"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wait For It

I often rise early and, when weather permits, find my place on the deck just out my back door. However, southern summer mornings can be stifling. "Muggy" is what we call it here in middle Georgia. But so often on those days, just as I would be about to give up and come inside, I would hear, "Wait for it." So I would settle down, and sure enough, there would come this moment when the "muggy" would lift and a change in atmosphere would occur in a matter of seconds. Morning after morning, I came to expect the same pattern: muggy, "Wait for it," cool. Until finally, it was not so much about waiting as it was anticipation.

This past Fall, I found myself sitting on the same deck, same chair, but this time it was dark on the other side of the clock. I had my head thrown back in my Adirondack with my eyes looking at the heavens. It was to be a stellar night for shooting stars. I was out there for what seemed like an eternity, but to no avail. No streaks across the sky. As I was giving up hope of glimpsing such a majestic occurrence and was about to come inside, I heard it again: "Wait for it." And so I sat. Quiet. Still. And just like the cool that replaced the humid summer mornings, I saw a streak across the night sky. And then another. "Wait for it." It became yet another a period of anticipation.

Waiting. It's not an easy task. Some do it better than others. Yet it's something to which God calls each of us. Not once, not twice, but daily -- and even then many times daily. Waiting makes us give into the illusion that we are not in control. God is. That He alone determines when suns rise and meteors fall. And a host of other things that cry, "Wait for it." 

The Hebrew word so often used in the Scriptures for wait is qavah, which means to bind together (like twisting strands when making a rope). It means "to look patiently," "tarry," "hope, expect, look eagerly." When we are told to "wait" on the Lord, we can be assured it's not some perfunctory or cruel hide-and-seek game we are playing with the King of the Universe to come find us. No, He is working behind the scene, in full control, binding things together so that in the fullness of time, He can bring forth that which He has planned for us and the whole of creation. 

The season of Advent is just that: a period of waiting. Of not rushing into the birth of Christ but of anticipating it in such a way that when Christmas morning does come, God has done a work not only in our circumstances but in us. Isn't that what waiting is all about anyway? Of being forced to be still long enough for God to do a work? Thinking back to those mornings and that evening on the deck, God was not going to be rushed in making the sun rise and the atmosphere to change. He was not going to tell the meteors to hurry on their path because I was tired of waiting. No, it was His timing. His work. Not mine. Both in creation and in me.

As I write, we have less than 12 hours left of Advent, this season of waiting. Yet, what really stretches before us is a lifetime of waiting. May we be encouraged to know that as we wait, God is working, binding ... even when we cannot see it nor Him. You can trust Him. So can I. 

BUT when the fullness of time had come, GOD sent His Son... (Galatians 4:4).

If He did not withhold His very own Son from us, will He not also give us all good things? You bet He will. Wait for it.

Just an ordinary moment...

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Trick or Treating in Cheshire

Some 16 years ago, my family and I moved to our present home here in Cheshire, a quiet, middle class subdivision that houses about 80 homes. There have been a few changes over the years, but for the most part, it has not been very transient. However, there have been a few new families to move into the area and with that some younger generations. We now have probably around 20 or so small children that can be seen riding their bicycles, being pulled in a wagon or even strolled on weather-permitting evenings. 

Then comes Trick or Treating. 

Several years ago, after an evening of giving out candy, I came in from the front steps and told my husband we must have had several hundred kids come for a "treat." I'm not sure he believed me and so being the good forester he is, the next year he sat on the front steps with his ticker and "ticked" while I handed out candy. The final tally was just shy of 500.

You can only imagine the hole it puts in one's pocket to hand out that much candy. This year, I tallied the pieces in the store and came home with 497 assorted pieces: Reese Cups, Almond Joys, Kit Kats, Snickers, Skittles, etc, not to mention 3 containers of iced sugar cookies for my "special" treaters, hoping that would get me through most of the evening. In the meantime, a young friend came and helped with my duties, bringing her own bag of candy -- 80 pieces worth.  

By the time the night was over, we had 14 Reese Cups left. Yes, that's 14 out of 577! That's a LOT of trick or treaters, people! And that doesn't even count the parents who are strolling the streets, many in their own costumes. I'm not sure how our neighborhood became the go-to on October 31, but it truly has become the destination place for many. 

