extra chromosome, shows me a different perspective.

In Matthew, Jesus was most likely at his wit's end (if you can imagine), revealing himself through supernatural means -- miracle upon miracle -- over and over, in cities and towns far and wide, yet realizing that the people he came to redeem still did not see or believe his true nature. How frustrating. So, instead of ranting and raving at those people, he turned the situation around and thanked his Father for the children - children without the burden of worldly knowledge - who believed through heart rather than head.

It reminds me of my daughter - who believes through heart rather than head. 

"It's e-lationship, Mom."

Of all the seasons of the year, it seems to me that this is the one where we need to stress the elationship in our relationships. 

Love is patient and kind; 
love does not envy or boast; 
it is not arrogant or rude. 
It does not insist on its own way; 
it is not irritable or resentful; 
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, 
but rejoices with the truth. 

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I Am Scared

Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. 
This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. 
Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: 
Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, 
and guard against corruption from the godless world.
James 1:26-27 (Message)

"There's a situation, sir, across the sea..."

The man looked up from his computer screen, eyes tired behind the horn-rimmed glasses, the ones his wife insisted he wear. He rubbed them wearily.

"What situation?"

"People, sir. They're washing up."

"Washing up? What do you mean, washing up? Washing clothes? Quitting their jobs? Cleaning themselves?"

"No, sir, they're coming onto shore in boats and rafts. Even innertubes, sir. They have no papers. They have no money. Mostly women and children, sir. They have no food."

The man took the glasses off, holding them carefully by the expensive frame, and sat back in his chair to get a better view of his visitor.

"Across the sea, you say? How is this our business?" He was annoyed. So many issues, so little time. Interruptions and distractions. 

Pinching the bridge of his nose where the glasses usually rested, his eye caught movement on the television screen in the waiting room outside of his office. Past his visitor. Rude of him, really, to look past the other man, but the image, in focus now, compelled him. Ragged people, eyes too big for their heads, tent camps and fences. Refugees. 

The news agencies were all over the situation. The one across the sea. Not here. Funny to be told about it and see it, almost simultaneously. Not here. Not our problem.

"How is this our business?" He asked the question again, but even as he asked, he waved his hand dismissively at the screen in the other room. His visitor blinked at the gesture and turned to see the news report. A long moment passed before he turned back, tears in his eyes.

"We should help, sir. They need..."

Interrupting, the man behind the computer replaced his glasses and looked back at the screen.

"Not today. Not our problem. Not our mess."


"I'm scared."

"Me too."

Tuesday school, her daughter jokingly called it. Tuesday morning Women's Bible Study class. They were studying the Old Testament - all of the good kings and bad kings - all of the judges and heroes. They were at the years of captivity, Babylon, and the worshipping of idols and the killing of babies. Horrible things. Unbelievable things. 

But the conversation today was not about scripture; it was about the terrible events on the news. Shootings. Bombings. Terror. And the refugee crisis in Syria, home of ISIS, the worst of the offenders. Horrible things. Unbelievable things. Scary things.

"Did you hear the President's speech? About Syria and the refugees? He wants to let 10,000 more come over here."

"Ten thousand? That's more than our whole town! We only top out at a little over seven. Thousand. And that's counting every, single man, woman, and child. And probably a few hound dogs..." With a little smile. To lighten up the situation. "Aren't we already doing enough? Remember when we started the backpack program for the kids? Twenty. We wanted to feed twenty. Now it's up over three hundred."

"And the Peace meals. Don't forget those."

"Ten thousand. Imagine. I read about it on Facebook the other day - one of those newsfeed articles. There are millions coming over the borders over there. With just the clothes on their backs. Because their homes are gone - they've been bombed. And the men are coming in - taking girls, taking women, taking boys." Tears threatened to overflow the dam of eyelash and mascara.

"I say we need to take care of our own. Right here. I mean, what if some of those terrorists sneaks into the group the President is talking about? It's just not smart to take that kind of chance - like inviting those people right into our own backyard... It scares me.

"Me too."


"What do you see?"

"I see postings, left and right, for and against, controversy and agreement. Heated, argumentative, pleading, and divisive."

"Good. Social media is an excellent tool for stirring up. What do you hear?"

"Fear. Whispers in the dark, heads in the sand, voices of avoidance. I hear thoughts: not me, not here, and let someone else."

"Ah... wonderful. Our plan is working. Can you feel it?"

"I feel terror."

"Yes. Can you smell it?"

"I smell Death."

"Yes. The end is near - our long-awaited victory. Yes."

Heavenly Father, 
I can only imagine the power for good 
that would be released into this world if 
we followed your Son - 

Love the Lord, your God, and Love one another. 

Help us to be united in these two. 
Grant us wisdom to see through curtains of controversy - strengthen us to glorify you. 
And Father, walk beside the homeless, the hungry, and the broken - 
comfort them, heal them, give them hope,
And help us to help them. 

In the holy name of your Son, Jesus, 

Linking with Unite, #TellHisStory

Friday, November 20, 2015

Old School - Dwell

It's Five-Minute Friday - when a community of writers take on a one-word prompt, set a timer, and go for broke. Kate has given us the word "dwell".  The link will take you to the link-up where you are invited to read and comment -- 


He looked up from the table with one of those smiles of his, flash of white teeth that lit up the room. How could I be offended at the question; sincerity combined with a devilish sense of humor --

"What's the difference, M'am, between old-fashioned, old-school, and traditional?"

