Buyer Beware

I’m not sure I can really put into words the experiences we’ve had these past few days. I will have to edit out the profanity before I hit the “publish” tab.

The picture attached to my blog today is one of my refrigerator, a Sears Kenmore Elite, purchased when we bought our home in March of 2016.

This lovely appliance stopped working last Sunday.  As of today, three days later, we still do not have a refrigerator. Needless to say, most of the food is questionable. We pushed most of it into coolers, but, I had not anticipated this length of time without a real refrigerator.

Our calls for service began at 0630 Monday morning. The local Sears store does not handle any service issues. All calls go through the national call center. That name is a misnomer. It should be called an international call center. But, we did reach a real person. She told us the soonest she could get someone out to fix our 17-month-old refrigerator was August 18th.

That was not acceptable to us. After a few more words emphasizing that fact, she told us that Sears does use third party service people and she could connect us with that person to see if they could come out earlier. She connected us to R&R appliance repair.

We talked with someone from that company who said they would be to our house Tuesday between noon and 2 p.m. Okay. I could make it work for that long with coolers.

Tuesday arrived. The service person arrived at 4 p.m. After a short inspection, he told us that the compressor was gone. Not good news. The news got worse. No, he did not have a compressor with him to fix it nor could he fix it. That job was too complicated and difficult for his company. We would need to call Sears again, give them that information, and reschedule service.

Let me attempt to tell you how the past two days of calls to Sears Service Line have gone:

The usual phone tree greets you and you are directed to a person. It has been our experience that the person speaking to you is either in Asia or The Philippines. We told them we had called for service yesterday and Sears connected us with R&R appliance service. That service technician came to our house yesterday and told us that the compressor needed to be replaced. The technician said that his company was not qualified to replace a compressor. Okay. We expected our earlier service call would put us into another queue and we’d move up on the scheduling ladder. We waited and waited only to be told that it would be two more weeks for service.

Again, not acceptable. Please connect us to a supervisor–in the United States, please. We waited. Waited. We spoke with a supervisor who told us that they were glad to help us because Sears does contract with third party service companies and he would give us the number for R& R.

No! We have had them here and they said they are not qualified to make this level of repair.

Can we please talk with your supervisor. We waited to talk with that person. We waited longer. A new person–maybe someone who just happened to be walking by–who knows at this point? This person told us they could help us and would connect us to the company qualified to replace a compressor. Before we could ask for the number in case we were disconnected, he was gone. We thought, great, finally, we were being connected…

We waited. We waited.

That call was dropped and a person by the name he gave us, was never found.

This conversation, nearly word for word, was repeated at least FIVE times over the past two days. Each call session lasted at least 30 minutes. There were times when we both had to call a time out, surrendering the phone before we both had some sort of vascular accident.

I won’t share all of the conversations we had with them today–it’s mostly the same exact thing except–this is good–the person coming for the next service call–in two weeks–will also be doing a diagnostic check on our unit. And the cost for that inspection was our responsibility as well as any labor cost for the work done. We demanded to know why we had to pay for another inspection. The reason, coming from another different supervisor, is because before they replace a compressor they want a new evaluation. Frankly, they don’t trust that first opinion–from a company they told us had been trained and approved by Sears.

It goes on and on and on…

Waving the white flag, we worked on some way to make this work. We had been talking about getting a backup refrigerator, so this was the time to do that. This would give us a refrigerator while we waited for our nearly new one to be fixed–if that fix is even possible.

Here is the lesson I have to share today:

Education and having the opportunity to learn is always wonderful. I have to say, we have certainly been in the front row for this one! Roni, our great and knowledgeable sales person at Home Depot, told us that because of how complicated the LG and Samsung appliances are made, very few people have the training needed to service them. Something we learned earlier in the week, a Kenmore Elite is made by LG. Roni stressed to us that until more service people are trained on these appliances, getting them serviced will continue to be an issue.

That information explains why we have such a long wait for service. It is certainly information I wish I had when we were deciding what appliances to buy. The initial  ratings of refrigerators are misleading because the major vendors are ranked pretty close together UNTIL you get to serviceability. It is the ease of service that drops many of the units we were considering.

Oh, Ellen and Fred Morris, I sure wish People’s Appliance was still just a few miles away from us!

So, buyer beware. Take your time and ask a lot of questions. Read the ratings further than the first few lines and pay attention to the customer reviews. They are often very insightful.

Okay, class is over.

