Tuesday, August 2

The Incomparable Max Meador

On Friday, August 5 the Kiwanis Club of Lynchburg will host their 1st Annual Max Meador Shrimpfest on the campus of VES. It's an exciting endeavor and a lot of work - we are scrambling to make sure everything is in place for the event. In the midst of juggling ticket sales and social media and signage - I ran across a picture that one of our members sent me of Max. And I felt like spending a few minutes reflecting on the person that we are remembering as part of this Friday's festivities.

You see, I only knew Max as a Kiwanian. I was part of a group brought into the club about five years ago and Max was one of those who warmly welcomed me. He was one of the first to greet me at meetings and once I started editing the club's e-newsletter, Max went out of his way to compliment every issue (even the ones that weren't my best work). I knew him as a friendly and pleasant man. But I didn't know the whole story.

When my nephew was getting ready to start school at Hampden-Sydney College in Farmville - I found out that Max was an alumni (I knew several of the club members were - but somehow had missed the fact that he was). Class of 1958 - he fell in love with Latin and earned his Masters degree. He and I probably would not have bonded over a love of Latin. Although I took Latin for three years in the Amherst County school system - I barely made it out of Latin III with a D. I remember one phrase: Agricola est puer - which I believe translates to "the farmer is a boy" or "the boy is a farmer." And I can conjugate the verb Amo (amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatus, amant). But we certainly did share a love for words and language and proper grammar.

When the club lost Max on December 22, 2015 I learned a lot about his life from his obituary and the VES community. I learned he was "VES' beloved faculty advisor, senior master, Latin teacher, baseball coach, and administrator for 43 years." Baseball coach?

Yes, a whole new layer of Max that I didn't know. And that is an area that I heard about recently from a lovely lady who called me to get tickets to Shrimpfest. She told me all about how her daughter had served as an assistant coach to Max because she couldn't play due to an injury. The doctors had warned her that any more competitive sports and they wouldn't be able to do any more for her knee. She told me about how working with Max had been so rewarding for her daughter. You could hear the love and admiration in her voice.

I get that - being around Max Meador you always felt like the most important person in the room. He made you feel like a visiting dignitary or Rhodes scholar. He just had that way about him. I miss that. And when we recite our guiding statement at the beginning of each club meeting: "Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers, dedicated to improving the world, one child and one community at a time." I say (along with a few other stalwart fans), "So help me Max." (Something a member started long ago, which always made Max chuckle.)

And I smile...and remember...and smile again.

Saturday, April 23


I have been feeling like an overwound watch. (for those of you who don't know what winding a watch means - go tomorrow and purchase a pocket watch that you have to wind or some sort of classic Timex. It does you good to have to tend to something every day.)

So...I've been feeling off center. Just edging toward overwhelmed.

It happens.

So, recognizing this, I've been trying to take deep breaths and look at the night sky and remind myself that I am not responsible for the spinning of the world. Because I have this tendency to give myself that much power. Only...I know that I suck at it and then I get all...verclempt?

So - today I took a step toward unclenching my soul. I spent several hours in the company of my talented and brilliant youngest sister and the brilliant wonder twins.

They are 8. And they are kind, funny, happy, intelligent, curious, patient, loving, goofy, looney beings. We met for lunch - Yellow Sub. Always a great choice - good sandwich, patrons not too disturbed by a slightly raucous table. We tip well. There were tater tots covered in cheese and bacon. The wonder twins arrived and the world lit up.

They smile when they see me. And I feel worthy - and the soul stretches a little. Just testing the waters. Still wary - someone will realize that I'm imperfect.

I get to be the center of the world! Each of them leaning in close to show me something in a game on a phone or to ask me a question. I feel like a genius, firing off answers to questions like Ken Whatizname on Jeopardy. The loon on my left has fairly attached herself to my arm. She couldn't be closer - adoring her cool and excellent aunt.

Perhaps, I am worthy?

And the hour in the park looking for four leaf clovers (eagle eyed sister found one!) and watching stick boats race in the creek - just hanging out and watching the group with men in suits (and wondering...why?). Topped off by wild adventure!

