It’s a Miracle!

Several people have asked that I re-blog my stories. If you’ve already read some of the ones I am re-blogging, just keep on truckin’!

Perk and God

Hispanic and white hospital workersEons ago I was teaching OB Nursing in northwestern Ohio. I usually went to the hospital where we had our clinical rotation an hour before the students did, so I could have plenty of time to pick out their patient assignments, and match up each student’s leaning needs with an appropriate patient. This particular Thursday morning, as I was figuring their assignments, a nurse aide named Ruby walked up to me, and looked me straight in the eyes. She took my hand and said, “I was awakened last night by God, and He told me to tell you that your parents are OK. They are safe. You don’t have to worry about them.”

Now, no one had ever said anything like that to me before, so I could have thought she was looney. However, when I was in the 10th grade, Rosie, a family friend of ours, put her…

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Go Get Your Son

In 1984, my husband and I and our two kids, Charlie (age 2) and Erin (2 months), were living in Nashville, Tennessee. It was a warm weekend in June when I packed up my kids to head for Memphis to visit my friend Linda, and her family. The four hour drive went smoothly. Once in Memphis, we goofed around, reminisced, watched videos, and played with the kids.  Linda and Mike lived in a large house with a screened-in porch that was used as a playroom for their kids and they also had a nice pool out back Continue reading

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Tell me about your dream

 

          pasted-image           As usual, in a dream, you don’t always know where it started or where you are.

However, I was just aware that I was frantically looking for my husband, Bill. I was fearful and extremely desperate, running all around. I looked everywhere (wherever that was), and it felt like an eternity of searching. Then I saw the jet bridge (you know- that long boarding arm thing in airports) to my left and I ran down the ramp. It was the color of dusk in this tube, half full of nondescript people, but… there! I saw Bill- he was just about to board the plane. I yelled at the top of my lungs, “BILL!” He turned and looked at me, and immediately we hugged and kissed and I cried tears of joy. Then I woke up.

Bill was still sleeping, so I got up to take Lucy for her morning walk. When I got back, Bill was sitting on the front porch drinking his coffee. He said, “Well, I heard from God last night.”
“Yeah?” I said. “Tell me about it.”
“Well, I guess while I was sleeping, my heart literally stopped, and God, in a bellowing, booming voice yelled, ‘BILL!’, and an electrical charge in my chest jerked me out of my sleep.”
“Whoa- I guess God and I were both looking out for you,” and I told him my dream.

(By the way, Bill doesn’t have a defibrillator or pacemaker in his chest, just sayin’)

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He’s still here (aka funerals are for the living)

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Three or four months ago on a Wednesday, I received a text from my sister that Win,  a dear friend of mine had died. My heart sunk… “Oh why hadn’t I called her?” You see, every day since Sunday, God had been putting her name on my heart at different times throughout the day. “I need to call Win” I’d think, but then I’d get distracted or busy and I’d forget. And now, she’s gone. Tears welled up in my eyes and then I sobbed. I was feeling guilty at not calling her especially because God had whispered her name to my mind so much lately. Then, He said, “It’s not about you.” He said it in a kind way. And knowing Win, she wouldn’t be angry that I failed to call her.

Just yesterday, the day before learning of her death, I noticed my dog, Lucy, following me around our house, everywhere- even into the bathroom, sitting at my feet. She even jumped up onto my recliner to sit with me while I watched TV. When I went to bed, I remember telling my husband, Bill, “It’s like that death cat we saw on 60 Minutes- you know- the cat at that nursing home who sat on a person’s bed the night before he or she died.” I joked with him and said that he’d better not die. The next morning, while I was grieving, my daughter called when she learned of the sad news. She was so dear. I told her I was feeling bad about not calling Win but then I found out that she died on Sunday, the day God started whispering her name. I told her about Lucy, and Erin said, “God was preparing your heart for your loss.” I hadn’t looked at it that way.

The last time Win and I got together was at her house last fall. When I greeted her with a hug it seemed she’d lost some weight. She mentioned ever since she’d had the flu a month before, she had not felt back to normal. She had no appetite and was nauseated, but was tolerating liquids.She never had been a complainer, and during this visit, she shrugged it off. Being a nurse, I suggested she call her doctor, but Win said, “My doctor knows how I feel about this. I never go to the doctor.”

