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A Red Kettle Day

Eyes wide with excitement Gracie dashed from the living room window and threw open the front door to greet me.

"Are you ready to go, Sweetie?" I said to my six-year-old granddaughter.

She clapped her hands. "Yes, Grandma. What took you so long? I've been waiting all day." Not pausing for an answer, she tapped one of her glittery ballet flats on the hardwood floor, then twirled in a pirouette while her pleated red skirt flared. "See my dress and new shoes, Grandma."

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Essential Ingredients

"Please, Mom? Can I make the pie, please?"

Nine-year-old Ben's request caused me to hesitate. Money was tight with my husband Loren laid-off work, and groceries often in short supply. But seeing the excited expression on Ben's face and hope in his eyes, I handed him the bag of frozen pie cherries. "Do you need any help?"

He pulled the yellow mixing bowl from the cupboard. "No, I got this, Mom."

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A Heart Restored

The front door banged open. Breathless, my two youngest children, Joe and Bethany rushed in. "Mom. Mom. Ben's in trouble. Come quick." I plunked down my tea cup and grabbed my purse. Houses flashed by as we drove several blocks. Bethany pointed to a grassy lot off Main Street. "He's over there." The car lurched to a stop. I leaped out and rocketed toward a jeering mob of high-school kids.

A blonde-haired sixteen-year-old boy jumped in front of me. Inches from my face, he launched into a slew of profanity. Two kids darted from the scene. A red pickup peeled onto the grass. The driver yelled, "Come on. We gotta get out of here." Amidst a squeal of tires he roared off.

I dodged through a crowd of a dozen or more kids running away, until I spotted my fourteen-year-old son. Ben lay motionless on the ground ... Read more

Never Beyond His Reach

When our son, Joe, spiraled into the world of drugs and gangs at age sixteen, I wondered, Where is God? Countless times I fell to my knees broken hearted, tears streaming down my face. I pleaded, "Lord, please watch over Joe, our precious lost lamb. Protect him and keep him safe. Lord, show him the way home."

Joe's choices plunged him into a frightening culture beyond our ability to reach him. Nothing we did could pull him back, but he never escaped God's watchful eye. Powerless, we watched as drugs and gangs choked out everything decent in Joe's life. ...Read more

Picture Perfect

Several years ago during a casual conversation with my oldest son he said, "You expected me to be perfect when I was a kid."

Without pause I shot back, "Ben, that's not true."

Driving home from his house, I thought about his comment. His remark stung like a slap in the face. Though he'd laughed at the time, the hurt evident in his voice caused me to take a hard look at our family. How could he say that? Was it true? Did I really expect him to act perfect? ... Read more


"I need Dad's help," our eighteen-year-old son, Ben, said when he called. "My truck broke down, and I can't figure out why it won't start. I'm stranded at the mall."

Loren, a mechanic by trade, could have fixed the truck with no trouble. However, Ben had taken a job working a leather booth during the Christmas season in a mall five hours from home and a state away. ...Read more

Piano Prayers

Bethany tugged on my arm. "Please can't we buy a piano? I could take lessons from Amy's mom."

My daughter's friend Amy lived two blocks down the street. Her mother held a degree in music and taught piano lessons to neighborhood kids after school. ...Read more