They rode to my house in my car so their mom could run by the grocery store. Passengers! In MY car? So they got to ride with an 80 pound bag of shredding between them. Laughing and making arm airplanes out the window. Stuffed bear Rufus contemplating a flight out the window. He thought the better of it.

Girl sitting on my lap threatening to lick my face. Riotous laughter.

Boy riding scooter and two bikes in various states of disrepair down the hill.

Climbing and pulling and pushing and laughing and ah....

I feel myself drifting back to the balance point. Knowing that I don't have to be in charge of it ALL. And cutting myself some slack.

The soul is starting to unclench. Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat as needed.

Friday, January 1

And the soul felt its worth

well...it's been awhile. about a year and a week. it was a pretty intense year in a lot of ways - good and bad. I've had some adventures and some personal growth, I'll tell you some stories at another time. Remind me, if I don't remember - cruise tales, sermons and deep thoughts, silliness, strange dreams (most recently, a chocolate chip cookie bake off with my sister Susan while Denise was trying to have me cook dinner. Chicken and broccoli. Which clearly has some deeper connotations...but I digress.)

What I have been marinating on over the last few days is the Christmas carol O Holy Night. I delivered the message at Cove UMC in Coleman Falls on December 27. I've spoken there many times and I love that group of people. They accomplish the task of being a church so very well...they just love so well. It is a small congregation but they watch out for each other and reach out into the community with an open heart. They are so welcoming.

So, this message that I delivered was based around the lines from the carol "Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt its worth..." I'll put the whole text on a post for anyone who wants to read it - here.

I think that Father Greg Boyle said it best in his book Tattoos On the Heart: "how is it not the job description of human beings seeking kinship? It's about appearing...remembering we belong to one another, and letting souls feel their worth.

But here's the twist - I went there expecting to deliver a message: that we have the opportunity every day to help souls feel their worth. And I hope to embody that message. I don't do it perfectly, but I'm going to keep trying to help everyone I encounter know that they are worthy of my attention and respect and understanding. Let's all get on board with that...

But the twist? I got so much more from that interaction than I gave.

These wonderful people showed me - and my soul felt its worth. They hugged me and said that my message had touched them...or my (tentative and congregation-supported) acapella singing of O Holy Night at the message conclusion was appreciated. And I remembered something...hey, God loves me too. And a beautiful little lady had brought me cookies because she knew I was coming.

And my soul felt its worth.

It has been ... and to some degree continues to be ... a bit of a pressure cooker. But to all of you - yes, you who help show me my worth - thanks.

I'll stop by more often. Till then, some of the old stuff is still good - post a link to your favorite post in the comments.

December 27, 2015 message

Colossians 3:12-17New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

The weather this week has not been exactly conducive to gazing at the night sky...but one of my very favorite moments of the past few days was as I was leaving my house on Christmas Eve to head to Centenary for the evening service. I was running late and was still in the “harried and hassled” mode of Christmas Eve. As I was leaving the house, I happened to glance up at the sky...and I could see, through the cloud cover, the moon. My breath caught in my throat and I stared at the night sky...and it brought my impatience and hectic pace to an abrupt stop. I let go of the to-do list and took a full minute to stare into the sky and just be.

It reminded me of my favorite Christmas carol - "O Holy Night." This well-known carol was composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem "Minuit, chr├ętiens" (Midnight, Christians) by a wine merchant and poet, Placide Cappeau. In Roquemaure, the church organ was recently renovated. To celebrate the event, the parish priest asked Cappeau, to write a Christmas poem. Cappeau did it, although being a professed anticlerical and atheist. Soon after, Adam wrote the music. On Christmas Eve, at Midnight Mass, in an obscure French village...a choir celebrated Jesus' birth with O Holy Night.

Most didn’t think much of the song when it was written. Not because the song itself was without merit but because they didn’t much appreciate its author. Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure was a poet commissioned by a French Bishop. He was considered by many to be less-than-worthy of such a task. Some considered him profane – others thought of him as a trouble maker at best. He was indeed a social radical; known for his opposition to things like injustice, inequality, and oppression. He tended to be out spoken.

