Saturday, May 14, 2011

Who Has Your Back?

I was incredibly blessed with not just one but two grace notes this week. Just in case you're not aware, that's the phrase I coined in my book, Mom NEEDS Chocolate, for the special little touches from God ... His fingerprints on our lives.

Yep, they were amazing grace notes all right, because they showed me exactly Who was orchestrating the everyday events of my life. The little things that seem like coincidences at first glance. The occurrences that may not seem important or earth-shaking at the time, but that end up making up the real stuff of life.

Grace note #1 crept up on Wednesday, the day I arbitrarily chose to drive over to Sarasota to:
a) Pick up my books that had been consigned to a particular bookstore
b) Stop by and meet the new manager of a different bookstore
c) Get together with a dear friend I don't get to see very often for lattes

As I walked into the (a) bookstore, I was surprised to see a radio booth set up beneath a sign, "The Authors Connection." An author interview was being taped at that very moment. As the bookstore manager was checking me out (my books, not my bod!), the producer of the web radio show heard by 10 million listeners in 142 countries walked over to where I stood with my stack of titles and said,

"Oh, my goodness, are you an author?"

"Um, yep," I answered like the brilliant wordsmith I am.

To which she replied, "Wow - I can't believe our luck! We only come here one afternoon a month to schedule back-to-back half-hour author interviews for our show; but we have an unexpected opening at 3:30. (It was 2:30 at the time). I was just trying to figure out what to do. Could you possibly wait around?"

Gulp. Could I? Are you kidding me? Where do I sign up?

Outwardly I paused, pretending to consider. Stay calm, cool, collected. Try not to cheer. "Well, I suppose so," I acquiesced, then turned around and secretly pumped my fist.

The interview was a blast; the balding, dignified man who interviewed me about my upcoming women's book Too Blessed to Be Stressed: Inspiration for Climbing Out of Life's Stress-Pool turned out to be a girlfriend in disguise and fed off my offbeat chic chat flawlessly with wit and finesse. Our chemistry was great. About halfway through, the producer signaled for the interviewer to keep going, so we ended up taping a full hour. It will air June 21 from 11 am - noon on

Now for grace note #2.

On Friday I left for a hand therapy conference in Orlando, where therapists and orthopedic surgeons from all over Florida gather once yearly to learn about new procedures and catch up with old friends. Well, although there were many colleagues with whom I enjoyed reconnecting, there was one particular therapist I did NOT want to see.

Karen (name changed for privacy) and I had a falling out almost two years ago. We had a history of being co-workers and friendly acquaintances for twenty years at that point, but I was wounded by a series of actions on Karen's part and felt justified in cutting off all communication with her when I left my position for a new job.

This was the first time we had been under the same roof in all that time. I noticed her sitting on the opposite side of the large meeting room and when we chanced to pass in the hallway, we both averted our eyes.

Friday night in my comfy hotel bed, I felt duly convicted and argued with Papa God about the injustice of the situation. I was the one who had been wronged! Why did I have to chew my pride like tough gristle and be the one to gather the hammer and nails to build a bridge?

But I knew what I had to do.

All morning Saturday, I looked for a chance to speak privately to Karen, but there was no opportunity. During one of the last presentations of the conference, I snuck from the meeting room to check out and take my suitcase to my car. On my way, I shot up a little "I-tried-but-it-didn't-pan-out" prayer and added, "Lord, if you want me to say something to Karen, you're going to have to make it happen."

Two minutes later, while I was en route from the parking lot back into the building, wouldn't you know who was standing just outside the door -  all alone - checking her phone messages?

I nearly cried right then and there, not because I was able to finally set things right with Karen, but because it was undeniably apparent that my Papa God does indeed care about the details of my life.

And yours.

What a huge relief to know Who has our backs!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hoof Prints Across my Heart

Ahh. I just adore the peace and rest I always find in my favorite getaway on earth ... our little cabin nestled deep in the bosom of the Smoky Mountains.

There are just so many footprints of the Almighty everywhere I look: layer upon layer of purple, hazy mountain peaks, crystal clear streams gushing and gurgling happily down their rocky creek beds, tee-tiny titmice warbling, hummers humming and chipmunks scurrying to and fro doing whatever it is chipmunks do.

And deer almost sending our car off a sheer cliff.

No kidding.

As we drove the 20 miles down the winding, twisty mountain road just last Sunday morning to a church on the other side of our mountain, my husband Chuck and I unexpectedly came face to face with eternity.

We were cruising along, tapping our toes and singing along with 70s music by the likes of Elton John and Norman Greenbaum. Good stuff, that. Easy to forget your worries and lose yourself in the groovy beat.

Just as we rounded a curve, a large deer bounded out of the woods bordering the narrow, two-lane road and stepped out onto the pavement directly in front of our car. Unable to stop that suddenly, the only response left to Chuck was to swerve into the other lane. But that option was not an option at all, for although we hadn't seen another vehicle all morning, wouldn't you know a car was rapidly approaching from the opposite direction.

Miraculously (and I use that term intentionally), the animal paused, turning his head first left, at us, and then right at the approaching car. Then, as if making a calculated decision, he spun around and fled back from whence he came, his white-tailed haunches disappearing  into the dense brush of the virgin forest.

This all happened within the span of about three seconds. Like hoof prints across my heart.

The pinched, white face of the other driver as he passed confirmed what we already knew: any alternative move on the part of the deer would have likely sent one or both of our cars careening down the side of the cliff yawning rail-less on the other side of the road.


Good-bye Yellow Brick Road.
Hello Spirit in the Sky.

But as my granddaddy would say, it just wasn't our time. We continued on to church - a little more trembly and a lot more aware of the fragility of life. It could all be over in the flash of an antler.

It was a major grace note - my term for God's little everyday miracles that prove He's got our backs. That all the details of our lives matter to Him. That Psalms 121:7 is not an idle promise: The Lord will keep you from all harm - he will watch over your life (NIV).

And if He's on our side, honestly, who can be against us? Not even Bambi.