I hate it when my shoes wear out. Come to think of it, they probably wear out because I hate shopping for shoes so much that I wear the ones I have to death. At any rate, I don’t enjoy shopping for shoes, and I have my reasons.
First, there’s the whole issue of style. Some people are born with a good sense of style when it comes to footwear, and others aren’t. I place myself in the second category. So does my sister. So do my friends. When I’m shopping with them and point out a shoe that catches my eye, invariably the observation elicits a stifled smile or an outright laugh.
Then there’s the issue of size. I have a good three-sizes (if you include half sizes) range on shoe size, and I wrestle with which one fits just right. I’ve been tricked by shoes more than once. In the store, they feel great, but the next day, not so much. Needless to say, I’m wary. Continue reading →
Her real name was Edna, but my sisters, brother, and I definitely referred to her as “the time lady.” This was no random nickname; she earned it honestly.
We met Edna the very first week our family began holding services at a local nursing home on Tuesday evenings. We were still working to learn and remember names a few weeks later when “the time lady” accosted us with an unforgettable conversation.
It just so happened to be the Tuesday after the spring time change. As we entered the large dining room where we held the service, we began greeting the folks who were gathered.
Edna was positioned close to the entrance at a chair near the wall. She had straight white hair and, as usual, wore a large pair of sunglasses. My dad greeted her cheerfully, “Well, hello there, how are you this evening?”
Edna didn’t waste time on small talk—not at a time like this. She got right to business: “What do you think our Heavenly Father thinks about them changing the time like this?” Her eyes narrowed and she leaned forward as she spoke. Continue reading →
You might call me stingy, but I prefer to think of myself as thrifty. Either way, I’m all about saving pennies where I can…which is exactly what I did two years ago when I salvaged several small pumpkins from being tossed.
My initial plan was simply to roast the pumpkins’ seeds. (If you’ve never had roasted pumpkin seeds, you’re missing a big piece of life.) But once I had the pumpkins cut open, I got to thinking about how much I could save by not purchasing canned pumpkin. Why spend $1/can when you can do it yourself?
A quick call to my mom (pretty sure she always knows when I’m baking by my calls) and I was in business. It was a cinch: cut the pumpkin into chunks, place in a casserole dish with a little water, cover with a tin foil tent, and bake. Once the pumpkin is tender, remove from oven and scrape from its peel. Who would buy canned pumpkin with this easy process? I even froze some for later.
While I was on a roll, I went ahead and whipped up a pumpkin pie with my freshly baked pumpkin. Continue reading →
In my first month of college, I met a student whose name was Elizabeth (name changed to protect the…well, neither guilty or innocent…just the named). I had heard others call her Liz, so when I actually met her, I asked her which name she preferred.
“My friends call me Liz,” she explained…and then continued, “You can call me Elizabeth, at least for now.”
Wow, I wasn’t quite expecting that. I never did have the nerve to ask her if the “for now” had ended. Frankly, I never got to know her well enough to think I was ready to ask. Elizabeth is a fine name, but in that relationship, it was a bit of a block. Continue reading →
Earlier questions had received similar answers, and Natalea and I were running out of questions for entertaining the six-year-old in the car. I had given him and his mother a ride home from church, and we were stopped at the store while she made a quick trip in.
In the hot car with a restless six-year-old, quick was seeming pretty long.
“I know! Let’s play a game—let’s see who can see your mom first when she comes out of the store!” (Yes, I know that is a boring game. I was at the bottom of the barrel—“I Spy” was next.)
But to my surprise, this was the moment Nicholas finally had something longer than a grunt to say. Continue reading →
After helping to clean up several wax spills on carpet, I could understand why the Deans’ Office made a rule that dorm residents could no longer keep a candle warmer on the window sill in the bedroom. From then on, candle warmers would be relegated to non-carpeted areas.
My roommate, Sonia, had a candle warmer. She promptly moved it to the sink in the bathroom.
What the dean’s office failed to consider was that while hot wax is difficult to clean from carpet, candle warmer cords are more likely to be tripped on in the bathroom…which is exactly what happened to Sonia’s candle one morning.
It is never convenient to clean shattered glass and melted wax off a tile floor. But it’s really inconvenient when you have to do it less than ten minutes before you are supposed to be seated in your first class for the day. As you can imagine, Sonia was distraught. Continue reading →
Choose any Sunday afternoon from 1983 (the year my grandma began to go blind) to 1999 to sit in my grandparents’ living room in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Make yourself comfortable on the couch, and enjoy a scene I observed many times.
My blind grandma is seated in the small gold recliner in the corner. She is leaning forward, straining not to miss a syllable of what is being read to her.
My Aunt Carolyn is seated in the blue chair in the opposite corner reading aloud…none other than the weekly grocery ads.
If it was an obsessive compulsive disorder, it was one that all of my sisters have shared. Strangely, I’ve never heard of other little girls with the same issue, so maybe it was more of a genetic issue.
Or maybe since I’ve never before talked about it publicly, I should suspect others are also hiding behind their silence.
If you knew my friend Rachel, you would have been just as eager to help her fold her laundry as I was. A delightful combination of fun-loving, intelligent, thoughtful, and a bit risky, Rachel is the sort of person you always expect to see planning a new adventure. In fact, it’s almost unbearable to see her discouraged.
At the time of my story, Rachel lived in a duplex on the campus of Baptist Bible Translators Institute where my sister, Michele, was on staff. I was visiting Michele for a week. Rachel and I are good enough friends that I was in and out of Rachel’s house almost as much as Michele’s.
One morning, before leaving for a full day of hands-on language study, Rachel shared with me some personal burdens and frustrations. She was flat discouraged, and nothing I said could cheer her up. Continue reading →