Spiritual Friends in Community

Weaving is Learned Patience

I did it! Today I enjoyed my first weaving lesson on my new rigid heddle loom. My instructor is an amazing teacher who has purple hair, a great sense of humor and a “there are no un-fixable mistakes” attitude. She was fairly surprised that I assembled my loom by myself, correctly. I didn’t reveal how many times I had to take it apart during the 3-day ordeal, which was anything but spiritual.

I stayed up til 3am today untangling and winding a 260-yd skein of yarn as prep for the lesson, and then my instructor told me the yarn shop should have wound the yarn for me for free…newbies.

It took me about an hour to ‘string the warp’ (thread the loom) for a 10″ project; my loom accommodates 32″ widths…it’ll be a while before I tackle something that large. The only weaving I’ve ever done was to make an ugly, lumpy potholder in Girl Scouts, but unlike that lesson, where you leave and hand the potholder to your Mom, who pronounces it the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen, today the actual weaving lasted only a few minutes, that’s the easy part. I’ve got about 10-12 hours to go before my project will be finished.

In the above photo you can see a strand of thick beige yarn at the beginning of the project: it’s a spacer to even out the initial tension; there’s a whole weaving language I’ll have to learn: right now I feel like I just stepped off the plane in Kathmandu without a guide book. But that’s the joy of the journey, and I love a good challenge and a fun adventure. I also enjoy working with my hands and the use of vibrant colors and patterns. Hmmm…a holy coincidence that my surname is “Weber” which means, “weaver?”

What I’ve already recognized about weaving is that it’s a spiritual, soulful activity. I need my alone time, and this will fit that bill well, making a space for me to pray, listen to music, audiobooks, podcasts, or Misha the WonderDog’s sleepy breathing, as I weave.

I’ve been too long without creativity and too long without a hobby, so look out, world! Weber’s gonna weave! Peace to all here.


What’s Dust Got to Do With It?

Today is Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting and repentance that begins the Christian season of Lent. Very early this morning (a freakishly cold one for Memphis in March), I donned my clerical garb, grabbed my long wool coat and scarf, and stood outside our Chapel with a parishioner, to offer ashes and hot coffee to the world.

It’s very powerful to trace a cross in ashes on someone’s forehead and say, “From dust you are created, and to dust you shall return.” We’re mindful of our mortality; our impermanence; our fragile existence. We are wonderfully made by an imaginative God who understands that Creation has its season. Endings bring new beginnings. From the dust of the earth, new life will spring.

Receiving ashes is life-giving because it reminds us that as Christians, our foreheads were marked by this same cross with water, oil and the Holy Spirit, in the holy sacrament of baptism. We have been claimed and marked by God with the cross of the crucified Jesus Christ, who will never abandon us; who will always embrace us in love and mercy; and who walks beside us, even when we leave this life and return to the dust of the earth. Creation changes, but lives on.

Some of my pastor colleagues in the ELCA and across various denominations decry the ‘evil’ of offering Drive-Thru Ashes & A Cuppa Joe to Go. They claim it’s not liturgical; it’s not ‘church,’ or complain that this ‘ridiculous’ practice reduces ancient rite to a meaningless, consumeristic publicity stunt.

Perhaps. But Jesus didn’t sit inside a church, waiting for people to show up. He walked around, met people where they were, and invited them to join him on a faith journey. Jesus still meets us where we are, every day. On a cold morning, we marked people’s foreheads with ashes and blessed them, then sent them on their way with hot coffee and kindness. Many of them won’t be able to attend our Ash Wednesday worship services for various reasons, but they still participated in the Ash Wednesday ritual. They showed up and acknowledged their need for Christ’s mercy. They were welcomed and included by the Body of Christ, and to me, that’s what ‘church’ means. We may all be made of dust, but we are also loved, and we share love. Dust scatters; Love remains.

So what’s dust got to do with it? Everything, because dust is ‘us,’ and we are Love.

Peace to all here.





Go Deeper!

Recently, the ELCA congregation I serve welcomed a new family with 5 children under the age of ten.  The presence of so many lively little ones in a congregation primarily composed of retirees reminds us all that we are all God’s beloved children, and that we all have something to contribute.

When the kiddos are present in worship, I offer them a children’s sermon. My prayer is that the adults will still pay attention to the longer sermon I preach, rather than tune me out and make their grocery list because they’ve “already heard” the Gospel message for the day.