I have to say, the M'am gets me. Even though I realize it's a sign of respect, it makes me feel old. M'am. Ergh... I AM old - compared to this soldier. Compared to this young man from the Ivory Coast who is attending class to become more fluent in English. Already highly educated, his question makes me smile.

Guilty. Some of our class discussions have been about education, and politics, and language in general. Comparative discussions -- country to country and era to era. I've mentioned being old-fashioned and now I'm being held accountable.

"What do you think the difference is?"

"Old fashioned is outdated. Old school is wanting things to be the way they were. And traditional is how it was always done. M'am." Eyes crinkled at the corners with the smile.

Bingo! My smile as wide as his, I acknowledge the differences. Small and huge. And we agree that when I call myself old-fashioned, what I really mean is old-school. Truth, I like that. I like that he understands the difference - his language skills are on point. And I like the idea of being old school. It makes me feel like I've matured. Like I can still accept change, but evaluated change. Like there's hope for this old lady yet...

Dwell feels old-school to me. It's rarely used in common language - street language - casual conversation. It's more formal. Like M'am. Respectful. And biblical, Old-Testament biblical.

AND STOP -- But I can't finish without the rest of the story....

According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, the word 'dwell' is found 474 times in Bible. Over 400 are found in the Old Testament translated from nine Hebrew verbs. Old school. Abide. Sit. Live. Inhabit.

And now, one of my favorite verses from Psalm 23. See, after David travels to green pastures and still waters, after he walks through the Valley of the Shadow of Death with his God, after he is presented with favor in the face of his enemies, he gushes...

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, 
and I shall dwell in the House of the Lord forever." Psalm 23:6 (ESV)

And now, here's my old-school thinking... There are letters within the verse that allow substitution. I like the options (see - I'm not old-fashioned, I really CAN handle variety...) 

"Only goodness and steadfast love shall follow me all the days of my life, 
and I shall return to dwell in the House of the Lord for length of days."

Heavenly Father, 
Grant that I return to dwell in your House 
where only goodness and steadfast love reign. 
Always and forever, 
for length of days.
In Jesus name,

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Untie the Love

As the Father has loved me, 
so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, 
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, 
and that your joy may be full.

John 15:9-11 (ESV)

"How do you take the prayers out?" Little fingers winding in and through the knots. Never still, head tilted, eyes wide with wonder, Charli had just heard the story of this quilt, this prayer quilt, of how the knots were tied with prayers.

Knots tied with love. Old, gnarled fingers on hands stiff with arthritis and ropy with veins. Young, supple fingers on smooth-skinned hands. Working hands, hard with callouses tied knots. Surgeon's hands, pastor's hands, teachers and musicians. The congregation gathered around this quilt, praying over the knots. Praying for the man who would receive it. Praying strength and comfort, praying forgiveness and grace, praying wisdom. For him, for his family, for his doctors and the medical team.

To little Charli Grace, it must seem like a wonderful gift - each knot a prayer - like a wish, a blanketful of wishes, like lighting advent candles, like opening a series of birthday presents, like Christmas morning - all of these prayers tied up in the quilt, all of these prayers laying over her Grandpa's lap.

Sweet smile, innocence in blond curls and china-blue eyes. "How do you take the prayers out of the knots?"

Because she realizes the prayers are the important part. The part to be unwrapped. The gift. Precious and holy.

I want to take the prayers out of the knots in all of the prayer quilts of this world.

I want the prayers for comfort and healing and strength and wisdom, for forgiveness and grace, for families and doctors and medical teams to stretch from here to Paris, from Paris to Syria, and Kenya, to Russia, to North Korea, to India. To the United States.

I want the prayers to grow like a vine, a wild, beautiful vine, that winds around and upholds the lost, the hopeless, the grief-stricken, the desperate, the lonely. 

I want the prayers to rain down on hubris and greed, on fear and ashamed, on selfish, on self-loathing. Rain down and melt down. Healing rain.

I want the prayers to heal the sick, help the poor, adopt the orphans, build houses for the homeless, find homes for refugees. 

I want to unknot peace, and kindness in this broken world.

I want.

Jesus said "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

Love and pray.

Love and pray. Precious and holy.

I want to untie the love in this world - the action of love - of loving one another as Jesus loved us. He died for us. 

Can't we untie the love?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Peace in the Valley

Well, I'm tired and weary
But I must toil on

I held my uncle's hand across the top of his bedsheets. His fingernails, still slightly long, cut square across the tips of yellowed, papery-skin fingers. Cool to the touch in the half-light of his room.

Visiting time had been extended for us. For the family who flew, who drove, who came to be with him.

"He doesn't have much time."

Till the Lord, comes and calls me,
Calls me away, oh yeah.

His lips moved with the lyrics. No voice. The voice that used to call me in from fishing, that used to tease about card-playing, that used to tell stories of the old days -- that voice was buried somewhere in the pneumonia that gripped his chest. But his lips moved with the lyrics. And I felt him squeeze my hand.

Where the morning is bright
And the lamb is the light
And the night, 
The night is as fair as the day.

Family was gathered around his bedside. Gathered to offer strength and comfort. To pray. To visit with this, the oldest brother of seven. Some waited in the harsh light of the reception area. Some were on their knees in the chapel. I felt the closeness and company of all of them, and wished I could have come sooner.

There will be peace in the valley
For me, some day
There will be peace in the valley
For me, Oh Lord, I pray

No more sadness
No sorrow
Oh Lordy, no troubles, I see
There will be peace, in the valley, for me.

