They Come Around


Young pine tree on a cloudy day, growing in sandy soil

My son told me, “You’re the only one who’s making any sense right now.”

“I’m just glad you’re listening to me,” was the response I chose.

“I know,” he said. “It only took 28 years.”

There was a whole year when my son was in his early 20′s, living in the mountains on the other side of the state, when he wouldn’t even talk to me, let alone listen. It nearly broke my heart.

Now my son is a parent. His unexpected visit from several states away came with his own relationship crisis and an opportunity- a wake up call- for change.  He’s been calling me more lately.  And that’s totally okay.

I remember a few years ago, my dad was talking about some crazy thing I did in my early 20s. “Well, I didn’t have my head screwed on right back then, Dad.” I said. Dad’s laugh was one of great relief. He was so glad I’d finally realized this and that I’d lived to tell about it.

The lesson here is that we continue to love, even from a distance, and maybe they will come around. And even if they don’t, send love anyway.

I think about some of the parents I work with who’ve lost custody of their children as a result of addiction. When their parental rights are terminated, they wonder, “What do I have to live for?”  Of course they need to live for themselves, for the hope of a better future for themselves, but sometimes they aren’t ready to hear that.  So, I tell them: Keep working on yourself. Be the best person you can be. Someday, maybe years from now, your daughter (or son) might come looking for you. You want to be ready.  They might be angry, but they also might need your strength and your wisdom.

The seeds we plant sometimes take a long time to grow and God can write straight with crooked lines when we see God’s work from a distance.

Don’t give up. Keep sending love.

cloud heart

Heart Cloud at Wrightsville Beach

Heaven on Earth

“Surrounded by Your Glory, What will my heart Feel? Will I dance for You Jesus, or in awe of You be still?” (Mercy Me)

I’ve always loved singing Mercy Me’s song, “I Can Only Imagine.”  The song’s gentle melodies flow into powerful praise. Singing this a couple days ago, with spring finally here, I suddenly became aware of a new perspective: I  am  surrounded by God’s glory here on earth. I have been awed by golden sunsets and stilled by the vastness of the ocean. I’ve and danced with joy in the light of the full moon and fallen to my knees in the forest, breathig the breath of the earth.

It sounds a bit pagan doesn’t it? Yet, I am a Christian who loves Creation- like Saint Francis who praised brother sun and sister moon and preached to the birds and tamed a wolf with love- a bridge if you will, for those of us who love the earth and love Jesus, for those who see and feel God in nature.

If we are to honor God, we are called to care for, respect and nurture all of God’s Creation.

Pearly gates and streets of gold have never excited me. When I imagine meeting Jesus, I imagine a natural setting. Jesus lived outdoors much of the time. He spent a lot of time in simple dwellings close to the earth.  Jesus went alone into the wilderness to be close to God, to restore his spirit.  Heaven, for me, will hopefully be full of wonderful wilderness.  We can imagine heaven, and we can open our eyes and our ears and our hearts to heaven on earth

Creek w david and dogs

What do you imagine heaven to be like?

When or where have you experienced heaven on earth?


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Find The Purpose.


This is the theme of our memoir, Perfect Timing. Our lives are full of evidence. David and I came to the same place and time to plant a seed in our youth. It was no accident that we had to go on separate journeys over a period of 39 years to become ready to meet again, to be ready to travel and learn and grow together when the time was right. Never give up hope. Miracles are in the making!

Originally posted on Doug Does Life:


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The Holiness of Old Dogs

Originally posted on The Beggar's Bakery:

By:  Jana Greene

There is something holy about old dogs.  I can’t quote scripture to prove it, but I can see the sacredness in the eyes of my old dog, Emmie.  And I know God sees it in her too, that He placed it there.

I’m finding that God often places the holy and pure things where we least expect them.  I know that He uses my dog to make me a better person, to teach me things.

Emmie has been a good and faithful friend to me for more than fourteen years.  A Golden Retriever (with a bit of Chow-Chow) she never knew the first thing about retrieving. But being kind and loving, joyful and true?  She knows everything about that.

When I call to her, she comes to me – even though she is old and creaky probably has a million good doggie reasons why she would rather not.  She might be…

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Be Yourself and Sing from Your Heart

It was a bit outside my comfort zone to sing  “Never Would Have Made it.” At least when I tried to sing it like Marvin Sapp. After all, I am still a white chick. But I’d asked the men at the Rescue Mission of Cape Fear, if they had any song requests for next time David and I led Wednesday night chapel, and one of them took me up on it and asked for the song.

So for the next couple weeks, I studied Pastor Marvin Sapp singing on You Tube with his powerful gospel energy. I attempted feebly to play some guitar chords to go with it. My limited ability to strum a few basic chords was not up for the  jazzy gospel notes I heard on You Tube’s guitar versions. It just wasn’t working for me. But I liked the song itself. It moved me in a good way, because the words rang true.  I never would’ve made it throught the darkness without God’s son carrying me, sometimes dragging me kicking and screaming. Cartoon about footprintes

So I decided to sing the song a cappella after the scripture discussion Wednesday night about Jesus being tempted in the wilderness. As I started to sing, I felt myself being pulled into the song. Sometimes when this happens, I forget my place, especially when I’m playing guitar too. But this time, it flowed just fine. I snapped my fingers gently on one hand like I’d rehearsed it.  My other hand moved to my heart, as I sang in my own simple white-hippie-church lady way. My body swayed back and forth of it’s own accord.

The men of the mission have always been polite and patient with my choice of songs. As usual, they humbled me with their enthusiastic applause. The man who had requested the song gave me a warm broad smile and thanked me for singing it.  I think they appreciate my effort as much as anything else. They knew I was singing from my heart.

I realized that I’m showing them how it’s ok to try something new, in a safe place, even if it’s outside your comfort zone, even if it might not be as good or the same as how somebody else would do it. I have come to feel safe enough to stretch myself in the company of this diverse group of men who have come to the Rescue  Mission seeking shelter.  And I have been blessed with new songs to sing.

To learn more about the Rescue Mission of the Cape Fear, and the men who stay there, see my interviews in Wilmington Faith and Values:

The Love that Remains


My saudade was buried in my subconscious, only occasionally flitting out for brief and distant moments until I got back to work. But my soul mate thought of me, especially when he flew south, way up high in the distance.  Did his saudade touch my subconscious? In all that time it must have. There must have been those faint smiles coming out of nowhere. For 39 years, I was preparing for his arrival without even knowing it, except somewhere deep in my soul. “The love that remains” can be very quiet. But it was there….waiting for the right time to soar higher than I could have ever imagined.