It is past time for that glass of wine.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you guys!

Peace

 

Home Perms

Every day, I am surprised by the memories that come to me by way of pictures.

Today, my share and tell revolves around my favorite school picture.

Yes, dear Kathy, this is my example of the infamous home perm.

This picture was taken after my very first perm–an event I begged for every day for weeks. My mom’s criteria never changed: my hair had to be long enough to wrap around her index finger.

Every day, at least once, I’d ask her to check. Finally, the day arrived–my hair passed her inspection!

I was ready.

Mom told me that there were a lot of steps to the process, sitting still was a very important part of each step. My memory of this summer afternoon is a clear one: I am sitting on a kitchen chair with my hands tucked under me in an effort to stay still. This being still stuff was very hard for me. I was a nervous little kid–biting my nails, swinging my legs, all while using my hands in an effort to ensure whatever I was saying was clearly understood.

Yes, it’s obvious, my mother was a saint.

She waited me out, reminding me to sit still while wrapping and rewrapping the rods until every hair was secured. With this done, we headed to the sink, where I laid back as she poured strong smelling perm solution over each and every rod. When each rod was saturated, she placed a shower cap on my head and directed me back to my chair.

We waited…for what seemed like hours.

With my hair neatly arranged in rows of colored rods, the solution had a straight shot down each and every row. I can still feel that solution as it made its way toward my eyes, into my ears, and down the back of my neck.

I was miserable but I did not complain–much.

I was going to have curls.

This “curing” time was when home perms got tricky. Too much time and the hair would be really frizzy. Too little time, not much curl.

We needed it to be just right.

When time was up, it was back to the sink where the solution was rinsed off–another solution applied to stop the curling action, and those pesky rods removed. Who knew something so simple could feel so wonderful?

I remember Mom calling this first perm the test run. She said it was good we did it when we did because there was time for my hair to relax some before picture day.

I remember thinking I looked so good.

I was very happy–my face says it all.

I felt that my mom and I had done a good job. I was proud of us.

I feel the same today.

Miss you, Mom.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love you.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Survivor

I found my first grade student ID card.

When you read that, it sounds like I had been looking for it. Honestly, I am not sure I knew that I had one. Magically, miraculously, this card and several other small items, survived human and natural disasters along with multiple long distance moves by secreting themselves inside the back of a picture frame. What a treat!

It was seeing the dress in this picture that created a flood of memories. My sisters and I all had dresses like this–bright white with wide navy blue stripes. It was one of the few dresses that my Mom did not make herself. On this day, first grade picture day, my dress was about to get its very own unique makeover.

Our class had pictures taken after lunch–unfortunate timing because this day was also spaghetti lunch day! I loved spaghetti lunch day! I had been very careful eating. I did not want to get anything on the front of my dress. I even stopped early because I did not want to increase the odds of any mistakes. The down side to that was the fact I had a lot of left-over spaghetti with sauce on my plate.

It was time to take my tray back. I had to pay attention, so I was concentrating hard, totally focused as I walked slowly across the lunch room to the window where we left our dirty trays.

I was watching the position of my plate on that big tray, patiently waiting in line. It was almost my turn. I was nearly at the window. I did not see the very tall, quick-moving boy in front of me as he turned–bam! I was moving backwards as my tray and plate smashed into the front of my dress.

Oh no…

I was frozen in place.

I began to cry.

One of the ladies from the kitchen saw what had happened and came to my rescue. What a sight I must have been–by then I was sobbing–worried about getting my picture taken and scared that I had ruined my dress. What was my mom going to say?

It will be okay, she said, bending down close and giving my shaking shoulders a quick squeeze. She was there and she would help.

Together we pulled off the drying noodles, wiped, scrubbed, and dabbed away at the mushy, spreading red stain.

The photographer said I was lucky. He could position the picture so most of the stain would not be obvious in the picture. Looks to me like he was able to do that. The interesting thing about finding these treasures of the past is the hindsight they provide.  At that time I had no way of knowing what a harbinger of the future this was–that almost every school picture of my life would have a story to tell and an adventure–or misadventure to share.

This was the only one with sauce, though.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, Y’all.

 

 

 

 

You Are Important

It’s Friday.

Even being part of the retired work force, it is still good to be looking into the beginning of the weekend.

Friday has become book review day. I have two books to talk about today–one very old, one new.

