Giving Back Over Coffee

Last weekend while at the coffee shop, I connected with the son of a man who helped me a lot when in the early years after I rededicated my life to Jesus and during the time I was sick and almost died. We exchanged phone numbers to set up a time to meet.

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We met yesterday and it was a blessing. His father passed away from Alzheimer’s when my young friend was in college. That means that my young friend had no experience as a teen or young adult of what his father was like before Alzheimer’s.

Over coffee yesterday, I had the opportunity to share with him about how his dad helped me and his mom as well. I shared with him that his dad was the kind of person who would give someone the shirt off his back. A great example was when the clutch went out on my car as I was driving to class in Omaha, one hour drive from my city, and his dad came in his four wheel drive vehicle and towed me down a little used highway back to my city.

As I shared stories, my young friend teared up for a moment. I texted him I would enjoy meeting again anytime. For me it was an opportunity to not only be a blessing to my young friend, but also in a way give back to his dad who helped me so much.

Galatians 6:2 says:

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ

There are many ways we can carry each others burdens. I am grateful I could carry my young friend’s burden with him over coffee.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The Return of the Blueberry

Saturday at my office, aka coffee shop, and lo and behold my dear friend the blueberry accompanied by a cupcake returned to bless me with all of its health benefits.

This afternoon I chose to share the blessing with my friend Todd when I surprised him with the blueberry accompanied by a cupcake. 🙂

We had coffee, ate our ‘healthy’ treats and had a serious discussion about recent events in college football in America. It made for a good Saturday late morning/early afternoon.

Day after methotrexate is a no energy day, but I am always grateful to find my friend the blueberry sitting on top of a blueberry filled cupcake. 🙂

How is your weekend?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Seeing Clearly Past The Fog Of Life

One afternoon when I was in Lyon France in June 2004, one of the men in my evening group looked eastward and said, “I can see the mountain. It will rain tomorrow.” He was referring to Mont Blanc the highest mountain in Europe. Mont Blanc is 145 miles/231km from Lyon. Most of the time it is not visible in Lyon due to cloud cover, so when the sky is clear enough to see the mountain, the people expect to have rain the next day. By the way, it rained the next day.

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There can be a variety of things that cloud our sight spiritually and in regards to seeing the next step or which step to take. Confusion can set in making it feel like we are in a fog. Issues like money problems, relationship problems, sin, mistakes, worry, anxiety can make things seem fuzzy.

The good news is that Jesus is eternal. He exists beyond time. He created time for us to live in but he is not bound by time. He is with us in the here and now while at the same time, he is in our future. Even better news, he has already told us that he loves us.

So how can we clear our minds of the fog and receive guidance from Jesus?

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We can come to him and confess to him whatever the issue is. He already knows, so it won’t be a news flash to him. If we have messed up, we can confess to Jesus. If we are confused, we can give it to him. If we are worried, we can give it to him.

Sometimes there can be different options and we want guidance. I have experienced that myself recently in regards to how to publish my books I have been working on. I prayed about it, and Jesus brought someone across my path that would get my attention. I have other questions. so I set up a coffee appointment with my friend Robb who understands business matters better than I do.

We do not live independent of others as we journey on the Christian walk. We have Jesus. We have the Holy Spirit. We also have fellow Christians. Jesus has blessed us with being part of Christian communities and access to wise counsel.

We can see clearly past the fog.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Validating Others

So many times in my friendships with refugees, Jesus has given me opportunities to listen as my refugee friends share part of their ordeal. As they share their trauma with me, it is time for me to listen not rush in as the fixer. It is also not time to minimize their experience by saying something like, “well you are here now.”

What they need is what every person needs, validation. By listening to them, it shows I care, which I do, and it validates their sense of personhood. It is my desire to treat my refugee and immigrant friends with dignity as fellow image bearers of the image of God.

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There are so many people struggling in life not only refugees or immigrants. How we respond when someone confides in us can go a long way to opening a door or closing it. It depends on how we respond, what we say, how we treat them. If we listen and validate them, it can foster friendship and create future opportunities, If we throw out cliches or minimize what they share, it will close that door perhaps slam it shut.

I saw this video clip from a show. I only watched the episode with this scene in it. I thought this scene was a powerful example of responding and validating a person who is struggling.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Seeing An Old Friend from France

In June 2004, I had the blessing of teaching in a conversational English language camp in Saint Genis Laval, a suburb of Lyon France. It was a great experience of meeting people and experiencing French culture. The food was SO good including the absolutely best chocolate mousse I have ever had. My friend and the church he was pastor of organized the classes.

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There were a few humorous moments involving me, which I am sure surprises you. One was trying to make popcorn in the microwave and not being able to figure out how to open it, which resulted in badly burned popcorn. Another was trying to play Bocce Ball, which involved having a bit of finesse. I played American football and finesse was not my thing. My team lost because of me.

The best part was getting to know and spend time with some French people. The morning classes were for teens and the evening ones for some adults. We had fun learning together as I helped them with English and they shared their culture with me. I had the opportunity to learn a bit about France that one does not learn in textbooks such as seeing where the people of Lyon helped Jewish people hide during World War II.

My friend was in Lincoln visiting my church to see friends. I call him my old friend in reference to meeting him some years ago not in reference to his age because we are the same age and I am not old. 🙂

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Seeing him and his wife again reminded me of a wonderful truth for those who believe in Jesus. Christian friendships are eternal, so even if we see each other sparingly, we can have joyful fellowship in such moments.

Seeing him also caused me to think about how I would like to return to France someday and take in more of that beautiful country, meet more of its people, and of course enjoy more great food.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- A Phone Call and Hedgehogs

I surprised my little sister in Jesus, Alicia, with a phone call yesterday. The call took place from the coffee area at my church where I was meeting with a person from the church office staff who I have nicknamed young computer genius friend. SADLY no coffee but I did order some delivery food. The purpose of the meeting was to take a look at my blog and possible other themes.