Tears. Mine silently sliding and falling at the side of his bed.  His shone like still waters on his cheeks, head propped on the pillow. His eyes were closed, but the lips kept moving. Kept singing. Kept yearning. I could feel the yearning.

No Valley of the Shadow of Death - this, but the Valley of Green Pastures and Still Waters. A Valley of Peace.

Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Isaiah 55:1 (ESV)

My Uncle Norman died December 25, 2002. A son, a brother, a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, he received the best Christmas present ever and entered heaven to be with Jesus. Today is Five-Minute Friday. The prompt is 'weary'.

Side Note: I wrote this story in a much longer version a couple of years ago - I think it does my Uncle more justice than the five minutes here. If you're interested, the link is Peace in the Valley.

Friday, November 6, 2015


Sierra, showing off some dance moves....

...praise his name with dancing
and make music to him with timbrel and harp.
For the Lord takes delight in his people;
Psalm 149:3-4 (NIV)

Maybe it's part of being a mom. I'm just not as interested in my own affairs, as I am in figuring out and enjoying my daughter. Or my husband. Or my dogs. Or just about anyone else who wanders into the orbits of our family solar system... yes, it's Five-Minute Friday and whatever comes into my brain is getting typed and sent out. Eeek!

It's true, though. I honestly am finding other people to be oh-so-fascinating. Maybe it's not motherhood, just a level of maturity... Yes, I can discuss an endless list of 'doings' and 'activities' - but they only touch the surface of this dance we call life.

Dance - it's the word of the day. It makes me smile. Images of my daughter, faithfully executing dance moves in front of the Wii - controller in hand, or tucked inside her zumba belt, riding out the dance on her hips. "It's my favorite", she laughs, as she follows song after song.

They are all her favorite. I've said it before - she's an equal-opportunity-type girl and this is a lesson she's taught me. It's not necessary to prioritize. How freeing is that? When everything brings joy?

I remember thinking of love as an unquantifiable. If you love, you love completely. You can't give just a little bit of love. It's an all or nothing kind of thing. Untouchable. Abstract.

Until you see it in action.

"Remain in my love." 

"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."

"My peace I give you."

What wonderful gifts!

What a life we live!

David danced his joy in front of God and his people. He danced out of sheer exuberance and into praise. I don't know how coordinated he actually was - my husband is also a warrior who doesn't necessarily 'dance' - my inclination is that David, dancing with all his might, probably looked a little awkward - at least in Michal's eyes. Michal who judged, right?

"Make a joyful noise to the Lord!" I was given the gift of grace when trying to keep up with a first reading of new music in the middle of a choir of music majors. Ergh! Notes, rhythm, words. How in the world did they get all three on the first go-round? The book says 'make a joyful noise - it doesn't say you have to sing it perfectly' - Grace. From the gentleman sitting next to me.

The point? I believe we were made to celebrate. To celebrate God, to celebrate life, to celebrate each other. We have options. We can stand on the sidelines and judge, or we can participate.

Wholeheartedly. Whole body - whole voice - with complete love, complete joy, and complete peace.

Everything can be our favorite.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Bacon Bacon Bacon

Today, I am excited to join a community of writers. A one-word prompt and five minutes. Now, what in the world to do with this:  BACON!

I read the word 'bacon' on the page and my mind goes right to that commercial with the low-camera following a dog on his way through a spotless, gleaming kitchen.

"I smell bacon..." The voiceover is an adolescent, voice-just-changed, emphasis-on-the-BAcon. And the dog's front paws slide out sideways as his rear end tries to keep up with the nose in the air and the tail wag. Excitement on both ends.

"Bacon, bacon, BAcon...." Voiceover enthusiasm intensifies until he finally gets his treat. His bacon-flavored treat. From loving hands in that gleaming kitchen.

Yup! Our family does the commercial every time we cook up some bacon. Which really isn't very often, but special, just the same. I'm smiling just thinking about my daughter, with her little bit of a Down syndrome accent...

"Mom! Bacon bacon BAcon!!" And she literally breaks into peals of laughter.

"It's my favorite."  Yup. Of course it is. Because EVERYTHING is her favorite!

Ya know, I wondered how this would work. Five minutes and bacon. How the words could somehow turn a 'pig's ear' into a silk purse....  (you know....)

Well, maybe it's not a silk purse, but I'm smiling, and it's early early. And these moments, these simple things, these uncomplicated memories are precious.

Aren't they?

My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.
Psalm 131 (NIV)

So thank you, Five-Minute Friday community. Thank you for choosing this yummy word today.

Friday, October 16, 2015

I Have a Theory

Today is Friday; it is the day a community of writers set a timer, take a prompt and write. It is an opportunity to spill unedited thoughts across the blogosphere for better or worse. I'm working toward that five-minute limit; I can't seem to corral my thoughts before the timer dings. But I know this is a community of grace and encouragement, and blessed fellowship. The Five-Minute Friday links can be found here. They are always worth the time to read. Today's prompt? Green.

I have a theory about Fall color.

No, it isn't scientific. It isn't provable or quantifiable. It doesn't lend itself to experimentation. It really doesn't sit well in a world of measurement and precision.

In fact, it kind of leans toward the romantic. As in Romanticism. As in the art and literary movement of the first half of the nineteenth century -- with its emphasis on imagination and emotion as opposed to the Enlightenment values of reason and order. Yes, I had to look up the definition - thank you very much to the Metropolitan Museum of Art...