The first, the old one, is a little paperback that has been in my stack of very important things since I was young. You are Important, by Roy L. Smith, copyright, 1952. This book sat on my Mom’s bedside table while she battled her cancer–I suspect it had been part of her reading material for some time before that.

This is one of the few things I have of my Mom’s. The fact that I still have it is another miracle to me. It survived a lot of things over the years–long distance moves being the least of them.

Every now and then, I’d wonder why she had this book?

Did she not feel important?

I’ve tried to read it many times. It is not an easy assignment. The phrasing is wordy and cumbersome. The prayers are filled with words like thee, thou, didst,  and hadst.

Now, because I search for answers to questions I have about my life, what the author says is secondary to me. What has become important–what makes each dive into this book so intriguing and almost mysterious–are the passages highlighted by Mom.

One of the first highlighted passages is this one from Lessons on You, Lesson 6, titled, You are Not Peculiar:

The grief of a young mother is always very touching. Any grief is, for that matter. And we always do all in our power to soften the blows. But there are some disasters in this life which cannot be avoided, and there are some blows which cannot be softened. They come sooner or later to each of us. 

I have no way of knowing when she read and noted these words. My heart tells me she was searching for comfort after losing her newborn son and was grieving.

Each chapter ends with a short prayer. I’ve read the prayer at the end of this chapter several times over the years. I have yet to find much comfort in the words.

I wasn’t going to share it because it really bothered me. Then, I thought, if I was reading this I would want to see what I’d judged so critically. Here is that prayer:

Here is that prayer:

Lord Jesus, I am ashamed of the way I have rebelled against thee in the hour of my distress, thinking that thou hadst singled me out for unjust treatment. As I catch a glimpse of thee upon thy cross, which thou didst not deserve, I confess that many of the blows which have fallen upon me have been no more than my just deserts. Forgive me this day for whining.

The next book is one I just started and it seems to be almost the counterbalance for the very old book I just discussed.

Option B, written by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. This book is the work Sheryl and Adam did together after the sudden death of Sheryl’s husband, Dave.

What is makes this book stand out for me is the fact it addresses death and grieving by someone who just went through the experience. It addresses something we will all go through over the course of our lives–we will all lose someone we love. Regardless of who we are or what we do, there is no avoiding that.

It was comforting to me to know others struggle with grief as much as I.  It was helpful to read that Sheryl also struggled with the everyday stuff after her loss. To read how people avoided her because they did not know what to say to her or if they did say something, how unhelpful their words were to her. It’s another book that is taking me a long time to read. I am learning so much from all experiences and stories she shares.

I am..

B…simply being…

My wishes to you all for a very happy and safe weekend.

Stay aware and kind.

Love and peace, Y’all.

 

Journaling

I’ve kept journals for most of the past 35 years. In fact, it was my writing that enabled me to keep my job when it had become obvious to me, and everyone else, that one of the physicians I worked with had one goal in mind when she joined our department. Her goal was to get rid of me in any way she could find. Her methods were…let’s say…brutally effective.

I refused to allow that to happen. I loved my job and I was good at what I did. I did not fully understand when our battle began how correct she was with some of her objections about my work. Somehow I was able to look beyond my fear and see the valuable lessons hidden in her threats. With a lot of introspection through writing, I began to see my way through each day and successfully navigate the constantly changing mine fields.

I was up every work day writing in my black spiral notebook for at least 45 minutes. I would let my pencil flow freely across the pages. No censoring. No editing. No fixing poor penmanship. Every written word freed more of my mind. My worries and insecurities were literally spelled out and dismissed each day before I even began my drive downtown. The last three sentences at the end of each day’s pages were the same:

I am.

I am.

I am.

My first day’s entry in that series of journals was this conversation with myself:

I will learn quickly and completely growing into one of the best rounded sonographers in our lab. I will stay strong and kind. I will hear this physician ask me to stay when I give my final notice.

I won.

Time passed. I forgot about the power of words.

Then I began this blog.

Every day as I write, I re-discover the power of words–my words. With each memory nurtured and tended, my stories become clearer and grow.

My soul, patiently waiting, celebrates.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, Y’all.

 

Some Lessons from the Road

Today was a travel day. I’ve had things to get to all over our little area. The problem with all that is I cannot write while I drive. The good part of it is, I had lots of time to think so now I have very different things to write about today.

This morning Michael and I went to our water aerobics class. I cannot endorse this type of exercise strongly enough. For my friends who are working sonographers, find a class and then find a way to really go to it. My back, neck, and shoulders feel the best they have felt in a very long time. I am amazed at how much better we both feel from this type of exercise.