So, for the rest of our two hour visit, we talked about God and spiritual things. She and I were always on the same God wavelength, and were also very open and frank with each other. When she said she felt like she was coming closer and closer to Jesus, I asked, “So, do you think you are dying?” Her comment?  “Well, we’re all dying you know. It’s ironic, but if you think about it, the moment we are born, we are then dying.” I looked at her and said, “So, what are you feeling right now?” “Not peaceful- I’m beyond that. I can’t put words to it. I’m not content- that is so trite. I’m…..” she stopped talking and just looked like she was searching for the right word. I saw the word in my mind: “You are ‘settled’ ”   “YES!- that is it. I’m settled.” Our conversation wove in and out of every spiritual crevice. Before I left, I told her that what we had talked about reminded me of this book my daughter, Erin had introduced me to a couple of years ago, Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West (Compass)“.

On the drive home, I thought Win must have cancer, and I felt the extra copy of the Love Poems book was meant for her to read. The following day Bill and I drove to her house and I gave her the book, introduced her to Bill, and gave her a big hug. She called me the next morning, all excited and said, “Darlin’ how did you know? This book is just what I needed!”   “Oh, Win, I’m so glad. I just got a knowing on the way home the other day that this book would truly speak to your heart.”  “It did, it did. Thank you so much! I love you.”

And so, on Thursday evening when I was on my way to Win’s funeral, my heart ached. I thought about our last hug, our last voice communication, about my two friends, Jennie and Joe’s deaths, and of my Mom’s death 5 years ago. All were so special to me- so close- so honest and loving and giving. When I entered the church, across the room I saw Win’s daughter, Ann, talking to my sister, Julie who was Ann’s friend growing up. I hugged my sister and Ann, and I apologized for interrupting them. “Go ahead, you two- catch up. I just wanted you to know I’m here.” As I turned away to gather my thoughts, Ann reached out to me and said, “Patty… you know that book you gave to my Mom? I read that to her often.”  I smiled and nodded. Then I hugged Win’s son, Chris, and asked him, “Do you mind telling me what happened?” Chris didn’t know that I had seen his Mom a couple of months prior, but it was soon after my visit to her that she had a mild heart attack, and while in the hospital, found out that she had cancer. She lived her final two months at Ann’s house. On my drive home, I thought about Win- she was light, laughter, and love. And I gave thanks. “Thank you, God, for bringing Win and her kids into my life, for that beautiful book, for Ann and her family caring so tenderly for Win, for my sister being Ann’s friend, for Ann’s kids being my kids’ friends, for Lucy, and for my husband, Bill, who held me closely when I learned of Win’s passing and shares his love and life with me. And Lord, thank for being in charge- for somehow lining things up to help us understand life, death, and for loving us always.”

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Jesus draws near

On my way home from church last week, I thought about how I could purposefully include Jesus in my life.  I think about Him from time to time, but I was
feeling rather guilty that I can hear a sermon, and agree with it, but that I don’t always put it into practice. Do I not have enough faith?

Then, out of the blue, I saw in my head those two people in the Bible who were walking to Emmaus.

The setting:

Jesus had died on the cross, and it was the third day. The women and Peter and John had discovered Jesus’ body missing from the tomb. The disciples didn’t believe the women’s story, and Peter wondered what had happened. Clearly, they experienced something unbelievable, but lacked the faith to believe.

This same day, two people were walking on the road to Emmaus.They talked together about all that had happened: Jesus’ life, death, and of the crazy story of the women. As they talked, Jesus “drew near”  and went with them. (They didn’t know it was Jesus). They told Jesus they were sad because this Jesus fella was so awesome, and they had hoped He was the one who was going to redeem Israel. They mentioned the women’s cockamamy story. The three of them conversed, but Jesus did most of the talking, even taking the time to tell them all the old testament stories and predictions of His life and death. At dinner time, Jesus “took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then, their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight.”

I asked God, “OK- so what do You want me to learn from this story?”

“Well,” He said. “I draw near to you as you go about your day. I draw near to you even when you don’t believe what you read about Me in the Bible. Even when you don’t put in to practice what you’ve heard in the sermon. I draw near because I love you, and because I want you to know Me more and more.

imagesDon’t be so hard on yourself. The disciples didn’t believe the women’s story, Peter was doubtful despite seeing the empty tomb, and all of them knew Me personally. You have never actually seen me, and even though you read the Bible, go to church, pray etc, faith doesn’t come easy. I will always listen to you, and I will always point you toward Me, just as I did with those two who were going to Emmaus. You know that scripture verse, “Knock and the door will open. Seek and you will find.”  Well, sometimes I open the door without you knocking, and have you find Me even tho you’re not actively seeking Me, because I know you are human, and that you feel guilty sometimes, and that you don’t always put those sermons into practice. I do these things because I love you. Really.”

Lord, thanks for Your unending love. Thanks for drawing near to me. Thanks for Your encouragement.  Help me to encourage others who probably feel just like I do. You’re the best. I love You too!