I adore the colors of Fall. I love to watch as the leaves turn, day by day, from deep, summer green to frosted tips of bright yellow and orange, to full-on sunbursts across the spectrum of warm - red, pink, neon brilliance. Just like Paris has it's fashion parades, the trees have theirs; and God, the designer outdoes himself. Season after season. Year after year.

Did you know that the colors we see are actually the reflection of the colors in an object? Light comes in waves. Objects either absorb or reflect those waves. The lightwaves that are reflected back to our eyes, are the colors we see. So when we call a leaf green, we are actually calling it by the color it does NOT contain, by the color it has reflected.

Interesting, right?

So, here's my theory about Fall color. We see green leaves all summer because the leaves are busy absorbing all of the warmth of the summer sun. Not just the warmth, but the warm colors. The reds, the oranges, the yellows. These are being banked, like a savings account, for the future.

And the future is Fall. These amazing colors we see, this cacophony of show-off brilliance, is that savings account.

It is the trees giving back the sunlight of summer.

But what if the future wasn't Fall, but was the future of God's Kingdom. The one Isaiah spoke about: the Glory of Zion? What if Fall color is God's promise to us, like the rainbow, of our future with him? God made the light. He made the trees. He designed the colors of Fall. Why not remind us of the day when He will be our everlasting light and glory.

The sun will no more be your light by day,
nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.
Isaiah 60:19 (NIV)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Out the Window

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. 
When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 
1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)

It is raining and the sky is grim and gray. Fall colors lay muted on the windowpane, smudged and running in rivulets down the glass. Joy in the rain. Joy in the clouds. Joy for the promise of growing, of life. Joy for the vision of sunlight beaming from heavy clouds like a crown for glory. Joy in rainbows to come. Joy in the colors of October like an artist's palette of warm sunlight -- a masterpiece in fluttering leaves of gold and orange and red.
Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.                                                                      Luke 11:34-36  (NIV)
I think about finding joy, about choosing joy. Sometimes it's about as clear as mud, this joy thing. James wrote to consider it pure joy to face trials.  Paul wrote that joy is a fruit of the spirit. Jesus said his joy is in us. That through his words, he would make our joy complete. He said our grief would turn to joy. That no one will be able to take our joy away. Joy walks hand in hand with peace, with salvation, with trust, and with hope. Joy is found in the presence of love. Joy is found in the presence of God.

Words. Part of Christian-speak, like code between believers, like a magic spell, an abra-ca-dabra. It's in there. In Scripture. Listed 422 times, according to my concordance. Four-hundred and twenty-two times - stolen joy, given joy, filled with joy, be a joy, go out in joy, pure joy, complete joy, receive with joy, jump with joy. Four hundred and twenty-two times.


More than happiness. More than circumstance. Then versus now, of this world and in this world, choosing good over evil, His will over ours.

Choose joy. Find joy. It's not just Pollyanna glasses. It's a conscious effort to see the cup as half full, to find the positive, to honor, to respect, to love -- even the unlovely. It's letting go of fear and giving in to trust. Trust in a good and holy God. It's belief that Jesus is real -- as alive and caring in 2015 as when his sandals, covered in the dust and dirt of everyday, carried him, carried his love in the year 30.  It's faith in what can't be touched, or seen, or heard. Faith in the Holy Spirit who sparks our thoughts and actions, who speaks for us when we no longer have words.

Choosing joy is not a Christian 'thing', not an add-on, not an accessory. Not a secret membership or password. It isn't jargon. It's a way to understand, to honor, to love. It is a way to live In Christ. Always in Him. Those who have eyes, let them see.

What do you choose to see? What do you choose to believe? How will you choose to feel? What will you find? How will you understand? What discoveries will you make?

Do you see in light, or in darkness?

Who will you find?

Joining with RaRaLinkup and TellHisStory today.

Friday, October 9, 2015


Another week, another Five Minute Friday. Thank you, Kate, for the prompt today. Trust. I didn't write for five minutes. It was definitely longer. October, among others, is Down Syndrome Awareness month. If you are curious, or are doing your own research for your own reasons, I have a page linking to posts about life and learning with my daughter. Who happens to have Down Syndrome. I love her beyond the moon.

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV)

"You'll spoil her."

"No, Mom. Spoiling is what happens to rotten fruit. I'm teaching her to trust me."

I bent down to scoop my daughter off the floor where she lay in a puddle of sunshine, soaking up essential light. The hospital people said it was good for her; it would combat the little bit of excess bilirubin still in her bloodstream, those sloughed off red blood cells causing a faint yellow tinge to her skin. Better that she was home with me than under the lights of the chamber in the hospital. They also said to feed her more often. If I could.

Four weeks ago. My world turned inside out. Down Syndrome. Heart murmur. Jaundice. Premature. My daughter was born weighing five pounds, two ounces, a tiny, fighting, scrap of a baby, filling the operating room with the sound of her cries.

I remembered sewing all night with my watch next to me on the table, timing the contractions, sending my husband to work, and finally calling the doctor. I didn't want to be sent home and this baby was at least five weeks early.

"Come in."

My neighbors drove me the 25 miles.

I was admitted and hooked up to the machines that indicate strength of contractions and heartbeats. I could have told them, but they had to read numbers. They said the baby was in distress, something about the cord, and had me change my position. Knee/chest they called it. I called it (excuse the visual...) butt in the air.