This year I had the most fun making over some of the cutest little Elsas and batmans you ever did see. There were twin Minnies, a badminton team, puppy dogs and princesses. Blue Man, Ironman, a football player, a cowgirl and even Jake with State Farm, just to name a few, threatened me with a trick if I didn't cough up the candy. 

Superman had flown in while a little nun runs in.

Will McGehee and his badminton team took the trophy for most original and the one that made me laugh the hardest.

From infants in strollers to some old enough to have kids of their own, they came. Golf carts, pick ups with the tail gates down and even trailers filled with hay were not uncommon sights. 

Yes, 500+ little whirlwinds of joy dancing up and down the street to the sound of "Trick or Treat!" It was pure joy.

In the midst of the flurry, a young princess, maybe 2 years old approached my sidekick and me. But it was not she who garnered my attention, but the creature walking up behind her. No question here: it was Frankenstein himself. A HUGE 7+ foot, green monster. I have never seen such a "look-a-like" in my life that wasn't on the Hollywood screen. I'm telling you, this guy had it going on. I gave the little princess her candy and she ran back to her mother ... and then ... she began walking to Frankenstein. I couldn't help but ask, "Isn't she afraid of him?" To which the mother responded as the child lifted her arms and was swooped into the air by this green monster, "Oh, no. She knows that's her daddy in there."


Have you ever considered that God can be very scary? Think floods. Plagues. Entire cities going up in flames. Think lion dens and lakes of fire. And quite frankly, I really find a dismembered hand writing a death threat on a wall a little unnerving.

But maybe that's the point. Maybe He wants us to fear Him. 1 Chronicles 16:25 certainly backs that up: For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised and he is to be feared above all gods.

Fearing God -- respecting Him -- is a very important part of our relationship with Him. But it's not the whole equation. He also wants us to know Him as our Father. I don't know about you, but my earthly father was my protector, my defender, my provider, as well as my disciplinarian. Not only did I "fear" him but he also allayed my fears because he was my daddy. I knew I could trust him. 

And so it is with my heavenly Father -- and with yours. He's scary alright. But His wrath has been poured out at the cross, and now we can run to him with arms wide open because we know our daddy is in there.

Thanks, little princess. That was a mighty powerful sermon you preached.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!”
Psalm 111:10

Just an ordinary moment...

Friday, October 30, 2015

Why I Had Children

[I make no apologies for this entry, but I do tell you right up front it is filled with pictures and thoughts from a still-smitten grandmother. I still encourage you to read to the end.]

The Georgia National Fair is a huge event in the town where I live. This year saw a record of over 500,000 fair-goers. My husband, children and I have been attending every year's event since its inauguration in 1989 when Ray Stevens was the featured entertainer. Yes, our children have practically grown up riding "The Gentle Giant" Ferris wheel, feeding exotic animals and watching more circus acts than most people their ages can boast. But it's what we did; and what we still do.

However, this year was different. Of the 11 days that the fair was in town, our 4 year old grandson was here for the first 5 of them. What was really only to be a one day excursion turned into 5 days of fun; and, boy, what fun we had!

Each morning began with the little fellow sitting in my lap out on the deck in the Adirondack chair cuddled up in a honey colored blanket. Sometimes we would read, but most of the time we would just watch the birds. He got quite proficient at naming the "Go, Dog!" birds (a.k.a. cardinals) and telling me whether they were girl birds or boy birds. On more than one occasion, a flock of noisy geese flew over. I taught him one should not gawk heavenward when that happens but rather close his mouth. We watched woodpeckers and doves and hummingbirds among many other assorted feathered friends. And his belly laugh at the squirrels chasing each other around and around the tree was enough to make this grandmother chuckle out loud herself.

Before too long, the day was in full force and it was time for some fair fun and food.

His cousin accompanied us on several days.

Dumbo was the first ride.

Way up in the sky on the Gentle Giant Ferris wheel took some nerve.

Learning to flip on the trampoline was a major accomplishment.

On to the train.

The world famous carousel! One must always ride (including this grandmother) this one.
Not only was it in the movie, "Big," with Tom Hanks, Elvis Presley himself also did a gig with this one.

The brave young man tackled the swing.

Getting on our game faces for Robinson"s Racing Pigs.

He fed EVERY animal at the petting zoo -- except for the huge cow with the daunting horns. I don't blame him.

