Flying Nuggets

James is a logical mind and Madison’s Momma is a creative soul.  When God put that miracle baby in my belly, he made her special in more ways than one.  She is one of the very few people in this life that I have met that is both logical and creative.

James and I are the same in personality.  We like to be around people, but we are not extremely outgoing.  We like to go and do, with a premeditated plan.  We like time to do the things we do, laid back and low key.  And in our own way, we are each perfectionists.

Aside from personality, we are complete opposites.  James pays the bills, gets the oil changed, mows the lawn, solves Math problems, opens jars,  keeps everything, runs really fast, understands the engine in a car, can follow directions, manages people well, and reads manuals.

I, on the other hand, cook, vacuum, decorate, write poetry, change diapers, plant flowers, simplify closets, enjoy Yoga, wrap presents, host parties, journal, straighten my hair, write for sheer pleasure, shop for family Christmas presents, and cry during sweet commercials.

Bless the logical man that is madly in love with the artsy woman.  I love to decorate.  I love our home, but I am constantly making small little changes and discovering little (medium, or big) projects that I want to be done.  Example:  This last weekend, I decided that our brown wood table should really be chalky white.  The floors are a dark wood and the white would be a great popping contrast.  James concludes that the table functions just as it should, despite the color.  But, I know he loves me, because we loaded up the car and drove to an artsy little store that I adore.  (Yes, he hates.)  I picked out the color I wanted and James plops it down on the counter.  Being who he is, as he is handing over his payment, he adds to the cashier, I believe owner, “I am about to ruin a perfectly good table.”  I am sure that wasn’t the first time she heard that.

My amazing husband painted the table.  And it looks incredible!  Thank you babe!

So, what happens when us two folks have a baby?  We spend more money than we should on two Leopard Geckos, one fat guinea pig, a wandering kitty cat, and a fat lazy rescued dog.  We explain things to her using Science books.  She loves to go to work with her Daddy.  And she needs to understand things to accept them.  Like her Daddy.  But, when she is supposed to be asleep at 10:30 and her parents go to check on her, she has a flashlight and can’t put down “Little Princess.”  And when she is supposed to be brushing her teeth, I find her laboring away, scratching her pencil against page four of her new story she was suddenly inspired to write.  I can’t stop her because I know the feeling, being inspired with a story is not something you chose.  So, I let her scribble away and then proudly read her new story to me.  And the title, you got it, “Flying Nuggets.”

Conveying and sharing life, for the same reason that I read novels and biographies, we all love a story and we all know that other type:  Logical or Creative.  And as I want to know and love my family, so do you, and we are in this thing called LIFE together, however we approach it.

I am Not Me

Fashion waxes and wanes, the memories of trends captured in pictures.  Pictures taken from a camera, not a phone.  The comfort of childhood clothes, a closet full of my profession, maternity pants, weight gained and weight lost.  My dress is admired or my outfit is sloppy.  The daily additions and cancelations, I take them off and I put them on.  The differences because of a choice of clothes that people see in me.

The mirror tells the truth of lines that once were not there.  My grandmother in heaven is remembered by her voice calling out my young pudgy tummy.  Baby fat now carries a new meaning.  My tattoos are scars, they each have a story.  Some written and shared, others written on my heart.  This body grows and this body changes.  Memories of who I used to be.  Simple things accomplished that now can not be repeated.  I just tell of them, of the body that was attached to me.

To the man that looks approvingly or the lady that judges me.  I speak to people that are my friends and that are my enemies.  What you see is not.  It is not me.  It changes daily.  Slowly growing and fading, the debt of humanity.  Your dirty smile or your nose turned up goes unnoticed to me because in simple changes that mean nothing at all, your expression would change toward me.

I take off the years like a sweater and my hair will fade to gray like the taking off and putting on of earrings.  Shoes changed is my health fading.  A belt applied is the years passing by.  My body changes like my wardrobe.  But, what you see is not.  It is not me.

Judge me by my character.  The ease of the first glance does not do justice to the soul’s stance.  Let’s be friends and chat and smile and cry. Let’s live before we die.  Because living is forever but this body is and never will be me.  My soul will live for eternity.

Take Me to Church

Who is this God I serve?  Oh the debates, the complications, and the theories.  Is he a God that changes?  How can he be the God of the New Testament and the God of the Old?  A God of Works, of Silence, of Wrath, of live and let live?