My doctor came in. I could see his feet. Shoes, no socks, he had been called from swimming laps.

"We may have to do a C-section," he said. "But it would be better for the baby if you can deliver without surgery."

Baby. My only thought. I'm going to have a baby.

They wheeled me into an operating room with a surgical team standing by. Just in case. I pushed my girl into this sterile, echo-y room. My girl with the purple face, the plastered hair, the grasping fingers, and the cry. Between cries, the pouty lips. She rested a moment on my chest and then she was whisked away.

I was released the next day.

"We'll have to keep her here for awhile. We need to settle this thing in her blood. If the numbers don't go down, we may need to do a transfusion."

They sewed me up down there. The stitches were still tender when I drove to the hospital to see my girl, when I sat beside her, talked to her, sang to her. They had her in a special crib - enclosed - with little rubber tunnels so I could reach in and touch her. She wore a doctor's surgical mask like a string bikini, soaking up light to help break down those extra red blood cells.

I timed myself to her feeding schedule, pumping breastmilk in the middle of the night. I said yes to counting chromosomes. It's called a karyotype.

She stayed in the hospital for a week.

The test results came back, telling me what I already knew. Sierra, my beautiful, fighting girl, had Down Syndrome. I spent the next two weeks researching, calling, contacting, loving.

Four weeks. My parents visit. We had finally broken the hospital habit of bottle feeding. Sierra was gaining weight - loose-limbed - pick her up like a broken doll - questions, references, love.

I think my mother was teasing. "You'll spoil her, giving her all that attention."

Smiling, holding my beautiful daughter, "No, mom. Spoiled is rotten fruit. I'm teaching her to trust."

We are children of God. 
Nothing can separate us from his love.
His childbirth was creation.
It was his Son on the cross.
We have his full attention. 
He is good. 
He is faithful. 
He is sovereign. 
In him, we can trust.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Don't Be Afraid

They followed his instructions, laying on the ground in the classroom.

Then one at a time, he called them to stand. "Are you a Christian?"

My husband says to never show a gun unless you intend to use it.

Twenty-six years old. What could entice him to use the gun he held -- to pull a trigger that sent a bullet thudding into vulnerable flesh -- Christian flesh. The body of Christ. Family.

My sister and brother-in-law drove out of our driveway on Tuesday. Just Tuesday of this last week. After spending four and a half wonderful days visiting. We talked and laughed. We visited and caught up. We talked about family, and God, and being a Christian. We loved on each other. It was special.

And then I watch the news.


Why, why, and why?

I hear words.

Reeling. Shocked. Anger. Prayer. Heroes. Gun control. Sickened.

There have been 45 school shootings in the United States this year, according to The Independent and the Huffington Post.

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Matthew 10:27-31

Linking with Kate and the wonderful family at Five Minute Friday 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Oh Celebration!

Today is Friday - Oh Celebration! - the day we join Kate for 5-Minute Friday. A one-word prompt, five minutes, and GO....

Oh Celebration!

My dog is snoring, 
laid out on the carpet, 
taking up all of the walking space
in the living room
As well he should

My daughter calls out the news
From her Facebook feed
Her legs tucked under her dress
At her spot
On the corner of the sofa
I smile at her joy

My husband
Stopped by after PT
For breakfast
He ran 10 miles
Stopping to read the years
On the gravestones of an old cemetery

Daylight broke early
Calm and clear
As I labored over a drawing
Of the second floor
In the house we are buying
Home at last

My sister is coming
For a visit next week
Plans include Niagara Falls
Boating on the river
And fall-color hunting
In the Adirondacks

Oh Celebration!

I rejoice in your name all day long;
I celebrate your righteousness.
For you are my glory and strength,
and by your favor you exalt my dignity
Indeed, my shield belongs to the Lord,
To the Holy One of Israel.

Psalm 89:16-18 (NIV with slight changes)

Friday, September 11, 2015


Friday - is the day when the gracious Kate Motaung gives us a one-word prompt and we respond. In five minutes. However and with whatever we can -- wherever our thoughts and key-tapping fingers take us. Then we stop.  The prompt today is Same.


Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4:29

"You look exactly the same."

It was my cousin's daughter, my first cousin, once removed (I had to look it up - the removed means one generation away - still family - all family...). I remember her with her sister, sitting on what was then my Aunt's front porch steps, their long hair falling all the way down their backs until it curled in ringlets on the peeling-paint, worn wood where we had plunked our summer-tan selves down, to catch a breather from Indiana-farm-swelter. I wondered what it was like to have that wealth of hair, to have the big eyes and the turned-up noses, the straight, wide, white smiles. I was the city cousin, come to visit - my life just as romantic and intriguing to them, as theirs was to me.

"Same smile, same dimples, same eyes - You haven't aged at all..."

How does one argue with that? In these days of feeling not-good-enough, not-pretty-enough, not-young-enough. In these days of resumes, and interviews, and being told that in this state, one doesn't even qualify for that certificate - the very one attained through a framed Master's degree hanging on the wall.

Smile and nod.

Laugh it off with a "thank you." With a sincere thank you.

Tell her how envious you were as a child. How much you wished for that hair, that smile - that all-american cute... Tell her that you can still see the girl on the porch - even though the years have passed. Tell her same-same. And smile.

And then listen well. Because we are together as family and it's been too long. Because catching up goes beyond our looks, and beyond our childhood memories. Beyond our outsides. Because we have gathered and in the gathering are stories. Stories of how we've changed, how we've grown, how we've overcome. Stories of blessings and difficulties, hope and disappointment, and faith. Stories that define us.

