Why I’m not living a grateful life this Thanksgiving

gratitude synonym

I’m not living a grateful life this Thanksgiving.

If I don’t appear to live a grateful life, it’s because I’m busy! So much so that I often jokingly ask how I could’ve had time to work a 9 to 5. Many mornings when I arise, I place my feet on the floor and walk to the bathroom never once doubting that I am supposed to be right where I am. Alive! It’s not ungrateful, it’s just neglect.

Don’t I appreciate life? I know people who wouldn’t dare get out of bed without thanking God, reading a few pages from their devotionals, and meditating. Not me! I’m deep in thought, mentally preparing for the day or mapping out the next endeavor. I forget to remember to be grateful.

Sometimes when I’ve stressed over a situation and it turns out fine, it may take hours for me to remember to thank God for answering my prayer. When a friend or family member is given a clean bill of health, I don’t drop, immediately, to my knees. I whisper a prayer and keep it moving. I live an ungrateful life!

When my spouse has cooked a special meal, I don’t say thank you. I assume he knows I appreciate it just as he appreciates when it’s my turn.Thoughtless? Or just careless in terms of displaying gratitude, for I am certainly grateful not to have cooked it myself.

When I go out with friends and one of them stops us from digging in so that they can bless the food, I am humbled, and slightly embarrassed. This person is living a grateful life!

When I dine at a restaurant and the waiter serves my food or brings extra napkins or water, I say thank you, but I don’t really mean it. When I’m getting my drink from the bar or the attendant brings my car around, I say thank you, but these are hollow thank you’s. They aren’t signs of real gratitude. I’m going to tip them and I expect their best service. Thank you in those situations is me saying, “Yes, put it down over there.”

Gratefulness is when a service worker has gone out of his or her way to make my day better. Gratefulness is reserved for a store clerk who calls me when the shoes, dress, or suit, comes in at an especially low price or it’s when the waiter runs after me waving the doggie bag I carelessly left behind.

There are times though that gratefulness just smacks me in the face—like saying thank you to a child and letting him know that I value his sweet little kindness. Or when my husband remembers to fill the gas tank for my trip to town. It’s when my neighbor brings over a freshly baked pound cake because she knows I like them.

Everyday that I’m alive, if I reflect on it, I’m living life gratefully. Even now as I sit in a room that I’ve turned into an office, looking out my window on my garden that is frosted over now, I’m grateful. My computer is in relatively good shape, though it’s 6 years old, but I don’t think about that. It’s only when I hear how someone took an old door and placed it across two plywood horses or someone who has to share the computer with the rest of family, that I think about what I have.

I don’t go around touching everything and saying how grateful I am, and I don’t need Thanksgiving to remind me to live a grateful life.

I believe remembering to live in the moment—embracing this life and accepting that it won’t go on forever—stopping to reflect on what I’ve done and what I still need to do—will make me grateful for each moment I have left.

My gratefulness sees me setting aside more time to chat with friends. I’ve been a terrible friend and sister. In addition, if I’m going to spend time alone writing about these people, I can show them a little more attention. Being happy more often and having more fun will be included in my new grateful life.

Oh, and being grateful to you who have taken time to read this. May the end of 2015 and all of 2016 find me producing more meaningful writing to show my gratitude for this blessing of storytelling; and when I’m not writing, I will burn candles and dance barefoot with my husband, or catch a movie, watch a tv show, or, God forbid, watch football.

Shopping 101—Where’s your Thanksgiving grocery list?

how to make a thanksgiving grocery listI need a Thanksgiving grocery list. Grocers love this time of year because a lot of consumers make careless, random selections. Just the other day I was in Mariano’s, my favorite grocery store, tempted to begin my shopping early.  The choices were many and varied and everything just looked so nice and fresh! There were things I knew I didn’t need, but they were displayed so prominently around the door, on newly constructed stands, and pushed way out front on the shelves. I wanted them all, but did I need them? I wasn’t sure. I needed a Thanksgiving grocery list.

