Brown Sack Memories


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Sometimes I have a flashback of an earlier time where I see a picture and maybe even catch a scent. I’m never prepared for that to happen, it just does. This morning it was of paper sack lunches during elementary school years. I grew up in a small town and life was simple. We were sent to school with our lunch in a paper sack; there wasn’t a cafeteria early on. Our name would be written on our lunch sack and placed on a high shelf in the classroom. When it was time for lunch, our teacher would hand us our sack.

My lunch was usually peanut butter on white bread — always the Colonial brand. Sometimes my lunch would be a luncheon meat called Treet. Treet was similar to Spam, and I don’t think they make it any more. I also remember Vienna sausage, sliced, and mustard spread on the bread. When I opened the top of the sack, I could get a whiff of what sandwich I had for lunch that day. Some kids brought ham or sausage and biscuit from breakfast. One classmate brought chocolate on biscuits and I was fascinated by that. I didn’t grow up with chocolate gravy as many did and I suppose that’s what it was, only thicker so it would work as a spread on the biscuits.

Eventually my brown paper sack was replaced with a tin lunchbox and it eventually held onto the scent of what had been packed in it. My lunchbox was was with the red haired, freckle-faced “Howdy Doody” design. There was more room in a lunchbox and no concern about mashing the contents, so Mother added homemade cookies and maybe a few potato chips and sweet pickles that she had canned. I really liked pickles.

There was something about a sack lunch that was special. They went with me to the cotton fields and to the packing shed where I packed tomato plants. When lunchtime came and we of similar age gathered to open our sacks, it was a relaxing and fun time. Sometimes there were silly jokes told and laughter would become loud and the laughter created even more laughter. We were tired and glad to be sharing 30 minutes or so.

I love the memories that bounce back unexpectedly. Days of long ago that bring a smile as I drift for a short time in childhood. It was a nice moment to remember sack lunches packed by my mother and shared with friends who also ate from brown paper sacks. Thank you, Lord, for the memories.

Be Still . . .


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I sat waiting to be called back to see my newest doctor, a specialist in treating glaucoma. My eye pressure had become too erratic for the comfort of my retina specialist who handled another eye problem, that of an eye stroke.

Today was when I would learn if the new eye drops were going to work or if surgery was to be considered to lower my eye pressure. I had faithfully applied the new medicine and soon I would know.

A doctor’s waiting room is a great place to pray for others. Those sitting around you, praying they will get good news. Those on the church prayer list or friends who have asked for prayer. And at this particular time, prayers for those that, like me, who are dealing with eye afflictions.

As I closed out those prayers, I took myself to the Throne of Grace. I told the Lord He knew I was anxious, but I knew He wanted what was best for me, so I accepted whatever that was – what was for His eternal glory. Immediately, there was a rush of these words:  Be still, and know that I am God! (Psalm 46:10) And then it was like being caught up in a movie someone was fast-forwarding and I was being taken through it by the Hand of God. Scriptures were falling fast into my mind and things God had personally said to me over the years during other anxious and troubled times. I couldn’t keep up! As one thought or scripture came, another instantly took its place. I could hardly focus on one before the next came.  And then I knew what I was experiencing. The Holy Spirit, our Comforter, had lifted me into the mighty rushing wind of God’s presence and love! It truly was supernatural.

The pressure readings were great, even better than I had hoped, actually. Dr. Savage looked at me and said “You’re going to be just fine!” Sweet Jesus, how precious were those words! That’s what I wanted to hear, but during that rushing of Holy Spirit wind, I also felt a peace that if the news wasn’t what I wanted to hear, God would take me through in His strength and use me however He needed to use me.

I was blessed in a way that I could understand. He answered how I had prayed and others had prayed for me. How gracious is our God! But I haven’t always gotten what I have prayed for, far from it. However, since I did this time, I must be sure and use the vision God has preserved in ways that glorify Him – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Would you like to hear a beautiful song by Amy Grant on being still and knowing God?

Not So Blind Faith


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(1) As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. . . (6) He spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then He anointed the man’s eyes with the mud (7) and said to him, “Go, “wash in the pool of Siloam” (which meant Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. (John 9: 1, 6-7 NIV).

In 2016, I experienced a partial loss of vision in my right eye due to a retinal branch vein occlusion.  In layman’s terms, that’s an eye stroke. When I went for treatment, the retinal specialist also found that my eye pressure was too high and my cataracts now needed surgical removal. With so much to take in, this threat to my vision became uppermost in my mind.

