The Garden Gloves #2 The Power of Community

As I have thought about my last blog post, I realized there is more to this story than my surgery and the garden gloves. What was unmentioned, yet a key to anyone’s healing and restoration is the power of community. Those pink gloves originated from my time in a small group of people…

English poet John Donne said, “No man is an island…”  This statement rings true in so many areas of my professional and personal life. Engaging with other adults, as you live your life, can be encouraging, uplifting, challenging, and satisfying. As I lead my caregiver support group, I see the power of this either in person or on group text. Someone is in crisis and the group rallies to offer support and love. This is such a blessing to observe and be a part of as I walk the caregiving journey with this group.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 NIV

Personally, when a crisis hits, I need my people. I need to be reminded that I am not doing this alone but have the support and comfort of family and friends. As I prepared for my knee surgery, my family and friends stepped in with amazing acts of love towards me and my husband. Lending a walker, a cane and an ice machine from friends who have walked the joint replacement journey! Then my oldest sister’s week-long driving and companionship, followed by my youngest sister-in-law’s week-long driving and companionship to a friend setting up a meal train that fed us so well for three incredible weeks! Visits and flowers, a sister’s grub hub card to phone calls and a surprise birthday visit from my daughter. And my zoom prayer team’s faithful prayers for my recovery! Each act of kindness was a reminder of God’s love and care.

I share all this to remind myself and those of you who are reading this, simple acts of love can be HUGE to the one in need. Cooking a meal may not be gift, but sending a card of encouragement might. Calling and offering to…can be a huge stress reliever for someone in crisis or recovering from surgery. Spending 15 minutes in a home visit can be the cup of cold water someone needs. Everything we do can represent Jesus’ love to someone!

 “We are intimately linked in this harvest work. Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me. Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger. Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.” Matthew 10:40-42 The Message Bible

The Garden Gloves…a symbol of hope and healing

January 3, 2023 was a date that had been on my calendar for several weeks. My arthritic right knee was scheduled to be taken out, and a titanium one was to be inserted as a replacement. This was not my first go at joint replacement. A little more than ten years prior to this surgery, I went through joint replacement of my left knee.

Joint replacement is not for the faint at heart or anyone who is willing to work through the pain, swelling, and stiffness that follows surgery. Ten years ago, I took 2 months off from work to recover. My memory is full of pain, narcotics, slow recovery, tears and frustration but eventual healing. Arthritis is no fun and replacing an arthritic joint with a new one works. A year later, I felt fully healed and back to normal.

I learned much from that first surgery and assisted many friends and acquaintances through their joint replacements. One particular friend and I commiserated about the whole process but were thankful post op and after the healing. As time went by, more information came my way and I was able to apply that new knowledge to my second experience.

I don’t believe in coincidences and trust that God supplies our needs. From an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon who had both knees replaced prior to my appointment (six weeks to be exact) to the conversation with a dear friend who was three months ahead of me on replacement and had pre-habbed at a local gym, I was equipped with some new tools to make this second surgery successful and different than my first. I learned about Iovera, a Cryovac type procedure that essentially numbs your knee for 3 months. This injection procedure has been around for ten years but not well known. It is offered through doctors trained in pain management. It became the game changer for my post op comfort! Strengthening my knee with a personal trainer skilled in working with people who are going to or have had joint replacement got me off the walker and cane in record time. My muscles were strong as I faced my surgery thanks to George Herring.

So…what about the title of this blog post? Where do the garden gloves come in?

My friend, who commiserated with me over the first knee replacement went first on her second knee replacement. She was 6 months ahead of me with way more work done than my simple replacement. She benefited from my first knee advice and was in my corner for knee number 2. About six weeks after surgery-mid February, a package arrived in the mail from this precious friend. She knew how much I loved to work in my yard and get my hands dirty. A beautiful pair of pink gloves accompanied by words of love and encouragement were to me a symbol of hope and healing.

Already I have used those gloves to prune and fertilize my roses and to spread two dump truck loads of wood chips in my yard. Those gloves make me feel like super woman because my friend cared enough to equip me, even if I wasn’t, at the time, quite ready to use them. My knee is in recovery. It swells, it is achy, and I am probably working it a little too much. Yet, I feel strong because of the work, the prayers and the encouragement I’ve received during this journey!

The Bible tells us to encourage each other while it is today so we are not hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. I pray this post might encourage you or someone else who is facing joint replacement. It can be better than you think! My pink gloves are evidence of that!

God’s Grace Sufficiency

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 2:9 NIV

“My grace is sufficient for you”, said Jesus to the Apostle Paul who was dealing with a weakness in his body or character. This is a real time message to you as a caregiver. As a caregiver, you are stepping into unknown situations, all the time. Whether it is changes in behavior, health declines, unexpected phone calls, you add to the list. In the heat of the moment, any of these can be frightening, debilitating, or paralyzing.

If you can, in this moment, pause. Take a deep breath and detach and bracket the situation right where you are. Take a moment, or several minutes, and go to Jesus. He knows exactly what you are going through because He is with you and has promised to never leave you nor forsake you.