We stayed so late that first night that we even got to watch the fireworks.

His Uncle Bobba's tepee is always a hit -- and fun. And being family, they got to cross the "Do Not Cross" rope.

We saw cows but we got to ride horses.

The Agrilift at night is a must.

And at the Saturday morning parade, we got to meet Minion.

He begged to do the Muttin' Bustin', but this is as close as we would let him get without his parent's permission. Maybe next year, little man.

I-flip was a hit!

As were the bumper cars.

An up close encounter with a REAL race car.

Cutest little Captain America I ever did see.

He rode the race car roller coaster with Uncle Charles.

And the Tidal Wave.

And the bumper cars again.

He got to fly solo for a change.

And climb a rock -- sort of. 8 feet was about as high as he would go.  After 45 minutes of waiting in line.

Day 5 found his mom and dad in tow and him sportin' a tiger's face. 

Did I mention he liked the bumper cars?

And the roller coaster.

We drank milk and milked cows.

And we discovered that trees can walk and talk.
We also went to the circus, saw the pirate show, the magic show, watched the monkey show, the sea lion show and spent way too long in the building demonstrating to us the process of growing a chicken. We ate corndogs, hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken strips, roasted corn and funnel cake. And, yes, he and his cousin even danced wildly to Grand Funk Railroad's,"We're an American Band," as they played live on stage opening night. Yes, fun was indeed had by all. But especially by this grandmother.

The end of Day 5 saw our little man safely strapped into his car seat after having been kissed profusely and thanked a hundred times for coming. As they always do, his daddy rolled down the window so we could see him waving to us and so we could throw one more kiss. And as the Jeep was placed in reverse and began making its way to the end of the driveway, my grandson waved one more time and yelled, "Thank you, G-Nan! I loved watching the birds with you!"

YES!!!!!!! A thousand times YES, my sweet one. So did I. So did I.

And that, my friends, is why I had children.

Children's children are a crown to the aged. 
Proverbs 17:6

Just an ordinary moment...

Monday, August 31, 2015

What I Learned in August

Well, here I am ... finally. It has been weeks (months?) since I last posted. It's not that things weren't going around in my head. Somehow they just never made it to paper. But a friend posted a blog this morning that got me to thinking; and if I'm going to do it, I HAVE to do it today ... before the month runs out. What I learned in August.

A darling friend, Annie Downs, posted what she learned in August -- an idea that she herself received from her friend. After reading Annie's list, I wondered the same about myself. August seemed to buzz past; but surely something was attained during the fly by. And so I opened my journal to the last month and here's what I found.

1. Power just is. Out of context that may seem a little strange so here it is read within the text of Awaken the Sleeper by Nick Castellano.  "Vision should not be forced. Force is about you. Force takes energy. Stand in power; power just is." I seem to want to make things happen, and quite frankly, that can be very tiring. If I could just remember to "stand in power" and let God do His thing. The world would be such a better place.

2.  'Tis good to try to see the world through God's eyes than always trying to see God in the world.

3.  There are women in my life whose flames have burned brightly and reminded me of my own small flame. You know who you are and I bless you this day. Oh, that may I be a candle that stirs others' flames to new life.

4.  "It's one thing to go through the Bible, it is quite another thing for the Bible to go through you." That was a quote from my friend Len Sweet's mama. Mabel Boggs Sweet was one smart woman.

5.  Don't push the river; just trust the power of the flow.  (See #1.) God has astounded me recently by the way He has allowed an opportunity to just fall in my lap. Now if I can just remember the flow of that river.

6.  "Rake the muck this way. Rake the muck that way. It will still be muck. In the time you are brooding, you could be stringing pearls for the delight of heaven." Yep.

7.  When you are identified with the kingdom, then when you speak the kingdom speaks, when you act the kingdom acts." E. Stanley Jones, The Way. I truly want to be about kingdom living. Which leads to number

8.  "The kingdom belongs to God and no amount of human conniving can figure it out." -- Barbara Brown Taylor in Bread of Angels. So I guess what I need to do is just stand in power and trust the flow of the river.

9.  "... in the end, love alone remains." God is love, and all that we really are is a manifestation of the eternal love of God." -- James Finley and what he learned from Thomas Merton. 