Adams, the one who wrote the music to the song, was just as unqualified … he was, after all, a Jew! When the Church Leaders in France learned these facts, they officially banned the song as “unfit for church services.” But it was too late! O Holy Night had already become one of the most beloved Christmas songs in France --- and no matter what the Church Leaders decreed --- the French people kept singing it. You see, even though the composers may not have believed what they wrote, they had produced a masterpiece that was true to the Gospel message.

In spite of the criticism of some, the song struck a nerve with the masses. It spoke to them. From the first verse:O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.Long lay the world in sin and error pining.Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn ….

Here we see the birth of Christ from a Heavenly viewpoint … a birth that awakened the whole world … a birth that brought a new and glorious morn to everyone on earth.

The Nativity story teaches us to reflect not only on the birth of Jesus, but its universal message of peace and goodwill. The story begins with a census. All citizens, by order of Caesar Augustus, went to be registered in their place of family origin. Mary and Joseph traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem because of the census. Jesus was born in a cave stable set aside for shepherds’ flocks in time of storm. In a place of abandonment, Jesus was laid in a manger on this particular night, since there was no room for them at the inn. The story goes on to reveal that on this night, shepherds guarded their sheep in the fields and angels appeared to announce the birth of the new born king. Later on, perhaps weeks after, wise men appeared bearing gifts fit for a king. Finally, the young family fled into Egypt because King Herod sought the child to kill him after being informed of the birth.

At the heart of this story, as it unfolds in the cave stable, is the birth of a higher expression of love that had not been expressed up unto that point in time. That love brought to fulfillment in Jesus manifested itself as selfless love.

Father Greg Boyle, author of Tattoos on the Heart gives an interesting perspective to O Holy Night, (I read from the chapter in his book titled simply “Kinship”): “I grew up in an old large house. My five sisters and two brothers and I were told never to go to the attic. This is all we needed to hear. Before long, we were selling tickets to the attic. On one of our forays there, navigating the uncertain planks that kept you from falling through the ceiling below (I guess that explains my mom's prohibition), we found a box of old record albums. One thick, red-clay recording was labeled “O Holy Night – Kathleen Conway” (Conway was my mother's maiden name). We hurried downstairs, placed the record on our toy phonograph and encircled the speakers, lying on our stomachs, fists propping up our attentive heads. A glorious, though timeworn and scratchy voice came through the speakers. Our mom, it turns out, before she decided to have eight kids, was an opera singer. We could barely fathom that the voice that hollered at us to come to dinner belonged to this magic emerging from our toy phonograph. We played the grooves off of this record. Consequently, a line from the song found itself permanently etched in my brain – a mantra of sorts: “long lay the world in sin and error pining - 'til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.” Sure, it is a song about Jesus and Christmas, but how is it not the job description of human beings seeking kinship? It's about appearing,” remembering that we belong to one another, and letting souls feel their worth.

The scripture from Colossians that I read a few minutes ago speaks to this goal – Paul was writing to the church at Colossae from prison and he was concerned about reports that he had heard of them following false teachers. He wanted to bring them back to the basics. From The Message, verses 12-14 “So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”

Compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. The basics – treat all humans with compassion and kindness. Be humble. Be strong but not boastful. Forgive quickly – and completely. But above all – Love. Let the souls feel their worth...because in this world, it is easy for people to feel devalued. To feel unworthy. To feel unloved and forgotten. To not be sure if God loves them. To not be sure if God loves us.

In his book, Father Greg tells about a homie named Bandit who came to Homeboy Industries after a lot of time “being at home in all things illegal.” He finally decided he was “tired of being tired” and left his old ways behind. The job developers located an entry level job – unskilled and low-paying, a first job. Fast forward 15 years and G got a phone call from Bandit, “G, ya gotta bless my daughter.” “Is she okay?” Father Greg asked. “Is she sick or in the hospital?” No, Bandit told him...Carolina was headed to college. The first in his family...and he was hoping that G could offer a send-off benediction. Bandit, his wife and three kids all arrive and the young Carolina is encircled and blessed. Not a dry eye in the office. In his own words, “I'm not entirely sure why we're all crying, except, I suppose for the fact that Bandit and his wife don't know anybody who has gone to college – except, I guess, me. Certainly no one in either one of their families. So we end the prayer and we laugh at how mushy we all just got. Wiping our tears, I turn to Carolina and ask, “So, what are you going to study at Humbolt?” She says, without missing a beat, “Forensic psychology.” Bandit chimes in, “Yeah, she wants to study the criminal mind.” after a few beats he says, “Yeah, I'm gonna be her first subject!” They walk out to the car together and as everyone piles in, Pastor G says to Bandit, “Can I tell you something, dog?” “I give you credit for the man you've chosen to become. I'm proud of you.” and Bandit answered, I'm proud of myself. All my life, people called me a lowlife, a bueno para nada. I guess I showed them.” I guess he did. And the soul feels its worth.

