Wednesday, July 24, 2013


The other day, my oldest son showed up a little late for an event.  Not uncommon for a busy teenager.  He then explained that he was late because a hubcap fell off his car, and someone behind him, saw it fly off, watched it roll away, and wanted to let him know where he could find it.  My teenagers share the greatest car ever!  It was a gift!  And though it is a tad worn, it just keeps going each week, as we fill the tank with love and appreciation---- and a little gas, when funds allow.  So, I asked my son what he said to the man who told him of the plight of his missing hubcap?  He looked at me surprised, and said, "I said Thank You, I need that hubcap!!  I ONLY have one on that side!!!"  My son's response stopped me dead in my tracks and caused me to ponder!!  Though this car may seem old to the onlooker, my son values it and had "counted" and he knew a hubcap was already missing------ the thought of losing another was simply out of the question!!

 The story tells of the shepherd who had 100 sheep.  He "counted" only 99.  He loved his sheep enough to leave the 99, momentarily, and go find the one.                                                                                
And, when the wandering lamb was found, the shepherd rejoiced and threw him over his shoulders and carried him.  He loves his sheep enough to "count" them often.  During his ac"counting", he realizes one is missing and that becomes an immediate priority ------ and, a great lesson for all of us parents, grandparents, favorite aunts, teachers and mentors of every kind ------- he did not bring him back scolding or lecturing.  He did not seem to belittle him regarding his choice to wander.  Nor did he appear to pile up the punishments, nor rub his nose in his mistakes.  And, I bet that lamb felt loved, in spite of his decision to wander, as he lay on the shoulders of he who "counted!"

It was a cold winter night, just weeks after my husband left.  I remember being numb from the weather of the season and from my circumstance.  My sweet 8 year old was curled up, asleep beside me.  The other 3 kids were all out for various events.  Just as curfew approached, my phone began to ring with requests to pick up my sheep.  I looked at my youngest lamb, safe and asleep, wondering how I was going to leave the One, and go pick up the three, who were "counting" on me.  As midnight quickly approached, I seemed frozen by my new predicament as a single mother!!  I KNEW I was the shepherd to my children-----their ONLY shepherd that night.  My kids were "counting" on me, so I decided to "count" on Him!!! As I thought of the lamb over the shoulder of the shepherd, I grabbed a sleeping bag, and bundled up my little lamb, and with strength beyond my own, and an attitude to match, I carried my one to the car, and on that snowy night, picked up the other three, who were "counting" on me.  Amid the darkness and the cold, that night, I realized that  "counting" would be crucial over the next few weeks, months and years.  Not so much that I was being "counted" on as a single shepherd------ but that "counting" on Him would be my greatest source of inspiration and strength, to navigate the unfamiliar roads ahead.  And, my heart was filled with warmth as I realized that I too, was being "counted" and cared for, by divine design, by various hearts and hands.

That night, I realized why "counting" sheep helps us fall asleep.  "Counting" often  those we are responsible for, called to lead, in a position to teach, guide and influence, gives us the peace we need, to allow our minds and hearts to rest.  Thus giving us that unseen strength to keep "counting and the patience and inspiration required as we are "counted" on!!!   "Counting" sheep helps me remember that not only is my family "counting" on me,  but the ultimate Shepherd is there, for ME to "count" on.  There are days when I come home rejoicing with a lamb, or two or three on my shoulders, after a hard day.  Then, more often than not, I have those days when I feel like I don't matter or "count" to anyone, that the weight of those "counting" on me seems almost impossible to bear!  It is then, that I realize, I am the lamb being carried, by the Good Shepherd, who is always "counting!" A hubcap so treasured!  Not just a number!  A good night's sleep and sheep! On His shoulders! Carrying! Counting!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013


    Miracles can heal, give sight, health and strength.  And, more often than not, miracles are surrounded by challenges.  Miracles often indicate that something holy is taking place.  Perhaps, the real miracle is our ability, at that moment, to SEE a stepping stone amidst a sea of stumbling blocks, and courageously take one step at a time, into the unknown.  Christ walks on the water.  Peter also, miraculously walks on water---- all while the storm and winds rage. The life of Christ himself.  His ministry full of miracles.  Yet, also full of challenges, or stumbling blocks----- mocking by the unbelievers, tempting by the same adversary who tempts us, physical challenges of being beat and spat upon and then, the requirement to take up His cross. And, even moments of feeling alone.  Yet, through all these challenges, Christ ministers, serves, heals, and teaches.  A life of challenge!  A life of holiness! The child who is healed of cancer, but the family left with thousands of dollars in medical expenses in the seeking of such a miracle.  The miraculous survivors of a plane crash, yet a lifetime of scars and burns and challenges, which seem to surround the miracle---- and must be faced each and everyday.  So, in a strange sort of way, challenges may even be an indication of a miracle soon-to-come!!  I think of Mary, and her carrying the baby Savior---- truly a miracle!!  But, she must have been stared at.  She may have even felt different or outcast. Perhaps, she even felt like she did not fit in.  Yet, she carried inside her, a miracle!!!

My teenage daughter had asked me, a couple of times throughout the week, to get her a bucket of sand.  I believe, to leave with a note for a friend.  Needless to say, this bucket of sand did not seem to make it to the top of my "To-Do List."  Getting kids to school and various events, accomplishing everyone's homework, keeping up with dishes and laundry and keeping everyone's emotion's in check seemed to be more the priority.  A few days in a row, this persistent daughter would leave notes, with faith in me, that I could not only find the time, but find sand.  So, the night she needed it arrived.  I got home about 10pm.  And, on the kitchen counter was a colorful empty bucket, a small shovel and a note of pleading, from daughter to mother, "Mom, please fill this with sand!!!"  My sweet friend and I looked at each other and grabbed the bucket.

 We jumped in his car and I said a silent prayer, "Help!  I need a miracle! I need sand!"  The sand was not crucial, but my ability to help my child was.  We decided to head to a park where there might be some sand under a swing.  We rounded the corner, in the dark, and made our way to the main entrance.  As we entered the parking lot, a large something stopped us in our tracks.  We turned on our high beams, then looked at each other, stunned.  There in front of us, in the middle of the parking lot, late that night, far from any beach, was an enormous pile of sand!!!!  We quickly filled the bucket and headed back to the house.  I KNEW beyond any shadow of a doubt, that pile of sand was a miracle!!  A miracle amidst a week of finals and challenges that come with being a single parent.  That pile of sand testified that miracles are real, everyday, if we look for them!!  He CAN move mountains.  But, more often than not, the mountain he moves is within us, motivating us, empowering us, encouraging us to keep going and not to quit!!  "A pile of sand", has become our name for miracles!  We find "piles of sand" throughout our week, in the gas tank that lasts a little longer than it did when our wallets were full, in the call from a friend just when you felt forgotten, a note on your pillow when you were empty, and the text from a friend telling you to stay in school just when you were ready to give up.  I believe that with every miraculous "pile of sand", I am reminded not only of my higher power, but that I matter to Him----- and that is power!!  I believe that miracles are often surrounded by challenges......and that it could be just around the corner, right when you are ready to give up.  Miracles are often surrounded by challenges-----which means you are not on the wrong track, but exactly the right one.  Miracles often mean something holy is taking place.  Challenges often pave the way for miracles.  I believe that just around the corner, when you least expect it, and when it doesn't make sense, we may find the perfect "pile of sand!"   I believe in being strong, even when everything seems to be going wrong!!
 I believe in MIRACLES!!