The great thing about speaking with children is that you never know what they’re going to say, or how they might respond to your questions. I love this uncertainty: it keeps me on my toes and it allows for the Holy Spirit to work wonders, as it did last Sunday.

The Gospel text was Luke 5:1-11, that writer’s version of the “I will make you fishers of people” story.  Jesus instructs the weary fisherman Simon, who’s pulled up empty nets all night, to “go into deeper water.” I tailored my message to teach the children (and adults!) that it’s good to move out of your comfort zone, trust God and take a risk. Fish in a new spot: the catch might be better, to feed more of God’s hungry people.

As I faced 4 squirmy kids (1 stayed in the pew with his parents, eyeing me suspiciously) it became readily apparent that they were more interested in talking to me than listening. One child wanted to show me his stuffed animal; one pointed at her pink dress; another wanted to tell me a story. So instead of talking at these children, I tried to engage them by asking questions like, ‘What swims in a lake?’ ‘Why do people catch fish?’ They answered, but their attention appeared to drift away from me and the point I was trying to make.

I explained to the wriggly little bodies in front of me that despite Simon’s exhaustion and reluctance to take his boat into deeper waters, he trusted Jesus, because Jesus is always with us and Jesus always knows how we feel.  The wriggling intensified, so I asked my final question and steeled myself to prompt them with the answer, since I doubted if they’d heard a word I’d said.

“So what should we do when we’re afraid, or tired?” I asked. “What could we do?”

GO DEEPER!” shouted Elijah, grinning at me from ear to ear. The congregation burst into loud laughter and so did I.  He’d been listening! Yes, God wants us to go deeper, into faith; into Scripture; into new places to proclaim God’s grace; into relationships with God and neighbor.

I couldn’t have said it any better myself, Elijah. Thanks be to God for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in God’s beloved children of all ages, and peace to all here.




Star Words

Yep, you read that correctly: not Star Wars, but Star Words. Today my ELCA Lutheran congregation ushered in a new tradition to celebrate Epiphany, January 6, the date on the Church’s liturgical calendar when we remember the Three Wise Kings who visit Jesus and encounter God’s Living Word, the Messiah, King of Creation. This ‘aha!‘ moment proclaims Jesus to the non-Jewish world.

To mark this special day, I offered my parishioners “star words”: words by which they may set new intentions for this new year (I borrowed the idea from a pastor colleague). It’s rare that Epiphany actually falls on a Sunday, so I decided to make the most of it with star words, especially since my congregation is named Epiphany Lutheran.

I enjoyed writing these words on the paper stars and threading jute through the little holes to make a hanger: I used my best penmanship, always a challenge for a Lefty known for leaving ink smears in her written wake. I imagined which parishioner might draw which star word, and how they might set a new intention, or find meaning in the word throughout 2019. I reflected on the words of the Star Word Prayer that I would read aloud in worship, asking God to guide us into service and love for neighbor.

The star word list contains action words, such as ‘imagine’ or ‘serve,’ as well as spiritual words like ‘hope,’ ‘compassion,’ or ‘patience.’ It was fun to watch my congregation members file forward and choose their star word from a big pile in the offering plate. Some closed their eyes, took a chance, and reacted in puzzlement or delight. Others fished around, seeking just the right star word.

But here’s the thing about a star word: they’re all ‘just the right words’ because as you reflect on the word you’ve drawn, setting an intention for 2019, you’ll be thinking about God at work in your life, and then putting that word into action, as you represent God’s hands in this world. There’s no wrong way to observe a star word.

My prayer for my congregation members is that somewhere along the way, their star word will lead them to an ‘aha!’ moment of their own; one that shines light on how much Christ loves them, and all people.  I pray that you can find your own star word, and set a new intention that draws you closer to the Living Word, Jesus the Christ, in 2019. Happy New Year, and peace to all here!



What Doesn’t Break Gives Hope

Yesterday I got my car back from the body shop, exactly 41 days after a deer collided with me on a dark Mississippi highway. I keep seeing the image of that poor deer in the headlights of my memory: it came out of ‘nowhere’ and I plowed right into it. I’m still reluctant to drive after dusk, and I find myself nervously searching my peripheral vision for critters. Yeah, gotta get back on the horse, I know, but…it shook me.