Although I have had excellent care, the journey hasn’t been easy. After experiencing surgical complications, preserving my vision still involves frequent medical intervention. Now, the blind man’s story in John 9 has become more personal to me.

This man had never before experienced physical sight, but his story tells me that his hearing may have become acute. Modern medicine has reported that when one sense is missing, the brain rewires itself to compensate for that part of the brain not being used.

Jesus had just spoken in the temple. Had the blind man been listening? Did he hear that same voice when Jesus stood near him and realize who He was? Did Jesus deliberately walk nearby the blind man to test his trust that Jesus was the Son of God and could heal him? Did the blind man sense with his spiritual eyes what he could not with his physical eyes?

In pondering these verses, I think the blind man immediately recognized Jesus’ voice and heard Him say that He was the Light of the World sent by God the Father (see vv1-5). His hearing may have been more acute, but I believe the Holy Spirit was also at work, giving him spiritual vision. I believe this man’s heart leapt with joy at the sound of His voice and then again as he felt the Lord’s gentle touch. He knew he was in the presence of God and, that day, he received two sights: physical and spiritual.

Jesus could have healed the man with just His touch. So, why did He direct him to go to the Pool of Siloam and wash from his eyes the ointment He had applied? I believe it was a test of obedience. And it is at this part of the story that I pause to ponder more, to ask myself:

What am I doing with what He asks of me?

 How intently do I listen for His voice?

How quickly do I act in obedience?

While I marvel at the miracle of Jesus’ healing, for me, the greater lesson is recognizing my need to listen more keenly and obey more immediately. I pray daily to retain my physical sight. I am reminded here to pray just as fervently for my spiritual sight – to hear God’s call to me and obey.  

Our Self Portrait


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The attitudes worn by people fascinate me. I use the word worn because I believe attitude is as much a part of how we look to others as the clothes we wear. When teaching healthcare staff, I always tried to stress that “everything we say and do paints a portrait of who we are.” I’ve long since forgotten where I read that definition, but it sure speaks attitude to me. 

Dr. David Jeremiah tells the story of a CEO who, when he began his company, recognized productivity as essential for growth. So at first, he tolerated bad attitudes if his employees were highly productive. However, as he grew in personal understanding of what it meant to stay successful, he changed the company’s policy to zero tolerance for employees with poor attitudes. Now that’s my kind of CEO!

There is a store near me where every employee seems mad all the time — no smiles, no offers to help. They will do their best to avoid helping even if you ask politely. I suspect if I asked ten friends which store I was describing, all ten would get it right. It’s amazing that they continue to succeed! But how sad to be known as the store where every person wears a bad attitude.

One morning after having been to the “sour pickle” store for something I couldn’t find elsewhere, I drove over to my bank to cash a check. Their attitude wasn’t exactly bad, but the service was indifferent – not at all what I had ever experienced there before.  Maybe it was just the one employee who was off track. My morning wasn’t going all that well until I stopped for lunch.   

What a pleasure to find every employee in the restaurant pleasant, wearing smiles, and enjoying being attentive. When I paid my bill, I mentioned how my morning had gone and how nice it was to have lunch in a place where employees seemed happy. The cashier responded, “It’s easy to be nice when your boss treats you nicely.” It does make a difference. We often reflect the style of the person in charge.

I want to go back to our self portrait. It’s important to stay around positive people. We can pick up what they do to paint a beautiful picture of who they are.  However, we can’t forget that we are responsible for what we show others about ourselves.  We may be influenced by the negative ways of others, but it’s what’s in our hearts that will dress us.

Dr. Jeremiah reminded readers that, for believers, it is the Holy Spirit who is to govern us. That means we are to dress in colors of kindness, calm demeanor, gracious service, pleasant words, and efficient, respectful service.  

As children of God called to witness in this world, we have tremendous opportunity to reflect the One whom we say governs us. We all experience off-days. So when we stumble with our own poor attitude, we can ask God to forgive us and guide us to better reflect Him.  We can remember each day to be conscious of painting our own self-portrait that says “God lives in me.”


For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 KJV

Blessed to Learn from Adversity


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After a very interesting conversation with my dear friend Bonny Napolitano Bonny 2012 picabout the Coronavirus, I asked if she would be a guest blogger on Prayer Pondering and speak from her heart about our pandemic. I have valued her advice for many years and turned to her often to pray with me about matters of deep concern. Here’s what Bon has to say about our current situation.


