Bread for Hurting Souls

It has been a gloomy day. Rain started falling around 3pm. Our weekly Panera bread donation needed to be packaged for motel delivery. Baguettes, bagels, bread bowls and loaves were broken down, packaged in bags donated from a local Winn Dixie grocery store. The steady rain meant we would distribute donations from a motel’s front office portico. When we arrived, a few children were already waiting. “Do you have any groceries,” some asked. We did not have groceries to distribute today. One of the children we see every week shared that a young girl was celebrating her 10th birthday. We gave her four perfectly packaged chocolate cookies, wishing her a happy birthday.

“We have to go to room 128,” my husband said.

A young child asked, “What church are you from?” We respond, “God’s church. Several churches support our work.” Another usually shy child said, “Not all churches believe in God.” We talked further. He and his family leave Monday to visit his grandmother in Puerto Rico. We talked about holidays. Most always, I carry copies of The Upper Room Daily Devotional. I was led to give him the latest issue. He was pleased.

Rain became heavier. I walked to room 128. A week ago Saturday, a beloved motel maintenance man was found dead in his room. A woman shared the sad news with us the following Monday. She said that everyone was crying. People were taking it real hard, especially the children because everyone loved him. His memorial service was in Orlando this morning. Most of the people at the motel where he lived, friends and neighbors didn’t have a way to get there. The motel gave them a room to honor their friend today. They wanted us to stop by to honor his memory. Pizza was served. Soda and water were available in a blue cooler sitting outside the door. Grief was palpable.

Inside the room, a beautiful memorial of photographs of this precious soul and his pets were illuminated by several candles. His son and daughter-in-law sat on one of two beds. An open journal was placed in front of the candles and photographs honoring him.

In the rain, we carried remaining pastries, scones and cookies to room 128. People hugged us. A man shared how much he loved his friend. Another Upper Room filled one of my coat pockets. I was led to give it to a  woman who arranged the memorial to honor one who lived a big life, loved by many. Her neighbor and friend living in a tiny room impacted many people. He was honored today and this evening. May he rest in peace.

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.(John 14:27, NLT)

Black-Eyed Susans

Black-Eyed Susans

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Daisies for Daisy

Daisies for Daisy

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Daisy will be euthanized in an hour read the text message including a request for prayers.  A precious family pet suffering through cancer is saying her last good-byes.  There is no good time for good-byes, ever.  Precious Daisy, a rescue dog, came into the family with many health issues, needing emergency-like care in many instances.  She was loved beyond love, cared for and adored for many years.  Letting go, saying good-bye is heart-breaking.  It is time to let go, as the family has selected, to free Daisy to go to the “Rainbow Bridge” to be welcomed, free of pain and suffering, welcomed into God’s Kingdom.

Too many lately, beloved husbands, fathers, mothers, friends, have passed the threshold from this life into the arms of Jesus.  I am thankful that I have been touched through them, their memories, their love, never to be forgotten, but cherished down deep inside my heart and, I am sure, in your heart too.

I am thankful for Daisy, for her love and care in our family.

Transitions

It has been a whirlwind of activity for me.  Thursday, October 17, I left for the Florida Writers Association Annual Conference at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary.  Overwhelmed with good writing information, tools, presentations by excellent professionals, I returned home around 1pm on Sunday in time to re-pack for a road trip to visit my dad.  While re-packing, I was installing updates to my new iPhone 5S on my computer, an ordeal that continues as I key.  My husband was distributing bread to needy families at two motels while I was trying to update a new iPhone before we left.  Nothing goes as planned.  We left home around 7pm, spending the night in Brunswick, GA, 20 minutes from Jekyll Island.  How I wish Jekyll Island was my evening’s destination.  Perhaps another time.  The new iPhone isn’t functioning correctly, not that Jekyll Island would have made a difference, but I can pretend can’t I?  If only….

We continued our trip through the Blue Ridge, Great Smokey and Appalachian Mountains.  Though colors were not quite at peak, we took in the brush strokes of the Creator, at times gasping at  Autumn’s colors.

Autumn Colors

Autumn Colors

Two days later, my heart sank as I read an email that our beloved friend Skip passed to glory on Monday 21 October.  Tears welled in my eyes as I read the email from his wife.  The next day, one of my daily devotionals featured part of Rachmaninoff’s Vespers, “The Canticle of Simeon,” based on Luke 2:29-32.  “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation,…”  I made a solid connection, listening to God’s words, knowing Skip is at peace.

Celebrate Me Home

There has been darkness in this week of long summer days.  A friend’s brother-in-law unexpectedly passed away.  On Monday, my husband will fly to the Northeast to attend a memorial service for a friend’s spouse.

A 16-year old classmate of my great-nephew lost his life in a tragic car accident today.

Broken hearts.  Devastation.  What is there to hold onto?

A few years ago, over the Forth of July, we attended at a Kenny Loggins concert with a special friend who was battling a very rare and lethal form of cancer.  The time spent with him and his family, we cherish to this day.  We wanted to visit him over Thanksgiving that year but his family suggested another time.  His condition was critical.  For his safety, it was best if we did not visit.  He passed away a few months later,  a day before his niece’s birthday.  We miss him.

Youngster Jacob Jolly was suddenly taken from family and friends today.  Hearts are broken. He was a child.  Many are grieving.

From the Fourth of July Kenny Loggins concert with our beloved friend, I recall the song, “Celebrate Me Home.”  For my friend’s brother-in-law, our friend who has lost his wife, and for a teenager, let us Celebrate Them Home.  They have fallen into the arms of Jesus, in Heaven, we rejoice.

When we take communion, we will celebrate with them, as difficult and painful as it may be.  Our hearts are hurting.  Our hearts are filled with hope as we Celebrate Them Home.