I’m so thankful that neither I nor my elderly passengers were injured, and that I have good auto insurance. But it’s been a frustrating 41 days. The body shop folks were professional, polite and they did a good job, but like everyone these days, they’re overworked, under-staffed and under constant scrutiny by people who simply want their cars back, just like new, right now.

After many rounds of frustrating phone calls, parts on back-order from the VW dealer and delay after infuriating delay, at last it was “Your Car is Ready” day. The shop manager reviewed all the repairs with me as we walked around the vehicle. It’s astonishing what one cute little doe can do to an automobile when said automobile and said cute little doe collide at 60mph. But thanks to some very skilled professionals, all traces of that evening have been swept away.

As we walked around my Tiguan, affectionately nicknamed “Wigwam” by a good friend, I glanced at the front grille and stopped: there, shining back at me, was my Vanderbilt license plate! I stared at the shop manager. “You got me a new Vandy plate?” I asked, incredulously. “Nope,” she said with a big grin. “I found it on the parts cart. Not a scratch on it. Looks pretty good, huh?”

It sure does, this Christmas Miracle, this black and gold star shining brightly from an otherwise icky, expensive, frustrating mess. As inconsequential as this license plate may seem, it reminds me that not everything breaks. Hope lives, always, in some form, if we choose to see it. If we take the time to search for hope among the parts on the carts of our messy existence, we may be surprised to find something shiny and whole and familiar. And that is a comfort.

As a pastor, I encounter a lot of sadness, but I choose to dwell in hope. Hope lights up the darkness that threatens to overtake us. Hope makes everything possible. Hope promises accompaniment; legacy; adventure; exploration, and joy. Hope is where I want to live and breathe and have my being, and for me, that hope emanates from God’s promises and presence. This Christmas, I wish for you the blessing of hope deep within your soul, because even if you feel broken, you are loved, you are ‘fixable,’ and your star still shines from somewhere in the pile on that parts cart. God will find you, put you back out front, and fill you with hope. –Peace to all here.




From Turkey to Training: El Camino is Calling

I was privileged and blessed to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my family and good friends, and my nephew’s huge Retriever Charlie, who entertained Misha the WonderDog just by being around.  Yes, I ate too much but savored every bite. We played Chicken Foot dominoes, drank a lot of wine, and with the help of good friends and family, managed to pull off a surprise party in her own house for my ‘baby’ sister. Vanderbilt beat Tennessee to achieve a hat trick 3-peat, much to my utter delight and my son’s bitter disappointment. I also baptized an infant grandchild of a parishioner during worship on Sunday, a moving and powerful ministry moment. It had been a long time since I’d held a baby…my heart is full.

Part of my Thanksgiving joy entailed the gifting of a few weaving projects. It’s so gratifying to share my love of weaving with people I care about, and I love to watch their reactions when I nod ‘yes’ to their “Did you make this for me?” queries.

Over the weekend, we spent a great deal of time swapping stories and inevitably some travel tales popped up. Since divinity school and seminary, I’ve secretly toyed with the idea that I’d like to walk the Camino del Santiago de Compostela, a 500-mile pilgrimage route across Spain. According to the photos, the scenery resembles Albuquerque, portrayed in the photo (above) that I took in January 2012 while attending a spiritual retreat.

I’ve been fascinated with the Camino for several years: I’ve watched the movie, “The Way”; read books by seasoned pilgrims; listened to lectures by Peregrinos who completed the whole journey, and followed travelers on YouTube as they trek their way, mile after painful mile.

Yet my already painful reality is that with two bad knees and a reconstructed foot, I know there are difficult stretches of the Camino that would present a huge challenge, if not outright threats, to my safety and health. I struggle to walk up and down stairs and hills; likewise over surfaces that aren’t smooth or level.

But so what? Pilgrims in worse shape than I have completed the walk in wheelchairs and on crutches, aided by friends. Why should my situation be more daunting? And what better fitness gift could I give to myself than to spend the next 9 months getting in shape for the Camino? Since arriving in my present ministry context, I’ve gained 40 pounds, and feel awful for it. Maybe the Camino is the kick in the ass I need…plus, travelers suggest that the final 100km of the Camino is very doable, over the course of 7 or 8 days, with gentle rolling hills…

My secret Camino fantasy popped up over the weekend, as my good college friend and my sister shared our travel ‘wish lists.’ The second I mentioned the Camino, my sister said, “Let’s just go!” Easy for her 9-year younger, no-metal-in-her-body self to say, but she’s quite serious, and she knows I’m no speed-walker. And who better to go on this pilgrimage with me than my sister, who’s always there for me? We immediately started thinking about the possibilities, and invited my college friend to join us.

