Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pennies from Heaven

A couple of years ago I read a story about an upcoming businessman who was taking a prospective and wealthy client to dinner. On their way into the restaurant the well-to-do gentleman stooped to pick up a penny from the ground, paused for a few moments, head bowed, then continued on with the evening. The young businessman was perplexed. Why would someone with so much money be bothered with a simple penny? Halfway through dinner he could stand it no more.

"Why, if I may ask, would you stop to pick up a penny?" he asked. "Surely it is nothing in itself and hardly worth the effort. Why even bother?"

The wealthy man smiled. "Ah, but don't you see?" he replied. "Every penny has a message: 'In God We Trust'. Whenever I see one, no matter where I am, I pick it up and pause a moment to say a prayer. I feel it is a message sent down from God to stop me in my tracks and remind me to put my trust into what - and who - is important."

Ever since I read that story, I see a dropped penny so differently. I can no longer pass by one without picking it up. Sometimes I pause briefly to offer a quick prayer of thanks, yet there are times when I stop completely to listen for the message I am meant to hear. It's interesting how I often seem to find them during difficult times and in unexpected places....and they always stop me in my tracks. Perhaps they truly are reminders that I am never alone and that there is always someone to turn to whom I can trust.

People are like pennies. There are millions of us on this earth, circulating at any given time and place. To view us from afar we may appear insignificant and common. But we each hold value. We, too, can carry a message through our words, actions and deeds that can stop people in mid-stride and help them learn about faith; about holding on to what - and who - they are meant to. I suspect that the true wealth of the gentleman in that story went far beyond the monetary.

Pick up the pennies along the roadway of your life, stop for prayer..... and trust. Then see how rich you truly are.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Women of October

October has always been special to me; russet pumpkins on haybales, Indian corn and golden leaves against an azure backdrop. It is fitting that this is also the month of my birthday, a day that has grown more into a moment of reflection than a time of celebration. So many woman have shared this road with me. Some I have known for many years and others are new travelers who I've enjoyed sharing this path with. So today I pay tribute to some of the extraordinary women in my life; women who share this birth month...the women of my October.

Karen - You are the little girl I held upon my knee, a pixie face surrounded by fitting tresses of auburn. You came into my life during happy years when I was young and the world was still new and lay before me. You have grown into a lovely young woman whose voice is angelic and pure, charting your way on this journey through the college years. How good it is to see you making such wise and lasting choices and how thrilled I am to be called "aunt". (October 2nd)

Christie - One of my first friends of the early marriage years. When I think of you I see a smiling face; a radiance that glows from within. I miss your brightness and energy and the talks that we used to share. You have taken a courageous step, a selfless step that allowed your family to remain intact and I admire you for that. Where did those years go when we were young wives and mothers and so sure of all that lay ahead? (October 6th)

Ava - Did I ever thank you for all the wonderful things you gave me? Being there when my daughter was born and worrying right along with my family.... Standing beside me when I felt lost and powerless.... Supporting my decision to be a stay-at-home mom when you were a career mother yourself, and letting me know that you thought I was doing a wonderful job. You never judged me, but always saw the goodness. How I wish we lived closer... (October 7th)

Kris - Where do I even begin? We have been friends since we were just 15, sharing silliness as high school students - small town and country girls who were really quite different, but somehow the same. You have been a rock for 30 years, never wavering in your friendship, a constant no matter how hard the wind has blown. You live in the city where the world turns faster and holds more things. And though our worlds are different, our hearts remain the same as if time somehow stopped and we are forever young. You have loved me through it all, through every step and I cherish our friendship now more than ever. (October 8th)

Doris - I have yet to figure out why my husband holds you at an arm's length. You have been nothing but kind to me since I married him, and though I take a second seat in his life and heart, you treat me as if there had been no one else. Your thoughtfulness to my children means so much to me and your generosity and perserverance is much admired. You put up with a lot and deserve so much more. I applaud you for moving ahead and for staying strong. (October 8th)

Barbara - Though I've known you for nearly ten years now, really I barely know you at all. The love that your son and I shared at one time was powerful and real and some of the most beautiful moments in my life. You stood by and watched us struggle, helping us when we asked and yet, knowing when you had to simply stand back and let us find our own way. Our paths eventually forked into different directions and you allowed us the space to see it through to that point. I wish I had your strength, wisdom and faith for it shows in how you treat others. (October 15th)

Helen - What a path that was made between your house and ours! Your daughter was one of my best childhood friends and my time spent with your family was priceless. You were always so calm and understanding, welcoming me as if I was one of your own. I remember those trips to our house during tornado season and all the things you and Mother sewed for us girls. I'll never forget our graduation presents (!) nor all those memories made on our front porch. Can I be 17 again? (October 16th)

Tracy - We were three years apart in school; years that can be a chasm at that point in a girl's life. But we became friends immediately and I cherish that sweet time. Who would know that your brother and my sister would eventually marry? We shared songs and trials and days of laughter and joy. You were the precious little sister that I never had, a true friend and the very epitome of what a Christian should be. (October 19th)

Andrea - My husband's beautiful daughter, you are a complete joy. Your laughter is contagious and your thoughtfulness, endearing. You have embraced me into your heart when it would have been just as easy to dismiss me. I would never try to take your mother's place; a woman who left this world too early and whom I know, you adored. Thank you for giving me a chance and for allowing me to be a part of the loveliness that is your life. (October 25th - Happy Golden!)

Lyndsee - How can you be getting married in 2 weeks? Just a few years ago you were a little brown-eyed girl who held my hand and let me practice at being a mother. The first grandchild, my oldest niece, you are irreplaceable in my heart. Forgiving and fun, you are the sparkle in our household. You will always be dear and young, a tulip of color on a prairie of sunflowers. How blessed I am to be your "Ya Ya". (October 30th)

Happy Birthday to you all. May many years of sweetness, joy and blessings await us!