What is this label?  Christian.  Those that judge, hate, and do what they condemn?  Who are these christians?  Those that have it figured out?  They know the right from wrong, live in nice houses, don’t curse and don’t hang around those that do?

Korean Pastor Lee Jong-rak built a wooden “drop box” on the outer wall of his home.  The box was designed to be a surrender location for unwanted babies.  Babies with deformities, babies with special needs, babies that would have otherwise been abandoned to die alone find themselves in the arms of a loving father and mother.  This is my Jesus, come broken hearted, come with your addictions and your demons, come with your deformed soul and find yourself in the arms of a loving Father.

But how can this loving father also be the God of Justice?  Let me put it this way, how can he not?  Would he be a God of love if he did not protect his children?  When my daughter was two years old, she was taking a nap in her crib.  I was rushing about the house getting things accomplished in my precious minutes of alone time.  I was startled by the sound of someone in my daughter’s room.  Undoubtedly, I heard the sound of her closet door close.  With a vengeance and determination, I rushed into her room ready to defeat, protect, and destroy with my own two hands.  When I discovered that my baby had crawled out of her bed for the first time, I melted back into her loving mother.

So, why all the hateful Christians?  Because they are really messed up.  So, why all the judgement?  Because the grace of God is not understood.  Why all the self righteous, white on the outside and dirty as hell on the inside?  Because Pharisees are Satan’s great tool.  Remember, they crucified Jesus.

So, I reword and repeat a question.  What is the difference between a christian and a nonchristian?  What is the difference between a believer and a nonbeliever?  I am a christian.  I am a believer.  It means one thing.  I am so screwed up that I know that I need Jesus.  And that is the answer, a believer recognizes their nasty, dirty shortcomings and falls at the feet of Jesus.  The christian is the tax collector refusing to lift his face to heaven and crying out to God to save him.  The world sees the righteous man standing thanking God that he is not like this other man, but Jesus tells us that it is the sinner crying out to Jesus that will be saved.

Lead me to these people, I want to worship with them.  I want to sing praises with those that know we have been saved from death and suffering.  I want to join with survivors of cancer, survivors of addiction, survivors of sin and praise the God that healed us.  I want to hunger for righteousness with those that long for it as I do.  Lead me to the place where people know they are hopelessly screwed up and in need of a savior.  It does not have to be a building.  In fact, I suggest to you that most of the buildings labeled as churches are filled with those that think they have it all together.  Jesus roamed without a home, he gathered under trees, on boats, and on mountain tops, not in a building.

Believers gather.  Our deliver is coming in the clouds.  Knock down the doors that stop us.  Armies gather and take up your weapon.  This world is not our home, do not find comfort here.  Our sins do not stop us, they are a voice from which we have been saved.  Build your drop boxes, label it for those in need.  Grab a hand and lead someone hurting on the way.  Sing a new song.  Stand firm.

Take me to church.  Take me to the feet of Jesus.  Meet me there.

Grace was Everything

Dad stared out at the snow and talked. He seemed more to be talking to himself.  “Grace was everything.”  There was a little bit of a pause and then he continued. He never looked at me and the story rolled out like it played itself constantly through his head every day. “I wanted to be rich. I was on my way to being a successful pastor and writer. I didn’t want to get married. Then I saw your mother. I was at a business meeting with a television agent. There was a live band playing in the restaurant where we were meeting. She was singing. She was in a band. She was from a wealthy family, but she was wild and crazy. Heaven knows what she saw in me, but I could not refuse her. Somehow, all my plans went out the window. She wanted nothing more than a big family. You, David, Fern, you made her the happiest woman in the world.”

When he mentioned me, that was the first time that he looked at me.

I smiled. Where was this coming from and why had I never heard this story before?  I could not imagine my Father in this way. I was intrigued, “Go on.”

Dad continued, “We had the perfect life. I never knew how good I had it.”  A tear rolled down his cheek. Usually, my Father was very stoic, I could not recall a time I had ever seen him cry. He was a tall man, standing 6’4″. He was rather slender. He kept his hair short and the only way I ever saw emotion in my Father before this was that he would put both his hands on his head and rub the top of it with one hand.