“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

As a former Air Force nurse who specialized in public health and disaster response, I’ve been impressed and reassured by our government’s guidance during the coronavirus pandemic.  You may have noticed that Dr Anthony Fauci (who authored my public health textbook) and the Coronavirus Task Force speak every day about what they’re learning, and how they’re acting on this new knowledge.

However, for those of us without a preventive health background, we may struggle with feelings of uncertainty, isolation and even fear. But, as believers in Jesus Christ, we can learn to take action to feel calm and confident.

Amidst the noise of newscasts and social media, sometimes I forget that we are made in the image and likeness of God.  What does that really mean?  It means that, like Our Heavenly Father, we are naturally creative, decisive and loving.

God-given creativity:

 I feel blessed by having so many ways to stay in touch with friends and family through electronic media. I’m trying to connect with people I haven’t seen or talked to for a while. It makes me feel both energized and thankful for renewed friendships. Pat and I have known one another for close to 30 years, but have seen one another only about 5-6 times.  In spite of living hundreds of miles apart, we feel like sisters. So use your creativity to keep in touch with friends and relatives in nursing facilities, in other states or even other countries!

God-given decisions:

Our Heavenly Father longs to guide us through His personalized inspiration. I’m finally learning I can pray to know what medical advice we need to follow, what meals I can prepare with limited ingredients, what activities I can try to bring us closer together.  Today in Texas, I smiled as I noticed bluebonnets blooming on the side of the road, oblivious to our drama. It’s a great visual reminder that deciding to “bloom” (and not gloom!) can normalize our daily life.

God-given ability to love:

As God’s children, we have been blessed with an unlimited capacity to love. I get to show love to strangers, friends, families, health care workers, first responders, ministers and missionaries. I can choose words of kindness and appreciation in my home and online. I can read my scriptures and share God’s word with others. I can thank God for His love for us. Like people in Italy who can no longer give hugs, we can sing to one another from our balconies!

As a nurse, I have always stressed that health happens in the home, not in the hospital. I need to remember our heavenly home, and use this time to learn how to live up to His loving expectations.

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)


My sincere thanks to my sister/friend Bonny T. Napolitano, RN, BSN, MPH, USAF veteran serving as Environmental Health Officer. Civilian life: specializing in community health, Hispanic health, disaster preparedness, occupational health, patient rights, caregiver support, and healthcare strategic planning.

Our Pandemic and Personal Decisions


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There sure are lots of opinions on what not to do and where not to go with the coronavirus pandemic. It seems we have a war of words and wisdom.  I’ve been thinking a lot about our world situation and want to add some thoughts of my own.

I have some friends who say they intend to do just as they’ve been doing; they don’t intend to start living their lives afraid. They are Christians and will trust God to protect them. I am also a Christian and I trust God to protect me every day in many situations. One of the last things I do at night is thank God for the protection He has provided during that day; I begin mornings with a prayer for protection for the new day and whatever may come.

But along with my prayers of petition and thanksgiving, I trust that God has also given me common sense and the ability to hear His guiding me in where I should go and what I should do. I don’t go into any day “just trusting.” I ask for guidance and then I listen to hear what I believe He is saying is right for me. I know I don’t always get it right and sometimes it is deliberate rebellion, I ashamedly admit.  Maybe not consciously, but I think I’ve already got it figured out, so onward I go. But, why pray, if I don’t believe I will receive an answer with intention to follow? I also know that how He advises me may not be the same way He advises another.

Let me say right off I don’t think there is a wrong or right in many things, but rather a sense of how you are being personally led to act. For example, I rarely go out at night and not because I’m afraid, but because there is an inner guidance that it is better for me to be inside my home once the sun has gone to bed and the stars come out. That’s not the same sense everyone has and I certainly respect that. I have a dear friend who thinks nothing of traveling from one end of this large city to the other after dark and alone. She says she isn’t alone, God is always with her. I believe and I trust that for her she is doing the right thing. God is also very much with me; I never feel without God for a single minute. The difference is she’s following what the Holy Spirit is telling her and I’m following what I believe He is telling me. Why is it different? I can’t say. It’s certainly not a matter of faith for me (and some have suggested that – that I should have more faith). Why my friend and I sense we are to do things differently would be a question only the Lord could answer. I assume there might be dangers around me that aren’t around Katherine. Dangers I don’t know about, but the Lord does. I do not live in my house afraid, but I do live cautiously.