Thanksgiving meals will be as different as our families, and you’ll want to know the purpose of your meal before you go Thanksgiving grocery shopping. Will it be a feast for fifty or an intimate dinner for two or four?

For example, my extended family is having brunch at a restaurant in the afternoon, but my daughters have already told me they will be returning home with their dad and me for favorites that they think only I can make.

The girls could possibly make these things for themselves as they have helped me cook all of their lives, hanging around the kitchen table, offering to stir the sweet potato mixture so they could lick the spoon before putting it back in the bowl to stir again (I saw them out of the corner of my eye.) (No, I didn’t let them do that when company was coming!)

A lot of families eat out now-a-days because after years of feeding their extended family and not getting reciprocity, it is easier and cheaper to eat out. When I was cooking for my army of a family, my Thanksgiving groceries cost me or my sister-in-law a fortune since we were foolish enough to have kept the tradition going. Now that we’re wiser and older, we’ve decided to preserve our backs and legs (turkeys are heavy).

I could still overspend this Thanksgiving if I’m not careful. So this week I’m opening the pantry door and scouring the cabinets in order to make my Thanksgiving grocery list more efficient. In today’s economy I can’t buy too much of stuff I only eat on holidays. Like cranberry sauce. Who eats that with regular meals?

Also, I do my best Thanksgiving shopping alone. If I take my husband, he’s going to spy some awesome thing like ‘buy three packs of Hawaiian dinner rolls/get three free’, or Brazil nuts that the kids will bite on and cry over because they can’t break them open. However these will be exactly what my husband has always wanted. “You just can’t find these anymore, Linda!”

The times have modernized me and I now use the Notes App on my iPhone to write my Thanksgiving grocery list. The only problem is that I sometimes repeat an item if I don’t delete it from my notes once it’s in the basket.

By the way, the Thanksgiving grocery list you see at the top of this post is not the one I use because I’m not that organized and that’s not the way my store is organized. I have learned, however, to shop the perimeter of the store and do the aisles only as needed, Thanksgiving grocery list in hand. If it’s not on the list, I can’t have it.

Happy Thanksgiving shopping everyone! Share your experiences with me and tell me how you plan to shop, cook, or eat for Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

The Lazy Woman’s Post

UntitledToday’s post is written to keep my promise to blog for 14 days straight. I’ve just pulled a 9 to 5:30 at church. This doesn’t happen often because I’m a one Sunday service kind of girl. Get in, get out, done! I won’t even attempt to search for a topic that requires much thought. I will just share an observation.

This afternoon we celebrated Annual Men’s Day at the church. That means the women sit out and only the men take active roles. The men prepared and served a delicious breakfast at 8:00 a.m. During our main worship at 11 o’clock one of the men even read the church announcements (that is a sacred female role in the black baptist church).

In the afternoon, the men prepared dinner of roast chicken, meatballs, rib tips, salad, mac and cheese, and cake. Yeah, that menu is a little lopsided. However, it was prepared with love and pride and we women ate it like it was our last meal.

Two gentlemen that I attended church with as youths returned to our church over the last two years and they have become very active. It is inspiring to watch the changes in their lives.

One served a short stint in prison and the other, if not in prison, left our state and had not been heard from for many years. At 3:00 p.m. they both had solos with the Men’s Day Choir. There were many songs this afternoon, but the ones sung by these guys meant so much to us because of who they were. They’re not perfect, nobody is, and a lot of their speech is still “street”.

I try to stay close to them and each Sunday I make sure to tell them how much I appreciate what they do around the church! Of course this evening was no different. I truly did enjoy their singing!

Tired…goodnight!

What Will Writing Be Like In 2065? #FutureWriting

writing in the future

Is this how writing will take place in the future?