As we drove to our class, we narrowly avoided a serious accident. It’s summer and motorcycles are everywhere. Being a strong advocate for the motorcyclist, I always stress how important it is for drivers to stay very aware when there is a motorcycle in the mix of traffic flow. This morning, it was the motorcycle rider who did not see a truck that must have been in his blind spot. Because bikes are so quick to respond, this rider was well into the other lane before he realized there was a truck already there. The truck driver was paying attention which was why a disaster was avoided. Had the truck driver been distracted or responded more slowly, I doubt whether we all could have stopped quickly enough to avoid hitting each other or the rider.  Please, as the summer progresses and more of us travel, be alert to what’s going on around you and stay back.

Lastly, let’s all think about the people in our lives. Over the past few months, several friends have lost family members or friends suddenly or after a very short illness. Our world and our lives are swamped with so much stress and negativity. Take a minute to check in with each other and let those you love know that you love them. It takes only a minute. Do this one thing, make that one quick call or send that note instead of doing the usual, thinking you should do it. This one thing may be the best memory you’ll  have for this day. Please, do not let not doing it be one of your biggest regrets.

I have not shared anything from A Guide for the Advanced Soul lately. Here is what I found for us today:

Every time we say “I must do something” it takes an incredible amount of energy. Far more than physically doing it.   Gita Bellin

Isn’t that interesting…

I am…

B…simply being…

I send you all love and prayers for peace.

 

Ronnie​

When I was young, a large part of my summer was spent at my grandparents. Knowing that was one of the best parts of the last day of school–I began counting down the days until I would be in little kid heaven.

I’m not sure who was more excited, my Grandma, my cousin Donna, or me? My Grandpa was working most of the time as a janitor/handyman for the owners of their apartment building which left my Grandma alone a lot of the time. Even though Donna was living with my grandparents full-time, she was not around much. She was working full-time at Woolworth’s as a waitress so she could save money for her late summer wedding.

The only person who was NOT excited about my being there was Donna’s fiance, Ronnie. Because I was there for a short amount of time, Donna’s goal was to see me as much as possible and keep me happy.

These goals did not bid well for Ronnie.

In order to keep some peace with her soon to be husband, Donna and I planned out our time carefully. Before she left for work, we would decide what time I would come to Woolworth’s and share fries and a coke. This summer was the first time I had ever had fries and a coke. I was feeling so very grown up–like a teenager, for sure.  After dinner, she’d promised, I could go with her and Ronnie for ice cream.

How could any kid be unhappy with those plans?

One of the neatest things about my grandparent’s apartment building was the fact it had a fire escape. Not only was it super cool looking, in a kinda creepy way, but people used it. Up and down the back of the red brick building, the jointed black staircase was broken into porches, little gardens with flower pots, and clothes lines.  This stairway was also very functional.  It connected the people in that building to a very busy back alley.

It was this alley Ronnie used as his personal driveway. Every evening he would pull up and honk for Donna to come join him. His chivalry was the point of many arguments between my cousin and my grandparents–an argument she rushed to avoid the last evening of my visit, by quickly jumping onto the window sill and out to the landing.

Try as I might, I was much slower than she–a point, I’m sure, only endeared me more to Ronnie.  His honks grew in length and in number–an action which only increased my anxiety about being on a mass of iron suspended off the side of this very tall building. As I dashed downward, I began to smell the rust and oil of the iron railings coming off onto my sweaty hands, I heard louder squeaks and moans from each landing and sets of steps as I ran across and down them, and, with an odd sense of relief, I felt the generalized sway of the entire structure as it seemed to push me off and onto the alley below.

I’d made it.

Tonight Ronnie had his new car–a red and white convertible–the top was down. I scrambled in as he stepped on the gas and we raced, music blaring, down the alley and out to get my ice cream. It was my last night and we were celebrating!

Some of us much more than others.

My order for the night–a LARGE cone–make it a twist, please.

We all should have seen it coming.

It was summer. It was hot. The top was down and we were driving because Ronnie was tired of waiting for me. I was a kid with a large, melting, ice cream cone. I was sitting in the front seat–between them, naturally, when they pulled up to drop me off.