So it is with the matter of the coronavirus. I will be more attentive to whether I need to be in a particular place and more watchful with how things are being handled. (Have you ever noticed that people in the grocery deli wear gloves but they touch absolutely everything in those gloves? The meat they slice for you, the scales they weight it on, and even the cash register in some stores?) I will wash my hands more as I’m opening doors that may have just been opened by others who haven’t seen soap and water for a while. I’m a big hugger, but I’ll probably do a little less of that for a while.

I realize, like most things, there will be little agreement on how this is to be handled. None of us knows all the things that lead another in making decisions and it’s sometimes more than just what medical opinion they have been given.

When I was growing up, there was little I feared. In fact, my mother would get quite frustrated and occasionally angry with me for being afraid of nothing – she said. Now I find myself in that “over 70” age group. My immune system isn’t what it used to be, neither is my pain threshold (goodness, did I ever have a very high one of those!) I’ve had some unexpected health issues in this past few year and will live with one for the rest of my life. It has to be treated with careful attention and treatment so I won’t take unnecessary chances.

However we decide to address our reaction and behavior to this pandemic, I do hope we all make educated and prayerful decisions.  I also hope we don’t forget that God gave great wisdom to medical professionals to help us, not confuse or scare us. I keep remembering a young woman who was diagnosed with colon cancer. Surgery was advised. She refused it, saying she had full faith that God would heal her. Her family pleaded with her to have the surgery, but Lori wouldn’t budge. That young wife and mother died, leaving behind a 16 year old daughter. I know she loved the Lord with all her heart and trusted to the end that He would heal her, but perhaps the healing He had in mind was by the hands of a surgeon He had blessed with knowledge and skill. There is, after all, more than one kind of healing testimony. Do I believe we can be healed by the direct intervention of God? Yes, I do. I’ve experienced it personally more than once.

Whatever we decide, let’s not make others feel ours is the only right decision. Let’s not push them to question their faith nor cause them to be unjustly afraid. Let’s not argue our position, whatever that is, and here I speak to myself more than anyone else. I know I’m a strong personality with strong opinions, so I’m resolving right now to monitor more what I say to another and not be so free with advice.  I’ll continue to ask God to help us all get through this very tough time, and above all, to love and be kind to one another as we make the journey.

Dr. Emory House


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Every hospital has a code they use over the intercom when calling a CPR team to a patient or visitor who has stopped breathing or whose heart has stopped beating.  The Methodist Hospital code was (and I believe still is) ‘Dr. Emory House.’ On occasion, I sat with family members while a patient was being resuscitated, so I knew a little of what it was like for those who could do nothing but wait and pray. What I didn’t know was what went on in the minds and hearts of those who responded to the call for Dr. Emory House. So I asked. I thought you might find interesting what a nurse and physician told me. 

The Nurse’s Statement:

As I am on my way to the area given, I always wonder if it’s a patient or visitor. Once I’m there, I feel out the situation, look to see who is doing what and how fast everything is moving. I tend to get lost in the situation, removing myself from the person and concentrating on the disease. It is only at the time of outcome, that the individual becomes a person again.

If the patient dies, I review mentally all that was done. Did I make an impact on the outcome? I step it through, giving it an overall look.

If the patient survives, and my feelings were that the patient should not have been coded, I have trouble dealing with this personally and morally. I feel I prolonged death rather than extended life.

I always debrief with someone to get rid of the emotional impact it has on me. I think all nurses are careful about doing this. It’s important to talk it out.

After an Emory House, I need reaffirmation that I am still alive – a hug or just some touch. This is especially so if the patient is a young person. I need to feel all the feelings you experience when you are alive.

The good comes when crisis intervention has only positives. The patient makes it and is restored to quality life. I feel I’ve been put on this earth for a purpose and possibly this is one of the ways I fulfill that purpose.

The Doctor’s Statement:

Explaining my thoughts to the code goes back to when I was 13 and my father died. He was ‘re-sussed’ at home and didn’t make it.

As an intern, not yet skilled to participate, I felt a lot of emotion when I witnessed resuscitation. I was medically detached and emotionally attached. Then as a resident, that detachment reversed itself. The medical point is so intense, you much detach emotionally.

When you are coding a patient, you don’t look at the face; you just go by the book. My heart usually races as I think how important it is not to make a mistake. I’m aware eyes are on me to direct the resuscitation. You have to know when to stop, and that’s very hard.