The message of Christmas remains as before, peace, love, and goodwill to all. This message of peace and love is timely for all ages and seasons. Without peace, there cannot be goodwill or love. Likewise, without love, there cannot be abiding peace. That love mentioned in the Bible is defined as loving your neighbor as well as yourself. Without this kind of compassionate love, there can be no harmony or peace that passes all understanding.

The poet Hafez wrote of this kinship in his poem With That Moon Language:“Admit something:Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me”Of course you do not do this out loud;Otherwise, someone would call the cops.Still though, think about this,This great pull in us to connect.Why not become the oneWho lives with a full moon in each eyeThat is always sayingWith that sweet moon languageWhat every other eye in this worldIs dying toHear.

We are tasked with being that one – who, like Jesus, sees in every human they encounter...a child of God. A person who is worthy of love. One clothed in God's goodness. And we have the opportunity to show them their worth. Help them to come to know the truth about themselves and like what they find there.

The second stanza of O Holy Night:Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,Now come the wise men from out of the Orient land.The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger;In all our trials born to be our friend …

A miracle of miracles. He was born to be our friend. He came down to Earth fully human. To connect to us on a whole new level. Christmas (the incarnation) is all about God disclosing to humankind what he is really like. The incarnation shows us what God is and what God’s priorities are … that is central to the Good News of Jesus Christ. John 1:14 says The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. Hebrews 1:3 says: The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being…

He chose willingly to come to Earth in such a humble way. Fully divine and yet fully human. The scripture from Luke that told of his pre-teen escapade in Jerusalem is one example of what a delicate balance it was – the divine vs. the human. God becoming flesh meant Jesus entered this debate as soon as he could (age 12 was often considered the age of adulthood in these cultures) and would redefine the interpretation of the Bible for his first disciples and generations of disciples to come. While Luke does not tell us the specifics of his questions and answers here, we get a good clue from his sermon at Nazareth: God is now bringing good news of deliverance especially to the poor, the enemy and the marginalized. And much like the poet who gave us O Holy Night, “He was considered by many to be less-than-worthy of such a task. Some considered him profane – others thought of him as a trouble maker at best. He was indeed a social radical; known for his opposition to things like injustice, inequality, and oppression. He tended to be out spoken.” I think that God is a big fan of irony.

The third verse begins:
Truly He taught us to love one another,His law is love and His gospel is peace.Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.And in his name all oppression shall cease.His law is love and His gospel is peace.Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.And in his name all oppression shall cease.His law is love and His gospel is peace.Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.And in his name all oppression shall cease.

Which brings us back to what Paul was saying to the church in Colossae: “Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. His law? Is love. His gospel? Peace. And if we keep these thoughts in the forefront of our lives, we'll be in tune with each other. Not just as church members or Christians, but as humans in our daily interactions with others. Let the Word of Christ have the run of the house. That word is love. We have the opportunity every day to show others that they have worth. That they are loved. Not when they pull their act together and behave the way we think they should... they are loved right now, just as they are. You are loved right now, just the way that you are. God loves you and wants you to know it with every fiber of your being. You concede “God loves us.” and yet there is this lurking sense that perhaps you aren't fully part of the “us.” The arms of God reach to embrace, and somehow you feel yourself just outside God's fingertips. You have no choice but to consider “God loves me,” yet you spend much of your life unable to shake off what feels like God only embracing you begrudgingly and reluctantly. “I suppose, if you insist, God has to love me too.” Experience the utter fullness of God. Completely know the One in whom “you move and live and have your being.” You will see then, that it has been God's JOY to love you all along. Then you won't be able to hold back. Then, as Paul wrote in Colossians: sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