I knew I had used up all of Ronnie’s patience. I was going fast to get out of the car–the brand new car. Before anyone could offer to help me, I sat my still very large, now melting more ice cream cone, on the dash–over the speaker–

In slow motion, that large melting mass of ice cream toppled over–the mound of ice cream oozed onto and into the speaker, down the dash, over the radio, and drizzled onto the floor.

Crickets–all around me–I heard crickets.

As I was running, I heard Donna say something like…it’s her last night….

I did not have time to worry about anything as I escaped upward.

As you can see by the photo, the wedding did take place….without any help from me.

I am…(now hungry for ice cream)

B…simply being…

Love and peace, Y’all.

 

 

 

 

 

Donna Dee

I loved my cousin, Donna Dee. Not sure why, but I am missing her today.

She was ten years older than I and I knew she was the coolest person on the planet. She told me things no one else would and she always had stories about my mom. She’d often tell me that the two of us were very special; just like my mom and her, she and I were ten years apart in age.

Donna was the daughter of my mom’s oldest sister, Charlotte. That’s the two of them in the picture I’ve posted today. Donna lived with my Grandma most of the time when she was growing up. Because of that, she spent a lot of time with my mom before my mom married my dad. For me, going to Gram’s was the best place on earth. It was the place where I felt the most special and the place I got to be around my three favorite people, my Grandpa, my Gram, and my cousin, Donna.

Donna taught me all the things every little girl needed to know. Some things, I’m pretty sure my mom wished she’d waited a little longer to show me. She had so much wonderful big girl stuff. She taught me how to roll my hair in those painful brush rollers and gave me hints on how to get those little pink pic things to really hold the rollers tightly to your head. I learned how to “tease” my hair and fell in love with the smell of hair spray. She showed me how to use lipstick, telling me how important it was to blot–that final blot was what helped the color last so it wouldn’t smear when you kissed your boyfriend. That always made me giggle–me–a boyfriend.

I loved having all those kiss marked kleenexes around us as we talked. Almost as much as I loved being with Donna–the one person who always knew how to make me feel like I was cool, too.

There was only one time when she did not share. I’d found a little bar of square chocolates on her dresser. To my kid eyes, they looked like someone had shrunk a Hershey bar. See what I mean, she really had super neat things! I asked in all the ways I could think of–please, please, please, could I have just one piece. She would NOT share. Well, I said to my young self, I’ll just wait until she leaves. I’ll only take a couple–she’ll never miss them.

She did miss them.

She never told on us kids–she did this time. Man, I thought, this must have been some really special stuff. First, she wouldn’t share and now she told on me–I mean–us.

My Dad came over to my sisters and me, asking us who had taken Donna’s chocolates? Not me, I said. I was feeling very put out because she did not share. PLUS, they tasted terrible. I’d thrown a lot of it in the trash.  So, really, since I’d thrown it way had I really taken them?

His look focused on me for a few more seconds–I was thinking, rationalizing it all in my head. I stood my ground.

“Okay,” he said, shaking his head and chuckling, “The truth will come out soon enough.”

Very early that morning, the truth indeed came screaming out as one stubborn little kid barely made it the bathroom. Man, I thought, that must have been some seriously bad chocolate! It was then they told me I had eaten EX-Lax, medicine, not candy. Geez Louise, no wonder it tasted so bad.

Oh, the lessons we learn. It was a very very long time before I asked anyone for chocolate.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, Y’all.

 

 

Musical Memories

It’s Friday. I may be retired, but being retired does not take the “specialness” away from Fridays.

Friday is one of our water aerobic days. I love being able to exercise again without feeling like I am destroying my body. Today was special because of some of the music.

I’m always surprised by the emotions music can stir–even while working to get your heart rate up and stay somewhat coordinated–a feat that often eludes me.

Today, one of the first songs spurring me on was, “I’m Henry the Eighth I am”, the original one, by Herman’s Hermits. Oh, my heavens. I don’t think I have heard that song for decades.  As I listened, I was transported back to 8th grade. I could see all my former North Tama classmates climbing onto the buses which would take us to the school house in Dinsdale, Iowa, the site for our junior high. The trip was a fairly short and one we made regardless of the weather.

We would often sing as we rode down Highway 63. At least that is what I remember–the singing, talking and planning for the day ahead. As I thought about this, I couldn’t help but wonder how different that whole experience would have been if we were taking that same ride today. Would we even be talking to each other? Or would we all be in our own little spaces looking at our cell phones?