As a private physician, you get pulled back in emotionally. When an Emory House is called on your patient, you think of all you know about that person. You wonder what happened in the last 24 hours. Did I fail to do something?

No one teaches doctors how to tell the family when the patient doesn’t make it. This is probably the most difficult part for me. I learned from watching an extremely compassionate doctor. He showed me the importance of touch and speaking softly.

There’s such a feeling of emptiness when it’s all over. I don’t usually react emotionally, but one night after an unsuccessful Emory House, I went home to watch television. There was a scene where someone was coded and he didn’t make it. I cried.


These interviews took place thirty years ago, however I suspect little would differ if these same interviews happened today. I’m sure many of you have prayed for doctors and nurses when you or loved ones have been sick – for their knowledge and skills. But have you ever thought to pray for their protection and healing? They need those prayers, too.


A Man and His Dog


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I hope you will enjoy another story about heroes from my hospital days. As you read, keep in mind this happened in a 900-bed hospital. The bigger the hospital, the harder it can be to do the little things for patients. 

It was a volunteer that told me about a patient who came into our hospital suddenly and didn’t have time to make arrangements for his dog’s care. The dog had been without food and water for two days and our patient knew the dog would die if he wasn’t cared for soon. The patient lived within five minutes of the hospital.

I called his physician who was immediately supportive of our doing whatever we could to relieve his patient’s concern. He said he didn’t feel there would be any harm if the patient was unhooked from his IV long enough to see about his dog, provided someone from the hospital could drive him there. 

A call to Security found them willing to help; they would drive the patient to his house. The patient’s care nurse unhooked his IV and readied him for the short trip home. The security officer went to the floor where the nurse released the patient to him for a quick trip home. With the help of the officer, the patient attended to his dog’s food and water. In little more than 30 minutes, the patient was back in his bed, hooked up again to his IV, and sleeping as sound as a baby. 

When I visited him the next day, his eyes glowed like a child’s at Christmas. He just couldn’t believe his doctor and our hospital would do such a kind thing for him. His doctor said it only took his thinking what he would want done for him if he were the patient. As for Security, it was one of the few times they got to be a part of a happy occurrence, and it brought them, for a day at least, to the inner circle of patient care. The nursing staff? Our nurses were the best and always ready to make their patients happy. 

So there are several heroes in this story. The doctor is the first — for without his okay, it certainly could not, and would not, have happened. Our Security Department’s director and his transporting officer were heroes for not being afraid to take the risk. An unseen hero was our director of Risk Management who was notified of what we wanted to do and gave her complete support. It was all about a patient and his dog that day. 


Looking Back at a Memorable Patient


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There’s so much bad news today, I thought a little sharing of personal heroes might be in order. During the years I worked for Methodist Healthcare (1983-1998), my primary responsibilities were to patient concerns, patient rights, and medical ethics. I got to know some terrific individuals and wrote about many of them. I believed the sharing of patient perspectives helped us react more like a small community rather than a large hospital. Everyone does better when they understand another’s perspective. The stories were first shared internally and then with the medical community at large through my column, “Patient Perspective,” in the Memphis Healthcare News. I’ve pulled a few stories, in no particular order, to share with you. This one is very dated, but our need to understand and respect one another never changes. This couple taught us a lot about that. It was written in December of 1988. 

There are those particular patients whose stories we file away in our memory book. Then, from time to time, we draw on the lessons they taught through their demonstration of great courage, kindness, or even wit. There is one patient I remember who met all those qualifications.

I first became involved with him due to his extreme fear of contracting AIDS. He and his wife came to our hospital armed with their own can of disinfectant, and his wife cleaned the bathroom and telephone again – just to be sure.

The patient and his wife, both in their late 60’s, enjoyed one of those marriages that was a sheer delight to observe. As we got to know each other, his wife told me they had both had previous marriages that came apart in the early 1940’s. She said her first husband left to get a haircut one day and just never came back. So, for six years, the second husband made her go with him every time he got a haircut! Then she laughed that happy, throaty laugh of hers, and you could imagine the whole scene taking place.

There were a number of hospitalizations and other visits to our hospital. One day, the patient had been in to get blood and I met him and his wife as they were leaving the hospital. They stopped to speak and give me a quick hug, but then said they had to hurry along. “I’ve just been given the blood of an 18 year old, and I want to get my wife right home” said the patient.

During the time of one hospitalization, the patient decided he would leave a little test for the housekeepers: he put one tiny piece of paper in each of the four corners of his bathroom. The housekeeper passed the test, but one of the patient’s daughters said the housekeeper should have left them where they were with one word written on each paper scrap: (1) I’ve (2) cleaned (3) this (4) bathroom.