There are lots of reasons why I shouldn’t attempt the Camino: the physical challenges and the funding are biggies. But I’ve been wondering how to properly commemorate turning 60 in 2019, and this’d be a doozy of a commemoration. In fact, it now feels like it may be the only way to celebrate my 60th year of life, by challenging myself to get in shape, make the trip, and walk the walk. What is life for, if not to literally step outside our comfort zones?

I think I need to go for it.






Holy Fun

Recently I enjoyed a much-needed week of retreat and brought my rigid heddle loom along for the ride, with a goal to complete 4 projects. But those pesky weaving pixies had other plans.

First I struggled to find the appropriate loom logistics in my new surroundings: the loom is 32″ wide, and though it’s portable, it’s awkward to move.  To warp the loom (thread it with yarn) you need a lot of space and a stable surface to hold the warping peg taut…you need good light, otherwise lots of errors can and (for me) will happen. Let’s just say I warped and re-warped more than I’d planned.

Then in my disappointment and frustration at the errors, and reluctant to waste any yarn, I searched YouTube for videos on, “How to Fix Loom Warp Mistakes.” After an hour of searching, I found what I thought I needed…and it would have worked, but the yarn I’d warped was essentially better suited to weft than stringing on the loom, where tension means that fuzzy yarn only gets fuzzier as you weave.

The wisdom of my age has at last taught me to let things go: I was on vacation! I started fresh, found my ‘perch’ on the back porch and it was perfect. I completed 3 projects and they turned out lovelier than I’d imagined. One, a happy design accident thanks to my best friend’s yarn contribution, has now been gifted to another friend for her faithfulness in making gorgeous greeting cards for me to send to parishioners.

As the vacation week ebbed, I decided to weave something for myself, using beautiful rainbow superwash merino wool hand-dyed from Turkey (see above photo). This yarn “self-stripes” so I didn’t have to do anything special to achieve the rainbow effect, thank goodness, after my previous warping struggles.

I’d originally intended for this to be a simple scarf that would brighten dreary winter days, but once completed, I realized that it can double as a pastor stole, representing the vibrant colors of God’s Creation and also as a sign of welcome for LGBTQ friends. I’m excited to wear it for worship soon. I’m also excited that something I’ve created is not only functional, but a little holy, too. Kind of like human beings: we function, but we’re created in God’s holy image. Remember that, the next time you’re frustrated: you’re holy, and loved. Peace to all here!


Unlikely Holy Spaces

I spent most of last week at my Synod’s annual leadership convocation at Lutheridge, a camp and conference center in Arden, NC on the Blue Ridge Parkway (see photo). I, along with about a hundred pastor and deacon colleagues, Synod staff and lay leaders, gathered for worship, ate delicious meals together in the camp center cafeteria, and bunked down in tiny rooms built for summer-camp teens who don’t care about hanging up clothes because they can live out of a backpack. Not so much, when you’re a certain age. It surprised me to realize that the bloom on the “let’s go to camp for a week” rose has faded for me, at least for now.

Thanks be to God for my roommate, a dear friend and pastor colleague, who lit up our particular cramped quarters with her cheerful attitude, candid advice and dry sense of humor. Our frank late-into-the-night chats helped me more than she realizes, giving me some peace in an area of ministerial struggle. She shone light into some of my dark corners and helped me reflect on a way forward. Thanks to her, that little camp dorm room became an unlikely holy space where I found guidance through the fog.

The long drive to NC from Memphis…or rather, the ‘slog’ through constant hard rain, was tedious, but I was happy for the chance to visit my son, a college junior, on the journey. I’m just beginning to learn how abundantly blessed I am as I spend time with this newly legal adult son of mine–he’s a hard-working, responsible, funny and insightful young man, and a joy to be around. I’m proud of him–not because of what he’s accomplished, which is significant, but because he’s a deep thinker who makes careful choices and he’s considerate of others. The crab-and-corn chowder at the restaurant was awful, but my son’s lively chatter and hilarious stories lit up our booth, warming my heart. Another unlikely holy space where deep connection and love filled up the places I hadn’t realized were empty.