So we talked. And we listened. And we laughed. We did all those things that Indiana-family does - played cards, made music with guitars and singing, prepared and ate good food, cleaned up together - we enjoyed. All those things I remembered as a child, visiting, only this time, we were the adults.

Same but not. Better.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Want To...

Your eye is the lamp of your body. 
When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. 
But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. 
See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. 
Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, 
it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.
Luke 11:34-36 (NIV)

So I was cleaning house yesterday morning. A bit overdue. It's something I don't love, but necessary. Not my favorite thing... but something, that surprisingly, calms me. Maybe the repetitiveness, maybe the accomplishment, maybe the act of being busy for a purpose.

Somewhere in the middle of running the vacuum cleaner through my daughter's room, I had an epiphany. Cleaning is a have to, not a want to. What would happen if I could turn it into a want to?

It would take a change in attitude - a change in thinking. But, I thought, as I vacuumed along, but wouldn't that be powerful?  In every aspect of life?

And then I thought about every aspect of life. I thought how being a Christian is embedded in every aspect of life. Or, rather, how the teaching of Jesus is embedded in every aspect of life. The more Scripture I study, the more awed I am at how timely it is, how practical, how applicable.

See, I believe it's the little things, the details, the baby steps that lead us. Because many times they are so small, we don't even realize they exist.

Step by tiny step, we are lead to darkness...  Perhaps the tiny step of putting a marginally inappropriate want to in front of a have to?

  • When did finding wholesome shows and movies on TV become so difficult? Shows that don't have nudity, violence, profanity. That don't flippantly disrespect teachers and parents in order to get a laugh. That don't belittle, that don't entitle, that don't pump up the drama.
  • When did clothing become so revealing - especially girls' clothing?
  • When did "What's in it for me?" overcome "How can I help?"
  • When did "All lives matter" become "Black lives matter", or "Unborn lives matter", or "Police lives matter". When did we begin to separate instead of unify?
  • When did it become ok for children to raise their parents? For the immature to lead the mature? For babies to dictate to adults?

Step by tiny step, we can be lead to light. (From 1 Thessalonians 5)

  • Live in peace with one another.
  • Encourage the disheartened.
  • Do not pay back wrong with wrong.
  • Do what is good for each other.
  • Help the weak.
  • Be patient with everyone.
  • Be grateful in everything.
  • Rejoice always.
  • Pray without ceasing.
  • Do not quench the Spirit.
  • Do not treat prophecies with contempt.
  • Hold onto what is good.
  • Reject every kind of evil.
These are attitude changing, aren't they? Baby steps - changing have to's to want to's

So back to cleaning house. I can certainly be grateful in the fact that I have a house to clean, in the fact that I CAN push a vacuum cleaner, in the fact that I'm healthy and able, in the fact that I really will love the sparkle when I'm done, in the satisfaction of completing a task, in the luxury of time spent thinking and processing. I can use the time praying. I can know that what I do is a good thing, a necessary thing. Baby steps.

It's a start.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

This Is Forgiveness

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV)

The other day, I read something so profoundly full of grace and forgiveness, it brought instant tears to these feel-like-I've-seen-everything eyes. I was cruising through Facebook, skimming through the words and stopping briefly at the pictures. This particular picture caught my eye.

If you know me at all, you know that I have a daughter who is proud to tell anyone and everyone, that she has Down syndrome. That she is a young woman with Down syndrome. She doesn't lack for self-esteem. And she doesn't lack for compassion, or empathy, or friendliness, or helpfulness, and sometimes, just, plain stubbornness. Which can sometimes make me crazy. But that's not the sum total of who she is.

She's the girl who texted the wrong Uncle Jerry (my sister's husband) to tell him happy birthday - because she saw my happy birthday message to MY Uncle Jerry on Facebook (her great-uncle -- thus, the confusion). She's the one who tells my husband about his birthday present within five minutes of telling me that it's a secret. She just can't keep good news to herself. She's the one who showed me a series of texts to my sister:

My daughter: love you
My sister: I love you, too! So much!
My daughter: love you now let me work

So, this picture caught my eye, and I just HAD to click on the MORE. I had to read the whole story.

Well, it wasn't a story, really, it was a letter. The letter was to a young woman, quite pretty, a news reporter in fact. Apparently this news reporter described President Obama as a 'retard' in a tweet, and the letter was written in response.

True story. It actually happened in 2012, during the Presidential debates.

For me, hearing the word 'retard' feels like a punch in the stomach. It wasn't too awfully long ago when my daughter was in fifth grade at the school where I was teaching. Fifth grade. My classroom sat beside her classroom - two portables along the fire road behind the main school building, right next to the playground. We used to call them our little cabins in the woods. Our classes had recess together, the teachers taking turns to monitor.

One day, during my partner's turn at recess, a couple of girls from her class came to see me. Upset and fidgety, they told me about an on-going incident involving my daughter and one of the boys from my class. Apparently he had told my daughter that his name was JackAss. My daughter is really good with names. Just last weekend she kept all 38 of our relatives straight during our visit to Indiana. It's one of her superpowers. So this boy told her this name and then proceeded to follow her around the playground asking her his name. When she said what he told her, he laughed at her, and called her a retard.

I could barely thank the girls for letting me know what was going on.

I. Was. Furious.

Did you know that God can calm a storm? Thankfully, I said a little prayer before calling the boy to me - to hear his side.