He was rubbing his head now and he continued, “We went on vacation.  We were driving to Texas.  We were going to stay with my sister, Benny.  We had been traveling since early morning and it was late afternoon.  We stopped at a restaurant to grab some lunch.  We never ate out during those days.  It was something special.  You were five years old.  Fern was a baby.  David was nine years old.  We were in the parking lot.  Your mom was singing.  She was always singing.  You were buckled in the middle and your sister was on one side and your brother was on the other.”

Dad stopped and looked at me.  He did not look at me like my father would but he looked at me as a man that wanted help.

I had never heard this story.  I saw the desperation in his eyes.  I did not know what to say.  “Dad, you can stop.  I didn’t mean to upset you.”  I wanted him to stop.  What good did it do for him to relive this pain?

He continued, “Fern’s bottle fell out of the car and went rolling across the parking lot.  David jumped out of the car to grab it.”  He paused for just a couple of seconds.  I felt relieved because I thought he was going to end the story there.

But then he continued, “Your mother saw David running across the parking lot, she yelled, ‘David, Come back here.’ And she took off after him.  She ran without looking.  A car had seen David and stopped.  But when David stopped on the other side, it continued.  The driver had not looked and seen your mother there.  Then.”  His lip was quivering.  He was so desperate, “Suddenly, she was laying on the pavement.  David dropped the bottle.  It broke and splattered milk all over her body.  He started yelling, ‘Mommy!  I’m sorry!  I was trying to help!  Mommy!  Mommy!'”  My dad continued to stare into my eyes.  I had never experienced this intimacy with my father before.  Then he continued, “Where was I?”  At this point he was sobbing and it was more than I could bear to see him like this.

“Where was I?”  He continued again.  “For the life of me, I can’t remember what I was doing.  One minute we were all getting in the car and the next minute she was laying on the ground.  There was blood everywhere.  There was so much blood.  I ran and I grabbed her.  She was already gone.  I cried to her, “Sing to me.  Keep singing!”  Then he pleaded with me, “How was I supposed to be happy after that?  I was not fit to be a father.”

“Dad, it’s ok.”  I tried my best to console him.

“No.  No, it’s not ok.  I am so sorry.  I failed you.  I let your mother down.  I see that now.  I don’t know why I couldn’t see it before.  I was so drowned in my own sorrow.  But I still had you.  I had her children to take care of and I did not do it.  I was not the father that she would have wanted me to be.  I’m sorry Claire.  I’m so sorry.”

He tilted his head to the side and he tried his best to hold back more tears.  Then he reached our his finger and affectionately touched my nose.  “You have her nose.  When you were a child.  I looked at you and saw her nose.  I am sorry I never told you.”

This is a selection from my novel.  Please click on the link below for more information and to purchase Spiritual Flesh and Blood

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A Very Unpopular Article

This article will not be liked, it will not be shared, there will be nothing but negative comments.  Politically correct is the name of the game, the only rules of society are:

1.  Do not dare to label right vs. wrong.

2.  Do not hurt anyone’s feelings.

3.  The greatest purpose in life is to love yourself.  No matter what.

4.  Anything goes.

5.  The only god is comfort.

And here is what it has led to.  The romantic movie of the year (and the top selling novel of 2012 and 2013) is Fifty Shades of F#!@ed Up.  “That is so romantic.  I wish I had a man that would chain my arms and tell me that if I moved, he would chain my legs, and if I screamed, he would gag me.”  ISIS is burning and beheading people and capturing children and the president of the United States wants to point out the crusades of centuries ago.  Sorry, I didn’t mean to get political on you.  Don’t talk about politics.  We can complain about the price of gas and groceries and EVERYTHING but don’t dare to tie that to the root of the cause:  politics.

And now everyone thinks I am a fanatic and I’ve lost followers and I’ve gone off the deep end.  I hope so!  Because if that is what is accepted in our society, I want no part of it!

I have long ago left the popularity club.  I could care less what in the hell anyone thinks about me!  Caroline, pick a side!  If you are going to argue conservative politics and morals, then don’t cuss, you won’t please anyone.  I am not here to fit into any club.