My good friend, also named Linda, doesn’t own a Kindle and her ipad doesn’t hold any novels. Reason being, Linda is a former librarian and her love for books runs deep. When asked how she thinks writers will communicate with readers in the future, she just shakes her head. Recently retired from more than 30 years spent in the preservation of books and their care, she loves nothing better than to crack open a real book and inhale the fragrance of a freshly published novel—preferably in hardback. Writing in the future is going to remain the same, as far as she’s concerned.

As an an indie author who, to date, hasn’t tried vanity publishing or the Amazon interpretation of a physical book, I have a different view of what writing will be like in the future. My friend Linda may or may not read my EBooks when they’re published (she probably will), but I fear that if she doesn’t get on board the Ebook train , she will be missing out on some awesome future writers.

Today’s young writers are using both trad publishing and self publishing, and their work is rife with intellect, deep meaning, and skilled storytelling. They are poised to become the recorders of our lives, our chroniclers—the writers of the future. All indie writers are surging and telling their stories  The’ve seen what traditional publishers are touting as best sellers and decided they can do as well and, in some cases, better.

What do I imagine future writing will be like in 50 years? It will be different! Ebooks sales will grow as will the mediums we view them on. Right now we have Kindle, Nook and iPad devices, but over the next few decades, other apparatuses will crop up because there can never be enough great ideas and App designers will invent ways to enhance the reading experience with moving pictures, animated sounds, and a hyped version of reader immersion.

My guess, based solely on supposition and conjecture, is that the FCC will attempt to bring the world wide web under the umbrella of regulated services. Users will have tired of hackers, identity thieves, predators, and foreign terrorists strong-arming the air waves. A segment of people, who want to tame their own frontier, will run an internet outside government control  but without a lot of money for refinement and regular upgrading. They will be the crusaders and defenders of writing and free speech in 2065.

Writing of the future will resort back to the written (pen and paper) version of what it was in the mid 20th Century for many people. Communication between and amongst people will have returned and technology and social media will take a backseat to social interaction where people actually meet and talk face to face..

However, the same fifty years could see Ebonics having taken control of language and communication in our inner cities. Facebook and 140 character Twitter lingo may have encouraged a form of modernist communication spoken and written by only the technologically limited  and the poorly educated.

Future writers of this ilk will have stories to tell but they will have no idea how to research them, sans the internet and sans Google. Over the years the internet will have eradicated the need for encyclopedias, dictionaries and thesaurases and left writers with no idea how to research information on their own.

Most public schools will have ruled out reading of the classics and, sorry E. D. Hirsch, Jr., “Cultural Literacy” will be an obsolete idea, meaningful only to the very wealthy. Consequently writing in the future by inner-city school children will be random, infrequent, or nonexistent.

Fifty years from now, illiterate citizens will head to city parks on heralded “reading nights” to be read the classics by those who remember how to read and to whom the skill was passed.

An excerpt from “Neon Houses”, my novel in the works:

Noel saw Eugene reach for the sky control but she touched his hand to stop him.

“Dickey will worry that we’re taking too long,” Eugene said, considering Noel’s husband.

“I know, but drive by the park, anyway,” she said.

They kept the autoplane down on the pavement, circling slowly around the park. Noel saw the crowds gathered around the readers and she told Eugene to pull over so she could get a better look.

Noel had initiated Reading in the Park years ago. She had been a reader. More than eighty percent of the people in Gang Territory couldn’t read, but they enjoyed gathering in the park on a warm night as the stories were read. They flocked to the parks to hear what they thought was amazing and utterly unattainable. 

Tonight adults were there  in abundance as Iris Nelson, a popular reader and one of Noel’s favorites, read from a new mystery. Her reading assistant sat poised to pick up at Iris’s signal if Iris needed rest or a drink.

Noel lifted a finger in salute to a few of her former students and they nodded with a subtle lift of their chins as they reclined in the arms of a lover or co-habitant. Others sat in small groups with their families and friends.