And lastly,

10. Cabot cheese is totally lactose free.

Just an ordinary moment...

Friday, June 26, 2015

This Morning's "Quiet" Time

A number of years ago while reading a Henri Nouwen book for my Lenten devotionals, I was struck by a prayer that read, "Open my senses to Your presence, Lord." It reverberated so strongly in me that I took it as my own and even had my friend Vicki put it on one of her botanicals for me. Not only has it stayed in eye's view for all these years here in my sun room, it has lodged itself deeply within my heart.

Open my senses to Your presence, Lord!

For the last few months, I have found my morning devotional spot out on my deck. Very early, I pick up my basket of books, stick some cushions under my arms, grab my pencil and glasses while balancing my hot blueberry tea in my hand and carefully and quietly head out the door before the sun makes its way over the horizon. I yearn for this place. Love this place. And this morning was no different. 

If there's anything I've learned in these recent years is not to bury my head in a book -- and that includes my Bible. Because, you see, "the heavens are telling the glory of God and the firmament is proclaiming his handiwork. Day to day is pouring forth speech and night to night is declaring knowledge." In fact, "there is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; YET their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world." (See Ps. 19:1-4)

Open my senses to Your presence, Lord!

So often we see God in the "heavens": in the way He expresses Himself in a rainbow or shouts "Glory!" from a beautiful sunset. And indeed that's true. But Psalm 19 also says the "firmament." And so, suddenly, my "quiet time" wasn't so quiet anymore as He opened my senses to
  • the bumble bee finding nectar in the purple bloom
  • the boisterous carolina wren calling from high in the pecan tree
  • the cat bird perched on the pine "meowing" softly to another
  • the drop in humidity when the sun broke above the trees
  • the cool breeze that ensued
  • the smell of green
  • the smooth flapping of a cardinal's wings as it flew just over my head
  • the downie woodpecker backing down the tree to get to the suet
  • the neighbor's cheery whistle as he, too, woke with the dawn
  • the red wing blackbird chasing a large moth across the backyard
  • the fragrant smell of potted basil just off my deck
  • the dew drops circling each strawberry leaf
  • the fly rubbing its front legs together as if he were about to eat something tasty
  • the 2 squirrels playing chase up, down and around the tree trunk
  • the sound of the first cicadas of the season
  • the warmth of the sun on the left side of my face
  • the taste of blueberry tea on my tongue
Yes, day to day POURS forth speech. It may be without words, but the voice goes out through all the earth. And quiet times become not so quiet as God comes near. I guess the defining question might need to be, "Are your senses open?"

Open my senses to Your presence, Lord. 

Yes. Let it be!

Just an ordinary moment...

Friday, May 1, 2015

Learning How to Pray ... from a 4-year-old

I got to do something recently that I've been waiting literally my whole life to do. I got to take my grandson to his school and drop him off ... all by myself. Yes, I was the giddy, trying-to-act-mature, strutting-like-a-peacock-in-full-bloom grandmother, acting like I was the first to ever do such. I was also scared to death when I drove off. "Please, God, don't let me forget to pick him up!" (I distinctly remember that same feeling when I dropped my firstborn off for his first day of kindergarten.) Well, I didn't forget. In fact, I was first in line! No surprise there.

As I made preparations for this all important duty, I received my instructions the night before from his parents. What time I needed to leave in order to get him there on time; which line to get in; what time to pick him up; whether or not he could carry his lovies in, etc. And then one very important instruction. 

"And we always pray on the way to school."

Now there was something this grandmother could handle. I immediately had flashbacks of raising my own 3 kids. When they were younger, we would pray on the way to school. As they got older and we lived in Richmond Hill, I would call each one to my rocker in my bedroom and pray with them there. And after we moved to this home and the oldest was now driving, we prayed around the breakfast table. Yes, I had this one down. So off the little guy and I went with lunch box, backpack, and 2 lovies (which had to remain in the car).

As we pulled out of the neighborhood, I said, "Okay, let's pray." To which I was told, "Not yet." 

We got to the first traffic light, and I said, "Now do we pray?" 

"No, G-Nan,." 

Next traffic light. "Now?"


"Okay, why don't you just tell me when we are supposed to pray." By this time, I was feeling less secure in my position as grandmother.

As we pulled up to the last and final traffic light, the cute little brown-eyed 4-year old said, "Now."