The blame falls on Christians!  Yes!  I blame Christians!  Since when did we give into the five rules of our culture?  When we wanted them for ourselves?  We don’t care to hear about ISIS, we stand in line to purchase our Fifty Shades of Grey Tickets, we send out kids to schools that teach them to do whatever the hell they want, we buy them iPads and anything they want to shut them up, we get an extra job to buy a nicer car instead of raising nicer children, who knows when the last time is we’ve actually read the Bible?  Oh, I guess I am getting labeled legalistic now.  Well, I’m not here to make friends, especially not Pharisees!

Why?  Why do I have to rant and rave and call out the sins of this world?  I have a daughter.  Period.  No longer can I raise her to serve and enjoy this world she is growing up in.  No.  Wake up parents!  Is this a world that we want our children to be comfortable in?  I don’t!  Quite unfortunately, I am preparing my daughter to be a Noah.  I am teaching her to stand firm in her faith when the world laughs at her for following her God.  I am teaching her to be a David and stand against Goliath when the world is a bunch of wimps.

Parents, want something more for your children than comfort in this sinning world that is racing toward Hell!  Teach them to love right and hate wrong.  Show them how to do what is right, when all the world is doing something else.  Be that example!  Want something more than happiness for your sons and daughters!  Happiness!  It has become the end goal of our entire culture!  But I want my daughter to be kind, I want her to serve others at her own sacrifice.  I want her to be healthy.  I want her to chose food that is good for her body and exercising, when sitting on the couch and eating candy would make her happy.  I want her to chose to read, and study, and help, and smile rather than looking out for her own comfort.

Why do I write this article?  Because I love my daughter too much to let her settle for the current offer!

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What Where You Expecting?

Caroline, Put on your big girl panties and get to work. I have an amazing life, like everything I ever wanted kind of life but still I wake up in the morning and there are beds to be made, laundry to be done, bills to be paid, dinner to be made, cleaned up…..IT NEVER ENDS!  Life can be so exhausting!  And that just covers the daily keeping up.  I am called to do more!

One of my favorite movies is Braveheart.  I think there are few people that don’t include that on their list of favorites.  “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our FREEEEDOOOM!!!”  Please!  How can that not inspire you?!

Madison was reading aloud the story of David and Goliath, “Mom, David was just a kid.  How did he kill the giant?”  It is the beauty of the story, accomplishing the impossible!

George Washington, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther….the list of inspiring people continues.  I want to be on that list!  And that is what Christians are called to be!  We are never called to a life of comfort.  Are you a follower of Jesus?  He is not safe!  He is not calling us to build a house, keep to ourselves, and not offend anyone!  Everyone is so afraid of offending someone!  Hell?  Yeah, that is offensive!  One way to heaven?  Offensive.  One God?  Offensive.

“I love you too much to let you do that.”  This is a phrase that my husband and I have lived by as parents.  Madison wants another donut?  She wants to walk around the shopping mall by herself?  She wants to pet the stranger’s dog that is growling with drool foaming around his fangs?  She wants to buy this and that….says something unkind…..wants to wear shorts when it is below freezing outside…the list of a seven year old.  It is my job, as a parent, to tell her “no.”  Sometimes she doesn’t like that.  Sometimes it hurts her feelings that she can’t buy that stuffy.  Sometimes she gets really mad when she can’t have another cookie.  I love her too much to let her feelings override what is best for her!  I could not love that little girl any more and that is why I have to do what is best for her, which is not always what she or I want to do.  Application:  I AM NOT AFRAID TO OFFEND SOMEONE!

Oh, the things that I do and say that offend “people of the church.”  Oh!  The things I do and say that offend the general population.  I do not want to get into a debate.  I do not care to argue.  Not really my thing.  However, if it is right, God calls me to it.

I do not want to be tortured like William Wallace.  I want to be the David that defeated Goliath (past tense) but I do not really want to be the David walking out onto the field facing the guy that every statistic says is about to feed my body to the birds.  But God told him to!  God does not call us to be a bunch of comfortable wimps!  Lord God, I want to serve people like Mother Teresa AND I want to offend people like Martin Luther!  I want to do what is right!  even if it makes me uncomfortable.

 

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Twas the Night Before Everything

It’s modern day.  Things are different now.  That’s what we always think.  A baby being born of a virgin?  The guiding star in the sky?  A boy raised a carpenter that heals the sick and makes the blind to see?  A death on a cross that takes away all my sins?  Are we children?  Are we supposed to believe in miracles?

