Driving Lessons

Driving Lessons


It’s Friday. My day off. May I offer you a snapshot of the day?

  • Alarm set a half hour later.
  • Assembled Caleb’s lunch and attempted to coax some breakfast into him.
  • Left bed unmade as it is time to change the sheets. Later.
  • Hair appointment to straighten the unruly curly and presto change-o the grey, the white, the silver to ebony.
  • Read text from Carl while under the dryer wondering if I can make a 1:30 car appointment to assess low tire pressure. I reply yes.
  • Pay and tip my hair genius.
  • Drive to The Whole Bowl for a speedy lunch, no black olives, cilantro or sour cream please.
  • Sit in cushy chair and read while my tire is being inspected. Diagnosis: a stray nail.
  • Dart to car and dodge every raindrop because you know, my glorious hair.
  • Drive home, make menu plan and grocery list.
  • Drive to store, load up my cart, the cashier asks if I had any trouble finding what I needed, no trouble at all as I glance at the conveyor belt. We talk about his desire to work closer to home due to the long bus ride home when he closes the store, I thank him for his help, tackle the parking lot, demonstrating ninja skills to avoid rain drops.
  • I push a button to heat my seat and sigh that MY day has evaporated.
  • Drive to pick up a pizza to bake at home before we head to a night at the movies.
  • Bed remains unmade.

I grin because there is a parking place at the eternally full lot shared by several businesses. If I can just wait out this stop light and turn quickly, I will have a coveted space. But I am hurrying and the turn is more hairpin than I anticipated so I struggle. I glance up at the front of the pizza entrance and there is a man cross-legged leaning against the window. He is making hand motions with a slight smirk to guide me as I re-position the car. After two tries, I have accomplished the feat or should I say we mastered the parking space. I jump out of the car and say to the man, “I think I could use your help in my life.” He laughs, nods and smiles as I enter the store.

I exit with arms full of pizzas and climb into my vehicle. I pause for a moment and reach for my wallet. I am unaware of its contents as most of it was left at the hair salon but I know there is some so I empty it and as I reflect later, it was a tenth of my hair plus tip. Hmm. I climb out of my car and lean over to my driving instructor, look at him and tell him, I hope he is able to have a hot meal tonight. I place papers into his hands and he says Amen. I drive away, not before glancing back and seeing him extend his hand for a fist bump with a 3-year old who eagerly accepts the exchange.

I wonder why I offered money and not an invitation to  share pizza in my home. The bills were easier to give, I suppose. But isn’t he my neighbor?

This truth haunts me.

My drives across Portland equally haunt me. No matter the path or direction, the terrain is lined with a rainbow of tents. Everywhere. I cannot ignore my heated seat existence in contrast to those who bear the brunt of the elements every moment of their days. There are no days off. There are no clean sheets.

I don’t have answers. What does it mean to offer the excess of my wallet and not myself, my life to someone in need.  I don’t know how to reconcile that I have power to change the existence of my hair type with a phone call and some cash and I feel tongue-tied when faced with multitude of those in need.

I am going to let the question percolate in my soul until I hear with better ears and see with clearer eyes. There are plenty of organizations I can partner with but first a little heart repair is necessary.

I don’t know even a part of the story of the man who helped me park. I didn’t even ask him his name. It is easy to make assumptions. He may or may not be homeless.  But I know he is a son. He could be a brother, an uncle, a husband or a father, a friend. I drew near enough to see he had lost part of his pinkie finger. I am sure he could write paragraphs of that episode and pain from the loss of a part of himself and the pain which finds him seated by a pizza store window.

Alan Graham says “the single greatest cause of homelessness is a profound, catastrophic loss of family.”

I am grateful for his words as they help lower the pointed fingers of presumed reasons for homelessness. How would any of us survive without the people we name as family? When we lose family, we lose the connecting points of our identity.  I don’t want to imagine the magnitude of being severed, but I see it painted along the highways and the no longer hidden corners of my city.

The man I encounter, asked for nothing. I think he wanted to be noticed, to feel connected, to feel valued. If I am honest,some days, actually most days, it’s hard for me to look because it requires truly seeing myself and my life crammed with stuff. I’d rather try to outrun the rain that might ruin hair than the many who live continually with rain-soaked clothes.

This man, he is my neighbor. This means I am his neighbor.

Would he consider me his neighbor?

All I do know is I needed his help more than he needed mine.

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word and deed,

by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.
~The Book of Common Prayer



reading material

reading material


I haven’t written a post about what I am reading in quite a while.

Do you remember my pause from reading  the last portion of 2012?

Well, it was a wonderful hard time.

It felt wonderful to be fixed in one direction…reading the Word.

Hard in that, I love reading books.

It’s was like fasting from sugar.

Everywhere I roamed, it suddenly felt like there were sweet landmines everywhere.

It seemed like every blog post I read was about favorite books.

I just grabbed paper and pen and compiled a list of all those gorgeous books.

During that time, in the midst of seeing flashes of light, I discovered my need for glasses.

My new glasses are pictured above.

My world had been thin light grey type and now it is suddenly black boldface print.

It has been a revelation!

Cue the choir of angels singing Hallelujah!

But is it just me or do other glasses wearers have to clean their lenses every two minutes?

It’s been an adjustment but seeing is worth it.

It definitely makes reading more enjoyable!

The new year has found me with better sight and eating a lot better.

Thus the beautiful colors of fruit next to my book stack!

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

This is the first book in the Flavia de Luce mysteries.
I found it for pennies at the Goodwill, which I am finding to be a goldmine lately.
I am beginning to adore eleven-year-old Flavia, a miniature detective with a penchant
for concocting poison.

Praying the Names of God Journal

I started this using this journal at the end of last year.
It’s a great part of my morning routine.

The One Year Bible-New Living Translation

I haven’t used a One Year Bible in a long time.
I tend to pick a reading plan and go from there.
For some reason, I wanted to keep life very simple,
without a lot of page turning.
I am enjoying reading from the New Living Translation
after last year reading The Message.

The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year

Did you know Lent begins the next week?
I want to be more connected to the church calendar.
I grew up in a church where the weekly bulletin pointed me
to where in the church year we resided.
I have just started this book and am excited to be more aware
and reflective.
How fun that I ordered this book from a seller only to receive
it in the mail from the author with a sweet note including her
contact information. I love that! She’s from Seattle.

Not picture above because it resides on my nook is this book

Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement

For a limited time Kris is giving free pdf copies away for your
computer or e-reader when you subscribe to her newsletter.
Click here (hurry)

Otherwise go here.

Leaving Church

Barbara Brown Taylor’s book An Altar in the World
was one of my favorite books I read in 2012. I am slowly
working my way through this memoir. Slowly because
I am sure I won’t want to get to the last page.

Prayer: Finding the Hearts True Home

I read this classic by Richard Foster when it was released in
{in}courage’s book club Bloom is beginning  to read it starting
next week.
There are usually blog posts and videos throughout the week.

Find out more here.
The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making

This is a fun book to flip through and be reminded of all the yummy goodness
that can happen in your own kitchen instead of grabbing it off a shelf illuminated
by fluorescent lights.

What are you reading during the month of February?

Speaking of February, I will post a new desktop for your computer once
it’s up on the site!

Have a blessed Monday!