Not really sure of the whole MO anymore, I inquired, "Do I pray, or do you?"

"You pray first, and then I will." 

As so I did. "Jesus. Thank you for this day. Please be with Jude as he's at school. Help him to be a good boy and a leader among his friends." (He quickly interrupted and told me it wasn't his day to be a leader.)  And so I rephrased that last request and then continued my charade of trying to cover all the bases as if God might forget His duties over my grandson that day. And, of course, ended with, "Bless Mommy and Daddy."

Now it was his turn. "Jesus, thank you for letting G-Nan take me to school. Thank you for all the cars. Thank you for the traffic light. For red that means stop. Green that means go. Amen." 

Wow. Talk about an in-the-moment-kind of prayer!

Later that evening, I joined his mommy and daddy in his room for bedtime stories. What a treat it is to sit in my great-grandmother's rocker -- yes, Jude's great, great, great grandmother's chair -- and read to him stories of the heroes of the faith. As we bowed to pray, Jude got down and lay on the floor. His daddy prayed that God would send ministering angels to watch over him and to remove any drama of the day. His mommy prayed. And I prayed. And then Jude prayed. "Jesus, thank you for letting me play footsies with my daddy." As I opened my eyes, you got it, his foot was stuck up in the air and he was playing footsies with his daddy. 

How is it that a child can so know the art of prayer? Of just being present to the moment and thanking God for it. At what age do we forget that the present moment is just that -- a gift -- and something for which to thank the Giver? When do we become consumed with the "out there" and forget living "Now,' where the kingdom of God exists? 

Somewhere between 4 and 56, I know for sure.

Children. Yes. To such belong the Kingdom of God.

Just an ordinary moment...

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Palm Sunday Reenactment

I so wish I had taken a picture of him. There he stood on the 2nd step surrounded by a host of other little worshipers waving their arms while singing songs to the top of their tiny lungs. The smaller children had processed in to "Hosanna, Loud Hosanna," waving high their palm branches, probably totally unaware of exactly what they were reenacting. They had lined up neatly on the steps leading up to the platform, smallest to tallest -- and may I just say, every one of them was cute as a button.

Even the little boy who stood in the center.

When I say "stood," I mean exactly that. While the little fellow to his right kept hitting him in his face with his theatrical waves and the little girl on his right did the same, he didn't flinch a muscle except to bat his eyes to keep them from being poked out by the drama going on all around him. I was mesmerized by him, and couldn't help but lean over to one of the children's directors and ask, "Who is that little boy?" She whispered his name to me and said, "We hardly got him to walk down the aisle; much less sing." Bless his heart, those big brown eyes just stared straight ahead.

I've always deemed myself a church girl and with that comes loving to celebrate certain days on the church calendar. One such day being Palm Sunday -- the one we celebrate today. But as a church musician, and since most of us don't gather again until Easter morning, I often find myself in a quandary as to what to play on this particular Sunday. Do I stick with the celebratory "Hosanna!" and "Glory, Laud and Honor!" or do I try to incorporate the darker pieces of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday? This morning I chose the latter and used "Go to Dark Gethsemane" for special music in the middle of the service.

I've thought a lot today about that little boy standing front and center. So stoic. So free of emotion or song. And I've wondered: did he get it? Could a child that young understand what was happening? Could he himself have been reenacting the role of Jesus? That One who entered on the back of a donkey arrayed with fishermen's coats because there was no royal apparel? That One of whom the crowd sang, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" as they waved palm branches? That One whose entourage consisted of street people, mentally ill men, questionable women, and inept disciples? Could it be that He alone knew what kind of parade He was in? A parade that was leading Him straight to the cross. And to His death.

Maybe the 2 selections of music were nothing short of appropriate after all. Hosanna and Gethsemane. And maybe, just maybe, that little tyke standing front and center was the only one who really got it. And if not? Well, he certainly played his part well.

Just an ordinary moment...

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Cost of a Super Bowl Ticket

Last Friday evening, we noticed a small pool had formed in the front yard under the poplar tree. Not the kind that says, "Yes! Fresh water! Let's go swimming!" but the kind that says, "Quick, call the plumber!" And call the plumber we did. But due to the weekend, no professional was to show until after lunch on Monday and even then, the problem wouldn't be corrected until the next day. And so we did the only thing we could do: we filled up the bathtub and every empty container we could find that would hold water and turned the rest off at the street.And we continued with the plans for my dinner party on Saturday evening. Yes, it does seem to happen that way, doesn't it?