The other song that made me smile played shortly after that. As it began, I recognized it right away. I wanted to run over and turn it up. “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang. As this played out over the pool I saw an entirely different time in my life. I had “grown up” but I still had a lot of growing up to do. I had a precious group of friends who were also mostly co-workers. I was and am very lucky. This is something else that does not happen in today’s world. We worked and partied hard. Whenever we were together, this song playing often. As it played I would often declare it to be the song playing if I ever got married again.

Two very different songs that helped me remember two very special times in my life. I am grateful.

Because it’s Friday I am sharing my latest book. Setting Free The Kites, by Alex George.  It’s a story of two teenage boys, Robert Carter and Nathan Tilly. They meet on their first day of school in 1976. Their friendship is formed quickly by two tragic events.

What made this book important to me was one of the story lines. Robert’s brother, Liam, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Working in medical imaging, I had several patients over the years with muscular dystrophy. Reading about Liam, his bravery as he battled his disease, and the effects it had on his family was well done, enlightening, and heartbreaking.

Because the book impressed me, I want to share some snippets. With the nature of Liam’s disease, I don’t feel that I’m giving anything away.

Oh, Liam,” she whispered. “You were the best boy there ever was.” She kissed his cheek, breathing him in, baptizing him with her tears. But no matter how tightly she squeezed, how fiercely she clung, she could not hold on to him. 

Some time after that, we stumbled out into the rest of our lives. 

…On the window shelf was a half-drunk bottle of Gatorade and a paperback of The Great Gatsby…He had only made it halfway through. I wondered whether he had given up on it or if he’d been planning to finish it when he returned home from the hospital. 

There were unfinished stores everywhere.

For me, the book was perfect because I have been doing so much reflecting on my own childhood. The book is serious but also very funny and always entertaining. The characters in this book reminded me of many people from my own childhood. Grab it and travel back to the 70’s.

I am…

B…simply being…

Have a safe and restful weekend.

Love and peace, Y’all.

 

The Gentle Touch of God

I have never doubted the existence of God nor have ever questioned His sense of humor.

Let me share one of my stories that support my belief.

The summer before my senior year in high school, my friend, Laura, asked if I could take over a week of in home babysitting so she could go on vacation. I was beyond thrilled. The family lived in Iowa City but would come get me when they brought Laura home. The catch? Convincing my parents.  The only way this would ever happen was to pray for a miracle. That was no exaggeration.

I prayed and, to my surprise, God granted the miracle.

Norma, the mom, picked me up and I was on my way to Iowa City for a week. The best part was there were two days at the end of the week when Laura and I would be at the same time.

The first night we were together we decided to go out and explore the neighborhood. As we walked, we discovered a Goodwill box that was crammed full of clothes. It was too tempting to pass up. We crawled inside and started trying on clothes–it was like having our very own fully stocked dressing room. We found everything we needed. We could not wait to show Norma at breakfast the next day.

She was not pleased. In fact, she told us in no uncertain terms that we were thieves. Not only were we thieves, but we had stolen from GOODWILL. She was so angry with us. She was so deeply disappointed in us. We needed to take it all back immediately. She told us we should be ashamed of ourselves.

We were ashamed. Very ashamed.

Sobbing, we gathered up all our treasures and headed back to the donation box. On our way back we walked past the Catholic Church. I was still very upset so I asked Laura if she minded stopping.

We walked up the few steps and through the front doors. The air was cool and the wide open floor plan of the church was dark and comforting. As our eyes adjusted to the dim light, we found our way to the altar. Sitting close together, we talked to each other and to God. The tears started again as we told Him we had not meant to do anything wrong. For whatever reason, we did not see what we had done was stealing. In all honesty, we explained, we felt the two of us needed those clothes as much as anyone else did. We were sorry and asked for forgiveness. But most of all, we cried, could he please help Norma find a way to forgive us, too?

Time passed. We talked. We prayed. Slowly we noticed that the air in the church felt warmer, the silence less pressing. Smiling, tears drying, we shared an emotional hug. Turning to leave, a ray of sunshine topped the trees and illuminated the large stained glass window over the entryway of the church. As that beam of light angled towards us, a gust of wind caught the heavy front doors, slamming them open.

Holy Cow.

We each jumped off the altar, down the aisle, and out the door! We did not stop running until we were about a block from the church.

At the time, we did not know what had happened. Had God visited us in the church in Iowa City?

My heart says yes and my heart is so blessed by the memory.

I am…

B…simply being…

Peace