Guards patrolled the grounds and frisked people at the entrances to prevent weapons being brought into the park. The reading program was a few years old and so far no one had been killed. Noel knew as soon as one shooting occurred, her husband, the mayor, and their group would try to stop this activity.

Tonight though, all was quiet. Minstrels played soft music and the smell of buttered popcorn hung in the air. Noel wished that she could sit and listen to Iris but she knew that Dickey and their guests anxious for her return to their home in the city, proper.

She twirled her finger upward and Eugene took them to the air. Noel composed herself to go back to the world she had come from.

 _____________________

What Will Writing Be Like In 50 Years? I hope I’ve painted a dismal enough picture of what writing will be like in the future for some. If we get back to practices that are geared toward future writing, it will insure our history will be recored for some and that writing will  be so advanced that people will write in at least three different languages. They will speak their thoughts into the air and have them materialize as completed books.

I envision people listening to stories via internal chips implanted in their eardrums when they were just babies.—chips that turn on at just a silent suggestion. #Writing in the future. #Writing in the future. #Writing in the future,

 

 


 

Writing 101—Make the time!

This Morning I placed the following poster on my FB page.
GodSince May (last November really), I’ve been involved in some form of church celebrations and/or fundraising projects. It has been one hectic month after the other. Yesterday, my church celebrated its 89th Annual Women’s Day and at the close of that service, I was deliriously happy that it was all done.

Over the last year and a half, I’ve learned quite a few things about people, about managing people, and about choosing the right people. You see, I thought people in the religious community would be different from those in the worldly workplace, but I’ve discovered that the only difference is religious people regularly attend church. That is all.

As I labored to make these celebrations successful, I dreamed of getting back to working on my novels. Aside from stealing a few days during September to post to my blog during the Rave Reviews Book Club Back to School Blog and Block Party, I’ve not focused on writing in any form except that which was to raise money or bring attention to our various church events.

Boy, how I’ve stressed. Plots and outlines have been dancing around in my head, as vast and varied as they were 6 years ago when I asked God to free me from my 9 to 5. I promised Him that if He’d sustain my mind long enough to allow me to get words on paper, I’d do what I feel I’ve been put on earth to do. Write!

I haven’t kept my promise. Life has gotten in the way. Travel, caretaker, fundraiser all seemed more important than establishing and sustaining a full fledged writing career—in spite of the promise.

As I begin anew on the promise, I plan to bear in mind that nobody cares about what I need except me. Others are out to utilize my time and anybody else’s in order to get what they want. I can’t be nice and wait for them to realize that they are stifling me. I must drape my private desires about me like a cape and selfishly pull them tight at my regularly appointed times to keep others’ desires in their place.

I must value and treasure my own time and set aside time which l need to feel contented and fulfilled. Today, I am designing a happy medium which will allow me to work for and with others and still set aside designated time for myself!

One Word at a Time—Day, by Day—and it Fell Into Place

MichaelPlease don’t read this if you are an atheist or agnostic and easily offended.

I remember driving to work everyday before I retired, promising God that when He let that day come, I would write something that made Him proud. So, when I first retired, my husband and I traveled and I took pictures so that I could remember the settings in order to write about them.

Then I began gardening, and I took pictures of my gardens so I could write about them. I started a writing group in my community because there wasn’t one and it grew to about 7 people. One overzealous young man, who talked incessantly and whose novel was just one chapter, dominated the meetings.

The other members dropped out because no matter how we tried to shut him down, he could not be embarrassed. Eventually, people dropped out because every time they discussed their tales, he was writing something just like that.

The last straw was when the other members’ phrases and descriptions began popping up in his readings. The last night we met, nobody was present except me, him, and another woman who was simply hanging on because she didn’t want to desert me.

I kept on writing but my sales were flat. Once, on Amazon, when I offered my books for free, I “sold” 1800 copies of the second book in my series over a two day period. This garnered two reviews. After about a year of earning no money from Amazon, yet everyone downloading my eBooks for free, I quit.

