Archive for August, 2011


I get overwhelmed at the grocery store. 5,347 kinds of cereal. I want to scream, “Just tell me what to eat!”

So many choices. Even more choices that I don’t realize.

The other night, I made a mad dash to the store to pick up something that was free until 9pm. I pulled into the parking lot. In front of me, there was a woman with a beat-up car. Paint peeling, hood up. She and her teenage son faced the engine.

“Anything I can help you with?” I asked, having no idea what I could do to help since I can barely pump gas. The woman hardly acknowledged me. She glanced my way and mumbled something. Maybe my husband had informed her of my auto handicap. I moved closer.

“I think it’s the battery,” she offered, still facing the silent engine.

“I have this contraption in my car that might help.” I retrieved it and noticed for the first time that it had cords. We untangled them as I phoned a friend.

“Tom, there is a woman who needs her battery jumped. Yes. I have it. All right, I won’t cross the cables.”

I informed her son. “Don’t cross the cables,” hoping he knew what that meant.

We tried. Mosquitos feasted on our heels. The car remained mute. Her son kept removing the cables to avoid being electrocuted. Or whatever happens when you do that.

“Johnny, don’t keep turning that off!”

“It might explode, Mama!”

The woman looked so tired. I think she’d had–to quote a famous children’s book, “A terrible, no-good, very bad, day,” and wanted to move to Australia.

But what if she couldn’t move? What if she didn’t know who to call, or didn’t have access to a phone. What if she had no options. I contemplated that as I left my contraption with them to retrieve a few things in the store before closing.

I realized the choices that I have that I hadn’t even considered. I could call AAA. I could have the car towed and maybe have the loose wires fixed. If I wanted to, I could buy a different car.

I’m not saying that more choices make me happier. Sometimes, I think it sows the seeds of discontentment. But that night as I thought of the tired mother and her teenage son, a wave of both thankfulness and love came over me.

Thankful to the Lord for HIs provision. Love for this lady with an old car and a teenage son.

When I went back to the car, an older gentleman who knew how not to cross the cables was helping.

The car still wouldn’t start.

“You guys had dinner yet?”

“I was gonna fix dinner when I got home.”

“Take my frozen pizza. It’s all vegetable, but maybe you might like it.”

The son frowned. The woman smiled. It was a pretty sight.

Like Father, Like Son

I’ve escaped to my office. Tom and Micah are having a burger cook-off. Voices raised, they argue that six items are the maximum number of toppings allowed. Each had to list them before being revealed to each other. I have no idea what those items are, but they are adamant.

“I thought cheese was automatically included!” my son protests.

“If it’s not on your list, you can’t use it,” I hear. There is not the edge that sometimes invades their speech. It is more like competitive male voices that love each other.

I like it.

Earlier, they watched the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Stinky,…er I mean, The Red Sox. Tom demonstrated the racing game that he is obsessed with on his iPad. Micah is really interested in all the pretend cars that Tom races. They ooohd and aaahd over them, and discussed them in great detail.

I’m glad.

Too often the words in our home have a steely taste. It is refreshing to hear playful bantering. Music to my “mama ears.”

Soon that will end because I am the judge.

Pray for me. I’m in for a good meal. With my two favorite men.

Diamonds in the Sky

The tall blond scrunched to the floor, facing the audience with her acoustical guitar. The slight three-year-old plopped down in front of her, partially obscuring the musician from my view.

The tall blond began to sing.

“Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are.”

Two babies dressed in Tampa Bay Ray shirts made flashing twinkle hand movements as child workers clutched them behind the singers on the stage. The small girl whose back faced me, strummed the guitar in unrhythmic movements, singing softly. The girl’s brother, also in a Rays shirt, bobbed up and down, mouthing words, performing hand signals at inappropriate times, all the while smiling.

“Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.”

A lump rose in my throat. Beautiful, beautiful, children. My eyes stung. How could anyone abuse them? Twin eighteen-month-old boys, the three-year-old girl and her brother. Another little boy. Parents arrested because they were running a meth lab. Diamonds in the sky, they were.

I lived in a different world. A world where parents celebrated when their baby lost a tooth, not a world where parents knocked teeth out of their children’s mouths.

My world was filled with two-parent homes that had locks on the doors and air conditioning that blew through clean air vents. Their world held no safety and little comfort.

Fact is, I don’t know their world. But I want to. I want to learn from them. I desire to serve them. I want to climb out of my middle-class, three bedroom, two bath home and care.

That’s what Jesus did. I want to be like Him.

“Twinkle, twinkle, little star. How I wonder what you are.”

The song ended. My resolve has not.