I got up very early one morning for coffee with a good friend who’s at the top of my prayer list right now; it’s so helpful to share openly with someone you trust who has also experienced the pain of a broken relationship and life’s heartaches. The isolated corner of a deserted coffee shop transformed into a holy space where we talked about starting over, renewing our faith, trusting God and breaking free of the past. We talked about how delightfully scary it is to rediscover our authentic selves, long-forgotten after years spent living as women we didn’t recognize, just to keep the peace. We laughed and hugged and reconnected, and we blessed each other as God has blessed us.

On our free afternoon, some pastor colleagues and I drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway on a perfectly crisp, sunny autumn day to visit the Southern Highlands Crafts Museum, marveling at the imagination and creativity that God gives to human beings. It’s one great holy place of possibility, where hands transform glass, clay, textiles and metal into stunningly beautiful useful objects. Then we just happened to visit a weaving store that called my soul even as it lured my wallet from my pocket. I could have stayed there all day: the proprietors have much weaving wisdom to share, and they ‘get it.’  Stocked with  skeins of beautiful metallic yarn and a new, finer-grade heddle for my loom, no doubt I’ll be transported to yet another holy space when I warp a new project and recall that day.

It’s good to get the hell outta Dodge sometimes and change your scenery. God is all around us, but we let the mundane take over and we forget to pay attention. We take for granted that every space is a holy one, if we’ll let God speak to us, right where we are.



Who Knew Weaving Could be Therapeutic While Addictive?

I’ve participated in many hobbies in the course of my life: movies; reading; photography; music; beads & jewelry; scrapbooking and of course, writing. Sewing, knitting and crocheting were epic fails.

Years of  divinity school & seminary required reading made that beloved hobby untenable for a while, as I dreamed of something tactile and creative, but struggled to land on an activity that spoke to me. Tried pottery. Researched glass work and mosaics. Returned to jewelry for awhile but Mr. Art Hritis made that difficult.

I’ve always wanted to learn to weave, and I blogged about that here. I’ve been weaving for almost 2 months now, and I have found not only my creative outlet and hobby-to-end-all-hobbies, I’ve also rediscovered my spirituality and the value of imaginative silence.

I’m having an absolute blast weaving, selecting beautiful yarns with names like “Scottish Thistle” and “Jasmine Spice,” and I’m experimenting with patterns, textures and techniques. There are some major fails, but as my very wonderful, wise weaving teacher says, “There are no mistakes in weaving…only discoveries.”

I’ve also taken the plunge and opened an Etsy.com shop to sell what I make, as I choose. Most of the items I’m weaving now are designated as gifts…cat’s out of the bag now! But it would be wonderful to make and sell some items, here and there, if only to pay for my  new yarn addiction.  I can’t compete and don’t want to compare my little weaving work to the experts represented on Etsy, but I’m sure having fun!

You can see my new ‘business card’ at the top of this blog post. The name of my shop is “InSpiriThreads” and that photograph of a curious sheep reflects exactly how I feel: be true to yourself, be bold and you might just find new life.

Peace to all here!


Reconciliation & Healing

Today I was privileged, as a member of West Cancer Center’s Spiritual Advisory Council, to videotape 6 brief segments on different topics surrounding healing. I was one of several Memphis-area clergy to do this, including distinguished imams and rabbis.

Each of the participants was asked to speak briefly about “Why does God allow evil?” and address other questions that might trouble cancer patients and their families, but we also each wrote specific video scripts dealing with other subjects. I chose Mindfulness, Prayer and Reconciliation.

I’d submitted the scripts weeks ago and momentarily worried that I’d be expected to memorize my lines, but the crack production team used a TelePrompTer, which took me back to my film production days in the advertising business…except now there’s an app for that!

For those of you who don’t know me well, I put the “M” in “Murphy’s Law,” so the very second I took my seat in the studio this morning, one of the lights blew up and a work-around had to be rigged. Then the TelePrompTer decided to be ornery in the middle of my segment on Reconciliation. But the delay presented a new opportunity for ministry, and as usual, God was in the midst of it.

As we waited for the equipment to come online, one of the production guys asked me a question in a low voice: “About what you said…did Jesus really say that healing our relationships is good for our physical healing?” I was a bit taken by surprise, not sure what motivated his question.