When someone commented, "How horrible!" I was quick to respond, "Oh, no. This is just a little inconvenience." And I truly meant it. After all, I still HAD water. I poured it out of a bottle to brush my teeth, to wash my face, and take my morning meds. I flushed the toilet with the water retained in the bathtub. I was even given a laundry break! And when we needed to take a bath, my wonderful husband would run outside in the often freezing temperatures, turn the water on, and we'd dash in and out of the showers in record time before he ran back out and turned it off again.

Like I said; just an inconvenience. Not a hardship -- like those in Africa or so many other places on the globe where people really do NOT have water. Or have it in such scarcity that no drop is wasted.

I thought about that as I brushed my teeth those few days. I think about it now as I turn the faucet on. I also think about it as the Super Bowl approaches this evening.

You see, the cost of a single Super Bowl ticket -- as of 3 days ago -- was $5,500 upward. The cost of building a hand-dug well with hand pump that will serve 500 people in Africa? $5,000. OR, for the cost of 25 Bowl tickets one could purchase a "deep bore hole with submersible electric pump and a diesel-powered generator serving 6,000 people."  

That, my friends, is a lot of water for the price of a football game.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not here to spoil the evening nor make anyone feel guilty. My husband and I will be tuning in ourselves to watch from our, albeit, free seats. I just know that this year I will be looking at the crowd a little differently. And I do have wonder just what God might be seeing Himself. Or hearing. Will it be cheers or cries?

All for the cost of a Super Bowl ticket.

Just an ordinary moment...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Coat Closet's Call to Repentance

2015 has found me de-cluttering. Before the year began, I came across an online 365-day plan which would have me clutter free before the end of the year -- in only 15 minutes a day. The entire month of January has found me cleaning out my kitchen. It began with sorting through the now old Christmas cards, throwing away old pot holders, donating multiple cheese slicers, Pyrex and coffee makers ... one drawer or cabinet at the time. And each Saturday finds my husband and me at our local Abba House Thrift Store -- a ministry that supports women and their children.

But before I began disassembling the shamble on the shelves, there was already a portion of my home that was causing me discomfort. My coat closet. It actually started several years ago when I read that the early Christians went so far as to say that if I have two coats, I have stolen from the poor. Surely they drew their conclusions from Luke 3:11 where John the Baptist tells his disciples, "Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none." But the writer went on to say that when we give to a beggar, "we should get on our knees and ask for forgiveness because we are returning what was wrongfully stolen from that person." When read, that's a hard one to forget. And I never have.

With the arctic air that found itself pushing down on us southerners, I could no longer pretend I didn't hear the cry of the beggar. It only grew louder as the temperatures plunged lower. And I knew I was a thief. And I needed to beg for forgiveness.

I opened the door to the closet in the hall and what I saw should have appalled anybody. Not 2 coats. Not 5 coats. Not even 10 coats. But a closet jammed smack full of all kinds of different outerwear. Yes, my husband and I were (and are still) quite guilty of robbing from the poor. All we had to do was look in our coat closet.

Actually, there was an assortment. For my husband, there were some vests, some hunting gear and work jackets thrown in the mix of just plain coats. As for me, mine tended to be more "color" oriented. Black, blue (dark and light), tan, brown, green, lavender. There were "Sunday" coats, casual, and one for every possible climate. And surely that black floor length will come back in style some day. 

There was Columbia, Barbour, Chico, London Fog, L.L. Bean -- just to name a few. Each one issuing forth a strong call to repentance. 

Granted, it's not just coats. Basil of Caesarea touched on a number of areas when he wrote, "When someone steals a person's clothes, we call him a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat hanging unused in your closet belongs to those who need it; the shoes rotting in your closet to the one who has no shoes. The money which you hoard up belongs to the poor."

My coat closet isn't as full as it once was; but it is nowhere near empty either. Might have been easier if John had mentioned how many to give away if we had 30 instead of just 2. But he didn't. All I know is that at this point, there are still a number of people weathering the winter without.

It's quite the call to repentance.

What about you? Got a coat ... or two?

Just an ordinary moment...