One more story from Father Greg, “at 3 o'clock one morning, the phone rings. It's Cesar. He says what every homie says when they call in the middle of the night, “Did I wake you?” I always think, “why no, I was just waiting and hoping you'd call.” Cesar is sober and it's urgent he talk to me. “I gotta ask you a question. You know how I've always seen you as my father – ever since I was a little kid? Well, I hafta ask you a question.” Now Cesar pauses, and the gravity of it all makes his voice waver and crumble, “Have I...been...your son?” “oh hell yeah,” I say. “Whew,” Cesar exhales, “I thought so.” Now his voice becomes enmeshed in a cadence o
f gentle sobbing. “Then...I will be...your son. And you...will be my father. And nothing will separate us, right?” “That's right.” In this early morning call, Cesar did not discover he has a father, he discovered he was a son worth having.
And the soul feels its worth.

Thursday, December 25

Reflections on the past 24 hours

These are mental snapshots of the last 24 hours. What a wonderful Christmas!

Misty evening.

Candles in worship.

Time of quiet.

Beautiful niece sitting beside me. Helping (?) me run sound board. Giggles. Rumpled hair. Beautiful dress. Smiling. Always smiling.

Holy communion. Silent night.

Driving through fog.

Passing site of accident.

Arriving at the White house (their name is white - but it is as grand as The White House all decorated for Christmas). Rejoicing. Stocking stuffing.

Writing cards to family.

Getting sleepy...look at time...2am?

Morning early! Must finish cards....must finish cards...


Tater tot waffles. With cheddar. And chiffonade of proscuitto. Win.

Orange danish. With the bottoms cut off. Just like Mom used to make! :)

So much food. Cookies and sausage pinwheels and bacon pinwheels and sausage balls and ham and (whoo...we sure do seem to like our pork products...) oyster stew and fried oysters and monkey bread (with real monkey!) (just kidding). We had cheese ball and bacon wrapped little smokies and waffle quesadillas.

Wrapping paper.

Happy faces.

Boundless joy over 150 feet of bubble wrap. Aunt Chris gives the best gifts.

Patient Patrick and Saint Susan. Aunt Chris loves you!



Incredible noise.

Chatter. Interruptions and fractured conversations. Happy anyway.

Heavy thoughts.

Quiet determination.

Feeling helpless to assist. Praying anyway.

Family together.

Christmas was perfect this year.

Friday, October 24

Verified and ready for deployment

Tonight at Sager Brown was the traditional Thursday night vesper service. It is an opportunity to reflect on the week's mission and ministry - and a chance to worship together with our new friends. I was honored to be the worship leader for the service led by various members of all the teams here. This afternoon I finally succumbed to a cluster headache that has been lurking for a couple of days - the medication made me groggy and a long nap made me feel like my brain and body were disconnected. As I sat waiting for the service to begin, I wondered if I would be able to make it through. I was swatting mosquitos (the state bird of Louisiana) and staring into space - then Geraldine began playing the piano and people around me were humming along.

A peace swept over me and I felt my spirit lift. Suddenly the headache and its lingering effects faded into the background. The service began and it fed my soul. As the congregation sang the hymns, I felt renewed. The worship team led in scripture, prayer and song - and then the congregation had an opportunity to share stories of experiences that blessed them this week.

We heard how individuals served by cleaning seniors' apartments and were blessed to hear about their lives. We heard how touched volunteers were by interactions with residents at the food distribution. One man told how people's faces lit up when they got to see the UMCOR Depot materials manager Freddie and hear his hearty greeting. Freddie is a big guy with a heart to match. Whether he is riding around on his forklift moving materials or stopping to give fellow staff member Rolanda a good natured ribbing - you can feel the love oozing out of every pore. Freddie is someone you just want to wrap up and ship home with you. But you'd need a big crate.

As the vesper service entered the sacred time of celebrating the Lord's Supper - the congregation sang a hymn that is fairly new (anything past 1970 is considered new in the Methodist church!) - One Bread, One Body. The lyrics to the refrain are "One Bread, One Body. One Lord of All. One Cup of Blessing which we bless. And we, though many, throughout the Earth. We are one body in this one Lord." That pretty much sums up the whole experience.