Long story short, my classes, from that time on, were educated on the word 'retard'. They were educated about it's history -- how it used to be used to describe the mental capabilities of people with delayed cognitive abilities -- how it had slowly evolved into an insult -- how using that word as an insult, meant that they considered people like my daughter to be insults.

Not too long ago, I wrote an article about the word, very much like my classroom lecture. You are welcome to read it on page 10 of the July, 2014 Christian Journal.

But now this true story. This beautiful, grace-filled letter by a young man with Down syndrome. I don't know if he had help - the writing is leagues beyond anything my daughter is capable of. The forgiveness may be leagues beyond anything I feel I'm capable of.

See, he asks the pretty reporter why she uses 'retard' as an insult. He explains that, as a man with Down syndrome, he struggles to break public perception that intellectual disability means being dumb or shallow. Then he gives examples of the kinds of people she could have possibly meant to link to President Obama by calling him retarded. The people he describes are victims who rose above the bullying they received in school, or people who have to consider what they say, people who don't jump on the quick-comeback-snarky-soundbite bandwagon. He asks if she is perhaps linking President Obama to people with intellectual disabilities who live in low-rent housing, with state-provided health care who STILL, in the midst of poverty, manage to see life as a precious gift.

I've seen these people, friends of my daughter's, friends of mine. They participate in Special Olympics, supporting each other with encouragement and enthusiasm. They worship at churches and help with missions. They participate in meetings about living conditions, and jobs; they show up and sometimes even speak up at rallies and forums. They work. They play. They argue. They gossip. They forgive.

They forgive.

That's what made me cry when I read this letter. The young man was very clear and concise about how the word 'retarded' is used as an insult. He was very clear and concise about the link between a population of people and that insult. If you don't read the whole letter - then here are the final seven sentences...

After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV. I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash. Well, Ms ___, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor. No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much. Come join us someday at Special Olympics. See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.
A friend you haven't made yet,
John Franklin Stephens 
Global Messenger Special Olympics Virginia 
... A friend you haven't made yet....

"YET..." This is hope. This is forgiveness.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Two Hundred Eleven

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,
Colossians 3:13 (NIV)

Two hundred eleven.

It seems kind of random, doesn't it? Really, there's nothing special about the number two hundred eleven. Except this. Two hundred twelve. At two hundred twelve degrees, water will boil. At two hundred eleven, it will not. That's less than a half of a percent difference in temperature, on paper; our nerve cells probably couldn't tell the difference. After all, hot is hot. But boiling point is special.

The boiling point of a substance is unique to that substance; it's like a name. Once reached, the substance doesn't increase temperature, even if more heat is added. But the coolest thing?  It's the difference between remaining a liquid and becoming a gas. Change in state. Change in form. From a liquid state that retains its volume but not necessarily its shape - to a gas state with no volume or shape limits.

Two hundred eleven.

One degree short.

How often does that happen to us? How often do we try and try, work and work, and come up one degree short?

If we knew -- that with less than a half of a percent increase in effort, in motivation, in attitude, in whatever it is that's stopping us from achieving that thing we want to achieve - a name, a label, a job, a leveling out, a confidence, a state of no restrictions or barriers -- wouldn't we push ourselves just that tiny bit more? Less than half of one percent.

I've been looking for a parallel term in scripture. What does it mean to go that extra bit? To make the extra effort? I decided to try the phrase: make every effort in a search. Sixteen passages came up. Cross-referencing those passages into the Greek (and in the last case, Hebrew), gave me these words - synonyms for what it means to push through that last degree.
  • be diligent: 1. be constant in effort to accomplish something; be attentive and persistent in doing anything, 2. do or pursue with persevering attention; painstaking
  • earnestness: 1. serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous, 2. showing depth and sincerity of feeling, 3. seriously important; demanding or receiving serious attention
  • strive: 1. to exert oneself vigorously; try hard, 2. to make strenuous efforts toward any goal, 3. to contend in opposition, battle, or any conflict; compete, 4. to struggle vigorously, as in opposition or resistance, 5. to rival; vie
  • pursue: 1. to follow in order to overtake, capture, kill, etc.; chase, 2. to follow close upon; go with; attend, 3. to strive to gain; seek to attain or accomplish (an end, object, purpose, etc), 4. to proceed in accordance with (a method, plan, etc), 5. to carry on or continue (a course of action, a train of thought, an inquiry, studies, etc), 6. to continue to annoy, afflict, or trouble, 7. to practice (an occupation, pastime, etc.)
  • labor (verb form): 1. to perform labor; exert one's powers of body or mind; work; toil, 2. to strive, as toward a goal; work hard (often followed by for), 3. to act, behave, or function at a disadvantage (usually followed by under), 4. to be in the actual process of giving birth, 5. to roll or pitch heavily, as a ship
So, I realize, that as insignificant as that one extra degree seems to be, when looking at the numbers, or the percentage, it may not be easy to achieve. Constant effort, persistence, painstaking attention to detail, serious intent, vigorous exertion, strenuous effort, depth and sincerity, planning a course of action, exert body and the mind... These aren't easy, slide-by concepts. This is meaty, down-and-dirty, sweaty-it-may-take-some-first-aid to recover kind of stuff.

Is it worth it? That one degree. The difference between liquid and gas - between limits and limitless? 