My former church was vetting a new minister and I had been looking for a church home for a couple of years, so I decided to participate in the process. If they elected a minister that I could live with, I would come back.

I wrote about what was happening, and when the committee finally chose the new pastor that I loved and approved of, I wrote about it. I went out of my way to tout all of his early sermons.

Consequently, the new pastor asked me to head his first anniversary committee and I did, successfully, but I didn’t write about it. A weeklong anniversary celebration and the fundraisers leading up to it, if done right, are time consuming.

That’s when I began to let other things get in the way of my writing. Theretofore (I love words like that), I had set aside periods of time in the day or week, fully devoted to writing. Gradually, I had gotten away from that practice.

Work on my novel consisted of a scribbled note here and there, but none of it was amounting to anything that would made a statement. I wanted to change genres and I wanted to write a book that would speak to the young people who were throwing their lives away. I simply had to make the time.

One word at a time—day, by day, and it finally began to fall into place. On the way, life got in my way because life wanted me to pay attention to it. My life, my grown daughters’ lives, my extended family, my church made me feel just like Michael Corleone in The Godfather, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

Now that I’ve written three quarters (well 87%) of my novel and my new book club, RRBC, is supporting me, I want to finish it. I’m trying to shirk off extraneous duties and do what I promised God I’d do if He allowed me to retire with good health and a sound mind. It’s just that others feel like their agenda is as important as mine. They don’t take NO! for an answer, and they never take writing as seriously as we writers take it.

How do you handle this total disregard for what you do? How do you respond to this intrusion on your time?

Want a Margherita Pizza?

M. Pizza“Want a Margherita Pizza?” These words were uttered to me last Saturday by my daughter who is a slavish watcher of her weight. I know that the word lascivious is used to describe lust or lewdness, but that’s what happens to me when pizza is offered. I start to breathe hard and fast. The idea of pizza laced with alcohol, namely a Margherita, was more than appealing. Little did I know.

About 126 years ago, 28 years after the unification of Italy, Queen Margherita of Savoy, wife of King Umberto I, visited Naples. In her honor, chef Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi and his wife created a pizza resembling the colors of the Italian flag, red (tomato), white (mozzarella) and green (basil).

They named it after the Queen – Pizza Margherita, but this pizza recipe can be traced back to at least 1866 where in his book, “Customs and Traditions of Naples”, Francesco DeBouchard describes the most popular pizza toppings of the time which included cheese and basil, often topped with slices of mozzarella. Whatever the real origins of this pizza recipe are, Raffaele Esposito’s version for Queen Margherita was the one that made it popular.

My daughter set this pizza in front of me after a laborious, shopping expedition and I was beyond disappointed. “Where’s the meat?” I pouted. I have to say that together with an ice cold bottle of beer, this had to be one of the best pizzas I’ve eaten, and I’m a card-carrying, sausage lover. Since then it has become a frozen pizza staple in my freezer. Its Marinara sauce, flavored with garlic and oregano—the mozzarella, fresh basil, and tomatoes are to die for. Because it lacks animal fat, it’s far easier to appreciate the other flavors.

No this isn’t a food blog, but you never know what will move you to write. Margherita Pizza may show up in one of my future plots. You never know.

See more at: http://www.italymagazine.com/featured-story/pizza-margherita-history-and-recipe#sthash.NwTAlX11.dpuf

It’s Wedding Bells!

Wedding BellsMy youngest daughter is engaged to be married next Spring. We are fond of her fiance and know that the two of them love each other and will be very happy together. As a mother, I had always hoped for the wedding day—but not the things that go with it. For weeks now, the conversation between my youngest and me has centered on wedding prep. After a cursory inquiry into my day and the health of her dad and me, it goes to wedding and stays there.

I keep telling myself that this time next year, the wedding will have passed and I will have my life back. Who knew that the bride-to-be had to order her dress at least eight months in advance? Yes! So, this morning, I’ve managed to stretch and bend the old body into shape for my command presence at two wedding trunk shows. One will take place at Macy’s and the other several (public transportation) blocks away at Nordstrom.