“He said many things about healing and reconciliation,” I answered. “Every time Jesus heals a body physically, he brings the person back into community for emotional healing. In Jesus’ day, the sick were considered irreparable sinners and broken outcasts: they were literally removed outside the town walls or the temple grounds to avoid contaminating anyone else. By healing the body, Jesus reconciles the cured person with his or her family, friends, and society so they can heal emotionally, too.”

The young man eyed me with sharp eyes. “Wow. I never thought about that.” One of his colleagues chided, “What, are you trying to show off and quote an appropriate Bible verse here?” “No,” the young man replied quietly. “I’m just curious. That’s very powerful, the idea that reconciliation heals us, too.”

Whether our bodies or our emotions are out of whack, healing reorders what’s wrong. When it comes to our physical ailments, after we cross the scientific threshold of “what can be done,” many of us, as a last resort, turn to God The Great Physician in prayer.  God should be the first line of defense in illness, I’m just sayin’…

But how often do we go to God for guidance and courage to take those difficult reconciliation steps? We hold grudges because deep hurts last a long time, and the pain they inflict is real. Words and actions can cause wounds that are life-threatening: they threaten our lives because we re-live them, over and over, boiling inside and refusing to forgive. As time passes we often forget the original cause of the hurt and anger, but we hold onto it for so long, it becomes part of our physical being. We wear our resentment, bitterness and pride like a cloak that shields us from getting close to our loved ones, especially the one who wounded us.

Jesus offers us the ultimate healing grace by giving himself on the cross so that we may be reconciled with God. If God can forgive us all our sins, then shouldn’t we be able to forgive each other?

Take off your cloak of anger and strip off that old grudge. You don’t even have to speak to do the work of reconciliation: give the person you’re upset with a big, silent hug. He or she will understand, wordlessly. You’ll feel relief flood your whole being, and you’ll both be healed to new life in a reconciled relationship. Do-overs are the gift that always feels good, and most people, no matter how much we’ve wounded them, want to forgive us. But we wait to see who will trudge up the courage first, and time passes.

Reconcile your relationships and ask God to heal you, before it’s too late.



God’s Constant Presence

Every morning I walk Misha the WonderDog along a greenway trail. I always enjoy the newness of the morning, as the sun rises, the birds sing, the dew glistens and a breeze stirs. I especially enjoy the breezes, living in a place where in mid-September it’s still highs in the 90s and heat indices over 100…

Misha and I greet our ‘regulars’: my elderly neighbor who wears the same knee-length yellow t-shirt and walks briskly, waving at us; the joggers who huff and puff and sweat and nod; the lady with the two very well-behaved border collies who walk and run off-leash, against the rules, but never stray from her side.

Misha sniffs the ground in search of the ‘right’ spot to do her business, and this can take forever because her prey instinct is very high, so I spend a lot of time standing and waiting, but that gives me the chance to notice God’s beauty. There’s something magical about a spiderweb shining with dewdrops, backlit by the sun, or a field of un-mown hay as it waves in the wind and shimmers, or a very large ant crawling toward its family home.

This time in the morning is part of my spiritual renewal; sometimes we sit on the front porch, me with coffee or hot tea; Misha, on-guard for the next terrible predatory threat, her wet nose twitching as she detects distant scents on the breeze. I watch hummingbirds fight at my neighbor’s feeder: they patently rejected the one I set out, so I planted lots of red flowers, but have yet to see a hummingbird feed from them. Misha disinterestedly watches me water the porch plants, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting vermin.

There’s usually very little in the way of conversation on these early mornings: just the peace of God alive in Creation. But today I was happily surprised: a friend from the dog park slowly edged his silver truck beside Misha and me as we meandered along the sidewalk. His huge retriever sat in the front seat, and exchanged wagging tails and friendly barks with Misha. It amazes me how dogs recognize each other like people.

“Where’ve you been?” my friend asked. “Haven’t seen you for a while.” “I’ve been pretty busy,” I replied. “And it’s been so hot, and it’s my worst allergy season, so I’m not going outside much right now.”

My friend nodded. “Well, I just want you to know you’ve been missed. You’ve helped a lot of people at the dog park. I’ll let everybody know you’re okay. Sure is good to see you, have a blessed day.”

I thanked my friend and promised we’d return to the dog park the minute the weather turns. We waved our goodbyes and he sped off, his dog’s ears flapping out the passenger window. Misha turned to look at me, her tail still wagging, and I knew exactly what she was thinking: God has a way of showing up when we least expect it, and when we most need it. Peace to all here.