The most memorable happening of all, though, came in his first hospitalization. This beautiful human being, full of love and wit, called in all of his grandchildren to talk to them. (As I recall, their ages ranged from about 12 to mid-20’s.) He told them he wanted to be serious just for a minute and then he explained his condition and that he knew his long years of smoking were to blame. He said “Granddaddy should be up playing with you now, and not lying in this bed. If I had taken care of my body, that’s what I would be doing. So I want you to promise me, while each one of you still has a healthy body, to respect it and take care of it. Don’t ever be foolish enough to put yourself where I am now.” With that, he dismissed the time for serious conversation, and became, once again, the life of the party.

Yes, there were times when the patient and his wife might have been seen as ‘difficult’ for staff as they struggled to hold on to the months of life he had left. But surely, there’s not a one of us that felt we could ever put a mark against such a courageous couple.

This was a man and woman who helped us laugh when their hearts were breaking; who held close to each other and taught us lessons about love and left us with memories that bless our days of reflection. The patient was one of those individuals who lives on in each and every person he ever touched, and if there were a hall of fame for patients, we would place his picture there.


Voices That Teach


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In the mid-1980s, I was drawn to the teachings of a Catholic priest, Henri J. Nouwen, and a Trappist monk, Thomas Merton. Merton’s book, No Man Is an Island, became my handbook of sorts. I read it over and over, highlighting, underlining, and making notes in the margins. He communicated in to-the-point statements on human relations. “Some people never reveal any of the good that is hidden in them until we give them some of the good that is in ourselves” was an excellent workshop opener.

Nouwen was another great teacher who spoke in pithy statements. He had a way of communicating that immediately drew people in. He taught at the University of Notre Dame and the Divinity Schools of Yale and Harvard and was in constant demand as a lecturer all over the world. Yet with all this respect for what he had to say, he struggled his lifetime with self-doubt and depression. He also felt a great sense of conflict with his many speaking engagements, nouwen books2saying “Many people ask me to speak, but nobody as yet has invited me for silence. Still, I realize that the more I speak, the more I will need silence to remain faithful to what I say. People expect too much from speaking, too little from silence. . . .” . Quite a few of his personal journals went on to be books and people read them often feeling he was telling their stories. Nouwen was ever seeking Jesus and once someone said to him after a lecture, “When I look at you it is as if I am in the presence of Christ.” Nouwen’s response was quick: “It is the Christ in you, who recognizes the Christ in me.”

Another strong voice for me through the years has been that of Oswald Chambers. He was a profound messenger of God. His devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, is perhaps the most highly acclaimed devotional book ever written. Some pastors say it is second only to the Bible in influencing their relationship with Christ. I have several books written about this man who died young (43) due to untreated appendicitis. He was serving as a chaplain on a battlefield and would not put himself in the way of others he felt needed physician attention more. His wife recorded his sermons in shorthand and after his death published the devotional book as well as other books and articles. I have a book with some of his prayers and I particularly like this one: “O Lord, breathe on me till I am one with Thee in the temper of my mind and heart and disposition, unto Thee do I turn. How completely I realize my lost-ness without Thee.”

marriage w maxie

Richard and I were married by Maxie Dunnam in 1989.

I owe a great debt of gratitude to the voice of Dr. Maxie Dunnam, for it was he who directed me to the likes of the three I’ve mentioned. Dr. Maxie Dunnam was my pastor from 1983 to 1994. When he preached Sunday mornings at Christ United Methodist Church, he could be counted on to tell about those who influenced his life, and how. Most Sundays I left with a note in hand of someone he had mentioned or a book he had read that impacted his life. Maxie, like Nouwen, is not slow to share personal failings when he believes it will benefit others. He still write today and anything Maxie Dunnam says is worth hearing.

I’ve talked of the influence of two Catholics, a Holiness Movement evangelist, and a Methodist minister. I want to mention one other voice that stimulates my mind, that of Jewish rabbis. If you’ve never heard a rabbi speak as a guest lecturer at a seminar, you have missed gold! Their depth of knowledge and ability to bring you along with them to their final “aha” moment is something rich and beautiful.

Who are the spiritual giants in your life? Who do you credit with pouring into your journey? Who teaches you about purposeful living? I would love to hear. Maybe you will point me to a new favorite for 2019.