Christmas Eve.  Is tomorrow a fairy tale for children?  Is it only about the presents and the stockings and the here and the now?  If Christmas is not real, then this life that I live is meaningless.

Where do you get your morals?  You choose what is right for you?  What about a serial killer?  Oh, they don’t get to decide.  What about terrorists?  You get to decide until it brings harm to someone else?  Then I am only in this for me.  Then it is survival of the fittest.  That is what the Nazis believed.  What about the leper?  When they were the outcast, Jesus said that they had meaning.  What about the children that culture said had not earned their status, Jesus said that we are to be like them.  When some religions drink kool aid and commit suicide together and some religions sacrifice babies, they can’t all be right.  Because, mine at least, says that is wrong.

Christmas is the day that my God became man and was born on this earth to make all the wrongs in the world right.  Jesus was born because he loves me and he loves you.  He is the only god that does that, the only god that says, it is not about what you do but what I do for you.  There is no other religion where god loves me like that!  He is my hope, he is my peace!  Why do people try to convince me otherwise?!  What if it is you that is missing out?  Do you have this peace?  Is Christmas bigger for you?  To me, Christmas is everything!  Without Christmas, I have nothing!

But, it is Christmas Eve.  The celebration has been building up for a month.  Tomorrow we are going to wake with wonder in our hearts, tomorrow the whole day is spent in merriment.  Tomorrow we remember the most important birthday in the history of time, God was born!  There is hope, there is an answer, there is relief, we are saved!  There are miracles!  Life is worth living because tomorrow is Christmas!

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The Poetry of Love

God.

Holy.  Almighty.

Saving.  Redeeming.  Healing.

Born in a manger.

Jesus.

Is there anyone that is good at everything?  Who can say they are a gold medal olympian, a top model, famous chef, adoring parent, loving spouse, domestic goddess, star student, classical musician, decorated soldier, theologian, humanitarian, billionaire businessman, and award winning artist?  Even the Renaissance man falls short.  No one can be everything.  No human.

Our worldly competitions are nothing for God.  Athlete.  He is all powerful.  Theologian.  He has all knowledge and wisdom.  Businessman.  All resources are at his disposal.  Artist.  He formed this very earth and these very bodies that we can only mimic.  He knows everything and he can do anything.

Who is a match for God?  Why do I daily doubt him?  Why do I think that I know better than him?  That guy, the one that is perfect at everything loves me with perfect love.  He has an amazing plan for joining my life to his and using his power for my good.  Let him!  If Christians would really realize what Christmas means, this world would be turned upside down!  The God of the entire universe did everything to save us!  Accept it!  This Christmas, receive the best gift ever given, Jesus.

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The Needless Journey

Energized by the crowd, he shook to loosen his muscles, stretched his arms across his body, and then lifted them and waved.  The people cheered and sent him on his way.  The sun warmed his body, skin exposed in his summer attire.  He felt as if he could run forever, like he had wings carrying him along the way.  Those he passed waved and called him out by name.  He ran and ran and ran.

The day got long and his legs began to ache.  It was time for a break.  Pushing his body, he jogged to the next street and then found a nice restaurant.  The staff was friendly, delivering his cuisine with a smile and with kind comments of wander and amazement of his successes.  His waitress was pretty and she smiled long smiles and laughed at appropriate times.  “You are so big and strong.  But I think it would help if you would take some food with you.”  So she packed him a bag of food and sent him on his way.

Carrying the bag of food in one hand, he continued on his travels.  Running and then  eventually slowing his pace to a jog.  On and on down the dirt road.  The area was not as populated now.  He jogged past cornfields and he jogged past fruit groves.  But there was a pain in his calves he could ignore no longer.  He jogged and jogged and jogged and carried his bag of food.

He needed a place to sleep and finally he came upon a barn.  Calling out, a gruff voice answered, “Who is there?”  He did not sound so kind but upon explaining his journey he responded, “This once, I will allow you but take this sleeping bag with you on your travels, you should not be trespassing on private property.”  He thanked him and laid down to rest his body.  With the sun going down, he laid down on the hay.  With the call of the rooster, he awoke with a jerk.  He did not mean to sleep this long.  He must continue on his journey.  So he stood and stretched his aching body.  He carried his bag of food in one hand and his sleeping bag in the other hand and he walked and walked and walked.