Is it worth it?
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:5-11 (NIV) 

  • We can live a Godly life through Jesus
  • We benefit from his great and precious promises - to participate in the divine nature and escape the world's corruption
  • We develop in faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, love
  • Our lives become effective and productive in the knowledge of Jesus
  • We live in gratitude, remembering grace, cleansed from past sin
  • We have the opportunity to share the message of Jesus, the Good News
  • We serve and glorify God

Is it worth it? Yes.
The effort? The work? The labor? The planning? The hardship? The endurance? For one degree?


Friday, August 28, 2015

We Don't Have to Be Alone

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
John 13:34-35 (NIV)

We don't have to be alone.

I'll say it again, we don't have to be alone. Not in the deepest parts of ourselves. Not in our tears, our anger, our sadness. Definitely not in our happiness or our joy.

We don't have to see children playing alone, eating alone, watching and following others with wistful eyes and hands hanging like empty husks.

We don't have to be alone in our burdens, our work, our worries.

We don't have to be alone in our aging -- as ears and eyes grow old and tired, when hearing and seeing, and just plain getting around becomes difficult or impossible. We don't have to be alone.

We don't have to be alone in our intellect. Greater gifts bring greater responsibility, not to isolate in communities of ivory tower idealism and peer-reviewed publications. Not to entitle, but to get real in conversation and problem-solving, to bless in compassion and kindness.

We don't have to be alone in our differences, but can build fellowship in our similarities.

We don't have to be alone.

Linking with FiveMinuteFriday

Thursday, August 27, 2015

I Run 4

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. 
Hebrews 13:1-2
I have been considering this post now for several weeks. I just couldn't put together the words that I thought would do my feelings any justice... I still can't.
So, I'm guilty. I admit that Facebook, social media, and morning news programs probably take up way too much of my time. I'm guilty of clicking on videos and shared posts about the positive and the inspiring. I'm guilty of watching news programs that are typically heavier on social news and viewer interest stories, than on actual hard news. I am perfectly capable of reading the headlines scrolling along the bottom of the screen but I'd rather listen to friendly and encouraging. I'm guilty of thinking there should be balance between tragic and inspirational stories, between mean-ness and bullying and kindness, and between crime and integrity. It's one of the reasons for the title of this blog - Finding Joy in an Ordinary World... I'm guilty of thinking we should look for joy, choose joy, recognize that we might actually be surrounded by joy.
I've been a member of this group for about a year and have been matched with an awesome little 4th grader buddy for about 6 months. This post really doesn't have as much to do with him as it does so many others in the group. See, for a year now, I've been reading over all the great accomplishments by runners and buddies and seeing great runner/buddy relationships develop (including my own). But, I have also seen the posts that always make that lump in my throat and blur my vision a little bit. They're the posts that mention when someone's buddy is suffering or, God forbid, lost their fight. 
Case in point: I Run 4 Michael

This is a non-profit organization founded by a man named Tim Boyle, in 2013. According to the website,, Tim took up running after quitting a 2-pack/day habit. While searching for running motivation (he clocked 15-20 miles per week), he came across and posted this quote to his facebook page: 

I run because I can and when I get tired I remember those who can’t run 
and I run harder for them.

A friend of his happened to read his quote. This particular friend was a 50-year old man with Down syndrome, and bilateral hip displasia. He answered Tim's facebook message:

You can run for me anytime!
With 16 years in the military and 9 years in law enforcement, I used to consider myself a strong person. After the birth of my daughter in 2013, I finally realized how accurate Gary Allen was when he sang, "When tough little boys grow up to be dads, they turn into big babies again". Now, when I see so many children in pain or suffering, I just can not fathom the immeasurable amounts of strength that is demanded of their parents. Every time I see that another buddy has earned their wings (and I hate seeing it), I just don't know how I could even attempt to face another day after the loss of my child. I don't know what I would do if my child was suffering and I was powerless to help her. 
 It's about fostering relationship. It's about motivation. It's about encouragement, and support, and celebrating diversity. It's about health - physical and emotional. Runners/athletes are matched with buddies of all ages, and all disabilities. When they train, they post to their buddy via a closed facebook page. They post pictures; they share special moments and celebrations. Sometimes they send race paraphernalia to their buddy. Buddies and buddy-parents write back - encouraging and supporting, sharing their own milestones and celebrations.
So, this one goes out to all of the parents of buddies. With all of these children suffering in their own ways, I am in admiration and awe of the strength and love that you exude on the good days and, moreover, the bad days. You all amaze and inspire me 
In the short two years since its inception, I Run 4, Inc has over 32,000 members. Over 10,500 'buddy' matches have been made across all 50 states and in 29 different countries. They desperately need more 'buddies' to sign up. Why? Because there is a waiting list of athletes, a waiting list of over 3000 who want to run for someone who can't, who want to develop a relationship with a family, who want to share their joy. Some athletes wait over six months to be matched.
This weekend, I'll run the Spartan Super in Virginia; a course that really beat me down last year. But, I apologize to my buddy, John, because this weekend, I run for his mommy, Tuesday Shannon.                       Quotes from David Paul - 8/18/2015
There were over 200 replies and comments to Mr. Paul after he posted his thoughts on the Facebook page, IRun4Michael. Comments from parents and caregivers who sometimes feel isolated and alone due to circumstances around their child's disability. I understand. Been there. And the kindness and compassion of a stranger brought me to tears. After asking his permission to print his words, I just thought I'd share.

Sierra signed up and was matched with a runner about a month ago. Just one more instance of a world of hope.