I have to drive from my suburban home to downtown Chicago and meet my two daughters to begin the happy hunt for a wedding dress. While there, I pray to be shown styles for the “Mother of the Bride” dress and get that taken care of ‘toot suite’. I know it’s not wise but I want to get my dress a size or two smaller than I wear so that I will be forced to lose weight to fit into it or not go to the wedding. Ha!

The three of us will hop buses to get from one store to the other. Fun-fun! I’m not as young as I used to be and sometimes the girls can look at me with such pity when I hold up the show. I’ll post pictures of the day tomorrow.

Author Stevie A. Turner, You Deserve RRBC’s Pay it Forward Day

Stevie A. Turner is Rave Reviews Book Club’s Pay It Forward recipient in the Bethany Turner PIF campaign. I’m honored to celebrate her burgeoning career as an outstanding storyteller and a chronicler of life’s trials and triumphs.

We should all be glad that Author Stevie Turner won an inter-schools’ writing competition in 1969. Winning that contest for her entry, entitled ‘My Pet’, early in her writing life is the reason she’s so prolific today.

Stevie Turner’s love affair with words and writing has continued throughout her life and now, in what she calls, “the late summer of my life”, the words are tumbling out of her head. Stevie has the time and she has the experiences that have supplied her with a wealth of subject matter to write about.

This past January, her third novel “A House Without Windows” won the Goodreads’ eBookMiner Book of the Month Competition. Her novel was also a medal winner in the New Apple Book Awards 2014 Suspense/Thriller category; and it earned a 5-star seal of approval from Nonnie Jules’ Rave Reviews Book Club, as well as a Readers’ Favorite 5 star seal.
UntitleA Houserd“A House Without Windows”
Book blurb* Dr Beth Nichols thinks she has been held captive by Edwin Evans for about 8 or 9 years now. Amidst her grief she often looks back and thinks about her fiancée Liam; theirs was the biggest romance of all. She lays awake at night staring at the one light bulb that is never switched off, and prays that he is still out there somewhere searching for her.

Read what a Rave Reviews Book Club member says about “A House Without Windows”.

May 14th 2015
Slaughter House
by Shirley Harris Slaughter
At first I didn’t know what to expect with the title but the way Stevie Turner writes allowed me to ease into the horror gently. I felt as if I had woke up into a dark room without knowing where I was. The writer brought me right into the story and I felt like it was me being imprisoned. A good writer can make you feel like you are in the story.

Here are more reviews of books by Author Stevie Turner, our ‘Bethany Turner Pay It Forward’ Honoree

“For The Sake of a Child”
Stevie - Child
October 21, 20145 Starby Bill Swanson
GREAT BOOK!
How would you react if you start a new job and discover by accident that your employers are into child abuse in a big way? Ginny Ford is faced with this dilemma, and the suspense increases in this well-written story as she creates danger for her family when trying to do something about it. A recommended read!

“The Porn Detective”
P DetNovember 6, 2014
Al-khemetBy Al-Khemet Book Club
This can’t be FICTION
When Fiction blurs the lines between facts and real life situations, you can only wonder if the word in its very esence “Fiction” should have ever been invented at all. This is not fiction, it is a factual novel with the groundbreaking elements of real life struggles and emotionally tearing experiences that has devasted the happy marriages of millions of couples around the world, and with the rise and domination of porn in todays society- that is free with one click, many souls have become possessed with the demons embued into the art. The dialogue is amazing and real, this book is utterly absorbing and an exquisite treat for the senses. Fiction? NO- how can it be when millions are tormented by its main theme? One thing is certain though, this absolutely dynamic story is a must read.

Please purchase, read, and then review these great books, as well as others from her growing arsenal. All Of Author Turner’s books are available on Amazon.com and I will be sharing the links throughout the day! Happy Wednesday, Stevie! Enjoy Your Day!