There was not a part of his body that did not call out for relief.  His feet were blistered from his old shoes, stomach achy from improper nutrition, back sore from lack of a comfortable night’s rest, and his very skin was red from the sun that shone down and mocked him.  The hardest part of his journey set in his path, he tried not to think of the tall mountain, it seemed impossible, he just put one foot in front of the other and continued on his way.

Needing rest, there was none to be found and soon he found himself at the foot of the mountain.  Looking up, he could not see the top.  There was only one thing to be done, his arms hung by his side, each clutching their materials and one foot at a time, he continued on his journey.  He climbed and climbed and climbed.

The air grew thinner and he soon found that he was lacking in clothing.  Chills formed on his legs and arms.  The wind began to blow and pushed against him.  He tried to cover himself with the sleeping bag.  Clutching the ends and pulling them up around his chin, he continued.  His bare, scrawny legs dangling out and shaking from exhaustion and cold.

Nothing filled his mind, nothing sang, nothing laughed, nothing smiled.  The journey.  He pressed on and on and on, pushing into the cold, bitter wind, fighting the physical pains of his body and ignoring his lack of company.  He suffered and suffered and suffered.

In the distance, something glowed.  It became the focus of his mind.  He pushed and pushed and pushed.  One step, then another, then another.  He lost track of time.  He did not know how long his journey had lasted, but one more step he must take.  His body fought back hard and his will pushed him another step until he collapsed in front of the glow that had grown until, in his last recollection, he realized it was coming from a fire, shinning through a window, placed in a large house.  And he collapsed at the door.

The shock of hospitality.  Taken inside from the now snowy woods was instant relief.  To rest in front of the glowing fire brought more than he had hoped for.  The offer of a hot bath was more than he could comprehend.  The hot dinner that was placed before him was more than he could put into words.  And the invitation of staying in the plush bed finally brought tears to his eyes.  He had reached his destination.  His son climbed up into his lap and hugged his neck.  His wife stared into his eyes and made him promise never to leave them ever again.  He had found what he had been searching for:  home.

The Most Important Thing

The sun has hit the snooze button and we creep out of the garage in the darkness.  Frost glistens on the grass and roofs and wreaths that are hanging on our windows.  The car heat is turned on high and blowing on our feet.  We have the morning count down.  “Nine more days until Christmas.  Three more days of school.”

We sit in silence and sleepiness as we join the early birds on the road and continue on our journey to school.  I take a sip of my morning energy.  Coffee.  I take another sip.  I have been through the check list before we left the house, but I can not help but run it through my head again.  Is Madison prepared for school?  Plaid skirt and polo shirt?  Check.  The weather is cold.  Fleece and leggings.  Check.  The weather is colder than that.  Heavy coat.  Check.  Gloves in her backpack because she doesn’t want to wear them but incase she changes her mind.  Check.

But at this point, that is definitely not enough.  She is still not even close to ready for school.  Morning preparations:  Daddy made her scrambled eggs and she had a glass of water.  Check.  I supervised the brushing of her teeth.  Check.  Combed her hair and pulled it into her favorite do, a ponytail.  Check.  Face washed.  Check.  Oh, so far from being prepared for school.

Healthy school lunch in her lunchbox, in her backpack.  Check.  Two healthy snacks in small animal shaped containers in her front backpack pocket.  Check.  Water bottle.  Check.  Homework folder in binder.  Check.  Binder in backpack.  Check.  She is not ready for this day at all.

With my eyes open, as I am driving down the road, “Madison, let’s pray:

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for Madison.  I pray that she will enjoy learning about your creation today.  I pray she will be kind and patient and obedient.  I pray she will know when to talk and when she needs to listen.  Thank you for her school and her teacher and her friends.  Thank you for Daddy.  We pray that he will have a wonderful day at work.  Please keep us safe and healthy today.  Please help us to do your will today.

We love you Jesus.  Amen

And now she is ready.  She is prepared for this day.  We roll to a stop.  She unbuckles and gives me a kiss.  I return the favor on her cheek.  “I love you.  Goodbye.”

Jesus is going with her.  It is the only way that I can let her go.