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That is where the phone call fits in. As we looked at Alicia’s blog forhispurpose.blog, I called her to ask some questions. When we looked at Alicia’s post yesterday, Lessons From My Hedgehog, my young computer genius friend Ellen told me that she too has a hedgehog. So Ellen also talked a little with Alicia about hedgehogs.

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Hedgehog is a strange name for an animal that makes me wonder if said animal lives in hedges of bushes, if I look under bushes can I find said animal, and if said animal is related to hogs that we get bacon from. Sorry I got off point. 🙂

So where were we? Oh yes. Alicia is a dear little sister in Jesus and I do hope to get out to her neck of the woods to visit her and meet her husband and family someday. I did have a chance to speak with her daughter Paige briefly as well.

One of the things I enjoy most about blogging is connecting with people from all over the world or even only a four drive way in my state like Alicia, three hour drive if one drives like Alicia perhaps.

Hope you have a blessed weekend.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Updates on Books and Possible New Look for My Blog

Sitting in my office, aka the coffee shop, this afternoon and writing, there are two books I have finished the first draft for. I woke up this morning not feeling very motivated, but Alicia of forhispurpose.blog messaged me that she had read the first draft of the book I am working on Jesus Understands Trauma. Her positive input motivated me to come to my office, aka coffee shop, and write.

The book I am writing about my journey with Jesus I am thinking about the title- Lifted From The Pit, Called To The Nations. My hope is that Jesus will use the two books to bring people to know him and to edify those who already know him.

After getting them published, my attention will then turn to Christian fiction books that I had started but got sidetracked. To say I am enjoying this summer break from teaching would be an understatement.

Then a thought occurred to me about my blog. I have been using the same theme for years. It is now called a legacy theme. I thought perhaps a new theme would be good, so I called the young woman at my church office, real office not a coffee shop, and asked if she would help me look over the themes. We will meet Friday afternoon.

Just an update.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Nostalgia Time At The Coffee Shop

This morning I was blessed to have coffee with my childhood best friend Todd. The coffee mug they gave me to use was fitting even though the date on it is many years before I was born. It gave a nostalgic feeling to the morning.

We talked about many things including childhood memories, our families, our shared faith in Jesus etc. So even though the heat wave is on, it was a nice way to start my weekend sitting in an air conditioned coffee shop having coffee with my friend.

After he left, I stayed and got a lot of writing done. Currently I am working on two books, one about my life journey including my testimony of Jesus lifting me out of the mire in life, and one about trauma/depression/anxiety. It is gratifying to be able to say I finished the first draft of the book about my life journey.

Normally if I have two posts in a day, the second one is to give another blogger some promotion. But because David of davidsdailydose.org told me in a comment to post a picture from the coffee shop, today’s second post is from the coffee shop. You can blame him. 🙂

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.


Unexpected Blessings

Yesterday we had an oasis kind of day with the weather here. It only got up to 80f.26c. When I stepped outside to go to the coffee shop, it was a very welcome unexpected blessing after some very hot days.

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Unexpected blessings are what I call blessings that seem to come out of nowhere. Ones that there is no way to anticipate them. Like a seeming chance encounter with someone we have not seen in a long time that happens just when we need it.

Sunday morning a friend at church I had not interacted with for a while stopped by the room I teach in and said hi. That was nice but what happened about an hour later was something I did not see coming. He came up to me before worship service and handed me a check because with the way the economy is going, he wanted to make sure I would be okay. It was a huge blessing for me because as per usual for me, I hit the deductible on my insurance in March which means I have already paid a few thousand in healthcare costs.

Last week a niece I have not heard from in a long time messaged me on Facebook. We have started connecting again. I did not see that one coming either.

Last week a friend I had not heard from for a few years messaged me and wanted to meet for dinner. We had dinner and a chance to catch up. I found out that she, in her words, is really a Christian again. She also shared with me that she remembered some things I shared with her while she was in Brazil during the pandemic.

What’s behind all three? God at work. The blessings were expected by God because he was at work in all three. What is unexpected by us is planned on by God. They are ones that God gets our attention and we can stop and thank him for what he has done and appreciate that Abba Father has once again shown us He is with us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Compassion and Appreciation

While having lunch with my pastor the other day, we talked about a change that will happen in our church. A staff member will be leaving to move back home to her hometown. It will be announced tomorrow morning during worship service.

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I shared with my pastor that I had two thoughts which were compassion and appreciation. Compassion because as someone who has lived with chronic pain for over thirty years, I understand what the staff person has been going through. She has had health struggles, one with her kidney for several months and the other a bad disc in her beck. I shared that I felt God would want us to respond with compassion understanding her desire to be back home where her mom can help her with her children.

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Appreciation was the other thought. She stepped into a role and did wonderful things refocusing her area of ministry to be focused on Jesus. She did so during a pandemic with all that entails. She served even though she lived with pain. I believe she will hear, “Well Done My Good and Faithful Servant” from Jesus.

It made me wonder how often do I show compassion and appreciation. Though they may seem unrelated, there is a connection. Both of them have to do with healthy relationships and encouraging each other.

Think of someone who is working through heavy issues. What they want is a listening ear, not quick clichés, What they need is compassion such as Jesus would show them.

Think of how good it feels when someone shows appreciation. Jesus made note of it after healing ten lepers and yet only one came back to thank him.

It brings to mind Colossians 3 verses 12 and 14:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

By showing compassion and appreciation, we can be a blessing, we can protect each other, and we can enjoy healthy relationships.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.