More than I Can Handle?

chicken

I remember reading and committing the Prayer of Jabez to memory when it first came out a few years ago. I prayed it faithfully everyday because, believe me, I wanted my territory to be enlarged. So, I eagerly read the next of author, Bruce Wilkinson’s series, “Beyond Jabez”, but there was a part in this best-selling book that I preferred not to touch. That was the phrase that instructed us to ask God for “somebody to help”. I was scared of that part.

UntitledWhat might that help entail? Where might that help have me go? Unh-unh! I couldn’t do anything too hard, or too preachy, or that was going to be too time consuming. I could send them some money or some prayers because I can stand in the prayer circle with the best of them. But send me somebody to help? This was scary stuff!

So you can imagine that when I decided to try this out, I prayed a little prayer. “Okay God, I’m going to commit to this, but I’m scared. Be gentle with me.”

The very next day I prayed the Prayer of Jabez in my car (that is my favorite place to pray, especially now that they have invented Bluetooth. You can pray, talk out loud, and it looks just like you’re talking on the phone.) This particular morning, I added the part about send me somebody to help.

Later that morning, as I was driving, or stop-and-going, along I-94, listening to my favorite Morning Show, I noticed that a bunch of looky-loos in the cars up front had slowed traffic down. What was going on?

There, on the side of the road—involved in a serious fender bender—was my co-worker, Brenda. Without thinking, I pulled off to the shoulder and parked behind the accident.

Brenda was shaking as she tried to reach her significant other on her cell phone, but the police were insisting that she talk to them. Go on, I told her. I’ll call your friend and then I’ll call work for you.

I sat in the car with Brenda and listened to her talk about the accident over and over until her friend came. She gave me a big hug and, with tears in her eyes, told me how much I had helped her by just being there. She would never forget it, she said.

The next morning, the same thing—Prayer of Jabez, stop and go traffic, listen to my morning radio soap, and rush into work without being late.

At lunchtime, I went out to the grocery store across the street for a healthy snack. After I’d paid for my purchases, I hurried back to busy MLK Drive. Traffic was zooming in both directions of the six lane street, and the greenlight was extra long. Looking around, I noticed that the stoplight had gone out. Vehicular traffic wasn’t paying attention to the lonely red stop sign that had been stuck on an obscure corner. I was going to have to walk out into the busy street and handle my business.

That’s when I noticed an old lady about 85 years old. She was stepping off the curb and then stepping back on. Stepping off, then stepping on. Dang it, I thought. This old lady is never going to get across if I don’t help her.

So I walked over to the old sister and asked if she wanted to cross with me. Others had crossed in front of her and none had offered any assistance until now. At first she was hesitant. I waited patiently while her inner debate played out on her face. I knew from the big breath she took before she nodded that she was going to say yes.

“I want to catch that bus,” she said, pointing to a bus that was already at the curb on the other side of the street. I looked at the cars whizzing by, looked up at the sky, then looked at the lady.

“Of course you do!” I croaked, as I stuck out my arm and waved for traffic to halt. Then,  like a mad woman, I pulled her across while yelling like crazy for the people on the other side to hold that bus. As she was boarding, she tried to turn around and thank me, but the bus driver was not having it. He closed the doors and whisked her away.

That night as I was driving home, I held a little ‘let’s reflect’ session with myself and thought over the strange occurrences of the last two days. I had helped two people in a row. I couldn’t recall ever being that helpful before.

Then it hit me. The Prayer of  Jabez. “Lord, send me someone to help”.  I almost pulled the car over! “P-O-W!!” God, in His infinite wisdom, knew what I could do. He hadn’t put more on me than I could handle and what He had given me to do was meaningful to the two people I’d helped.

I could do service. I wasn’t afraid anymore. Send me somebody, “I ain’t scared.”

Illustration of old lady and chicken belongs to Mike R. Baker.