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His word gets around fast

ford taurusSo last Thursday (Aug 14th) I was at my church attending our monthly Deacon meeting. One of the items discussed was our Helping Hands ministry, a service that we provide to people who need a meal, or a door painted, or whatever.  Mark commented that no one was using it, and wondered why. “Some people are too proud to ask for help,” said Debby. Some people might not even know we have this ministry. I said, “Well, maybe if we announced it in church that we have this ministry, and gave examples of the things we can help with, then our members may use it. For instance, God has given me the gift of giving rides to people, like to doctor appointments for example.” We decided that we needed to get new helpers, and post a list of the kinds of things we can help with in our monthly newsletter. After ending our meeting with the Lord’s prayer, we all went home.                                                                                                                                           The next morning, Friday, at 10:04am, my phone rang. I answered it, and the person on the other end was my elderly lady neighbor. “Patty? This is Louise. Are you one of the people who gives rides to people?”  “Why yes, Louise, I am. What can I help you with?”  “Well, I need a ride to my doctor’s office. I have an appointment at 11am.”  “Sure, Louise. I’d be glad to take you. What time should I pick you up?”  “Really? Really? You will really give me a ride?”    “Sure, sure. It’s a pleasure.” So, I took her to her appointment and brought her back home. Funny thing was, she doesn’t go to my church, and she certainly wasn’t at the Deacons meeting the night before.

With God, all things are possible.

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Prison Ministry

 

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          The place where I did prison ministry was in Chelsea, Michigan, near Ann Arbor. This place was a special project, where young men between 18 and 25 were sent because they were repeat offenders of crimes that were bad enough to put them in a regular prison, but not crimes like rape and murder. It was felt that sending young men to a regular prison would only harden them, and this project theorized that strict discipline, hard work, and exposure to Christianity would decrease the recidivism rate. Plus, the guys were helped to get their GED, and were placed in carefully monitored facilities once they finished their stint (120 days) and were not allowed to go more than so many miles away, except to go to church, for another 90 days.  The developers of this project were right- very few of the guys returned to crime after finishing this program. I was privileged to do prison ministry here through my church, the Ann Arbor Vineyard. The fellas were called, “Trainees”, not prisoners, and they had long days. 6am wake-up call, 3 mile runs, breakfast, and then work, work work. Cutting down trees, carrying the huge timbers to various places for use later to repair buildings or build new ones. Boot camp drills. The guards would yell at them 6 inches from their faces, “Trainee Smith!” “Yes, Sir!” “Do another 2 miles. You didn’t clean the floors right!” “Yes Sir!”, etc. They were taught total immediate obedience and never to ask a favor from any guard.

        The education building had 17 rooms for GED education and Bible ministry, and 20 to 25  guys in each room. The interactive Bible study on Saturday afternoons was not mandatory, but their only other choice was 2 hours of hard labor, so all 17 rooms were always full. I taught in the first room on the left at the end of a long hallway. The guards were rough and monitored the school hallways vigilantly. If they caught any Trainee nodding off, the Trainee was yanked from the room and made to do grueling work.

Toward the end of each Saturday lesson, the trainees were given a chance to take Jesus into their heart. One afternoon, Trainee Keck was one of 3 fellas who raised his hand. Just as the three guys stood up, a guard burst into our room and yelled, “Trainees Lance and Keck! Get out now and come with me!”

Then, 2 miracles happened:                                                                

#1)Trainee Edwards asked a favor of the Guard. “Sir, permission to speak, Sir!” 

The guard: “What?”

Trainee Edwards: “Sir, Trainee Keck was just about to take Jesus into his heart, Sir. Take me instead.”

#2) The guard: “Trainees Lance and Edwards, come with me now!”   

 

 

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BAM!

I called American Express Delta Airlines card to ask them about a charge, and said a quick prayer so I wouldn’t come across as sounding impatient or snippy (and the Holy Spirit came thru). The customer service guy was so nice (as usual), and I told him that I really appreciated how kind and helpful he was, and that Am Ex was always great! I also said if American Express ever needed me to do a commercial about how happy I was with their service, I’d do it for free.

And guess what? He said since I have been such a great bill payer  he was gonna add 2,000 sky miles to my account!

Then, I called Time Warner Cable ’cause I couldn’t find my bill, and I asked if someone could look at my plan to see if there were any way to save some money, and Ieesha found a way to have another DVR box here (for Kathy) as well as decreasing my monthly bill by ten dollars!! WOW!!!  I told her that I really appreciated how kind and helpful she was,  and that I would never switch to another provider because Time Warner’s customer service was always so kind and helpful! I also said if TWC ever needed me to do a commercial about how happy I was with their service, I’d do it for free.

And now, look. I got this card in the mail today:DSCN0567

(So far, no TV offers yet)

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