We join together - as different parts of the same body. Some of us are toes, some are hands, some are ears and others are feet. God takes all the parts and joins them together. We have come together and as this one body - we can accomplish great things.

After the service, a lot of hugging happened. And people exchanged phone numbers and emails and promises to find each other on Facebook. We don't want to lose the connections that we have formed. It will be hard to say goodbye (or just "see you later") but in our hearts we know that we will all still be a part of the same body.

United Methodists are part of a connectional ministry - each individual church contributes in some way to the whole. Some is through monetary apportionments (literally A Portion Meant - for others) and one way is through the connected ministry of UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief). This depot/warehouse contains kits created by United Methodist congregations all across the country. They merge together here in tiny little Baldwin, Louisiana for review and verification. Then they are scattered back out to the world.

We are much like those kits - we were sent from our congregations, supported by friends and family to come here to Baldwin where we have been tested and made ready to go back out into the world. Are we ready for deployment like the kits you see here? I sure hope so. I know I'm a little more ready than I was a week ago. When kits are deployed, the container is blessed by the volunteers working in the depot at that time...tonight's vesper service does much the same thing. And I pray that we will be a blessing to all those we encounter as we continue our work as the body of Christ.

Thursday, October 23

Entertaining Angels Unaware

Tonight's team devotions focused on strangers. And there are no stranger people than the ones I'm traveling with (**rimshot**). No seriously...

Karen asked us to remember back to when we went to summer camp or something like that - to recall that feeling of anxiety and feeling out of place and uncertain. Then she asked if we still felt like that after a couple of days at camp. Everyone agreed that we met new friends and by the end of the week we didn't feel anxious anymore - we just felt sad that we would be separated from our new friends. Then she asked if we had a similar feeling when we arrived at Sager Brown - I know that I certainly did, and this is my third trip here!

Dorothy and Sherri
But within a day, I had met all kinds of great people that I want to know for the rest of my life. I think about Pastor David who has a sense of humor that is dry, a smile that is quick and a passion for serving others. Then I think about Melissa from Tyler, Texas who has the warmest spirit. She leads missions for her church and has given me new and exciting ideas to share with our missions committee back home. And the wonderful lady who has joined our group verifying health kits - we love Dorothy so much that when we were asked for a name for our dinner ticket tonight, Gordon and Sherri gave the name Dorothy. :)

Others in our group shared stories of "strangers" they have come to know. Jack, the spry 91 year old who worked tirelessly distributing food to seniors today...and in the process inspired even harder work by members of our team. Cathy the RN who has doctored members of every group including two of our team...her love of caring for others benefits all those around her. (she's also a hoot - dancing for sweet potato pancake day and laughing when I said that snowy egret tastes like chicken).

Mom and Melissa working (?)
Still more stories were shared about meeting strangers and being blessed by that exchange. Garland, Renee and Carole encountered a Baldwin resident who welcomed them to sit on the front porch and hear stories - they enjoyed the time as much a the lady did. When the seniors were picking up their food, Belva's favorite part of the distribution was the opportunity to chat with the people being served. Carl (aka Dad) has spent the week working on houses in the community. One young man whose house was being repaired is a paraplegic - his damaged roof caused ceiling damage and now that the roof has been repaired the Sager Brown outreach ministry worked to repair the ceiling. Another project involved stabilizing a porch that was in danger of collapse. A few man hours and some support posts later, a life was made a bit better.

Sometimes we think that in order to change the world we have to do something huge and sweeping: cure cancer, donate a wing for a hospital, write symphonies or design cathedrals. The fact is: the little sparks make the real difference. Some suggestions from the team during devotions tonight included:

- tell someone they look nice today
- tell the drive thru worker they have a great voice, or tell them you don't know how they keep it all straight during the rush hour (let them know they are doing a good job...)
- look someone in the eye and say "good morning" as you walk your dog
- compliment a coworker
- learn your server's name and use it when you say "thank you" (you'd be surprised how many people they wait on that don't even look up)
- send a personal note (or email, or Facebook message, or tweet...if you are a twitterer) that says to another human being "I appreciate the person that you are."

Because in doing this, we spread love. And isn't that the point? You don't know what an impact that may make on someone's day...or even their life.