He knows the unknown that we are facing. He is there before we get there. Nothing has taken Him by surprise. You can go to Him in faith and trust that He will help you through this specific situation. His wisdom, strength, His Presence; whatever you need is available if asked for because…His grace is sufficient.

Once you have armed yourself with Christ’s sufficiency, you are ready to un-pause and un-bracket and step into whatever is happening because you have asked Jesus to assist you.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 NIV

The Frosted Coffee

It happened one day as I was out running errands. My family had a love of ice cream. When I became a Dill, I was introduced to an unusual flavor…coffee ice cream. I was a fairly new coffee drinker at that time, so coffee ice cream had to grow on me. Grow it did and I was won over to the Dill side! When ice cream was needed for a family event and especially if I knew my mother-in-law was to be present, I bought coffee!

In 2017, my mother-in-law moved in with my sister-in-law to her home in Panama City, Florida. She adjusted well to her new environment. As time passed, her physical and mental health declined due to liver cancer and dementia. In 2018 mom’s health took a deeper turn and she had a significant stroke in early April. We drove down, stayed with her in the hospital ‘til she got home, and helped get her on hospice while finding a full-time caregiver for her. Cathy, her daughter, taught school so a caregiver gave her the flexibility to continue working. In the fall, Hurricane Michael hit Panama City and mom came to stay with us while Cathy’s house was repaired. Tom and I became 24/7 caregivers to Mom those 3-4 months.

Having spent the past 13 years directing a respite ministry for people with dementia, I felt that I could handle this role. I had lots of ideas for activities when she felt up to them, and I was home to care for her when Tom was working. Besides advanced liver cancer, side effects and dementia from a stroke, Mom had diabetes. I had tried to be control freak in the past about her diet and kept sweets to a minimum when she was around. This fall was different. Mom was dying and I wanted to make her last days as happy and stress free as possible. She was allowed to eat what tasted good to her, while managing her blood sugar.

On that day as I ran errands, I saw on our local Chick-Fila sign that they had Frosted Coffee drinks. “Hmmm, I wondered. Would Mom enjoy one?”

 I turned into the drive-thru and fifteen minutes later I walked into the house with what became an elixir of pure joy for Mom. She drank the whole thing down and was looking for more! Almost every day she put in a request for a Frosted Coffee!

When Cathy’s house was complete, Tom drove his mom back to Panama City. I am sure they stopped and got a Frosted Coffee on the way down. Mom settled back into Cathy’s home but now was giving her the daily request for her elixir. Winter of 2019 brought a steady decline to Mom and she went to be with Jesus March 17 of that year. Earth lost a remarkable woman who put herself through graduate school as a single mom and seminary to serve her church for twenty years in Christian Education. We lost the woman who taught me how to be a grandma. I learned at the hand of a master who loved all her grandchildren and made them feel so special. She was a great encourager to me when I started Grace Arbor. She has been missed greatly by her family every day. My time as her caregiver helps me remember what it felt like to give full time care as I presently counsel with caregivers. She was a great teacher in so many ways!

Yesterday, Mom would have turned 91 years old. I woke up remembering her birth story: about how the doctor who wanted her mom to wait to have her until the next day because it was Leap Year. He wanted a Leap Year baby! Her mom told the doctor she was having her baby that day whether he was there or not! She got her way and Mom arrived on February 28 with the doctor present! Yesterday didn’t end without me making a special trip to our local Chick-Fila. The young man who took my order probably wouldn’t have cared to hear why I was purchasing a Frosted Coffee drink, so I kept it to myself.  I enjoyed every drop of Mom’s Elixir and remembered a wonderful, godly mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother!

Your Care Team…Who is the most important Member?

Every other week a group of women come to my house to share about their caregiving journey. It is a safe place where they can be honest in their feelings and experiences. This group has walked a hard and exhausting journey together. One picture I hold in my heart and mind from them is how they greet each other with true love and affection. They know how arduous it was to even get there; let alone put a smile of greeting on their faces and be willing to engage in our support group.

Caregiving or care partnering is an isolating journey that takes every ounce of strength one has. It is being present 24/7 as your loved one wanders and does bizarre behaviors in the night. It is a time stealer as you miss important life events of family and friends because bringing your care partner might not be appropriate or welcome. It is a financial drain on resources as a family realizes that the cost of care is beyond their budget. This journey is filled with twists and turns more treacherous than a mountain road in an ice storm.

This is where I want to speak this morning. It is a mantra that this group has heard me reiterate often. It is a revelation I received that I think can be transformative to this journey of care. It was referred to in generalities in my training to lead the Dealing with Dementia workshop in 2018. (This fabulous workshop was developed by the Rosalyn Carter Institute for Caregiving and remains one of the most comprehensive books for caregivers of those living with dementia that I have read). In the book which is the companion to the workshop there is a section on the “care team”. It discusses obvious people: family, friends, neighbors, church members, doctors and professional caregivers plus you and your care partner. Pretty comprehensive, correct? I feel there is a glaring Absence on most care teams that need to be highlighted here.

For those caregivers that are believers in Jesus Christ, they were given a gift at the time of their believing: the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has been noted in scripture as the Comforter, the Counselor, the Advocate, the Intercessor, the Revealer; the Spirit of Truth, and Guide. All of these names and their meaning reveal to us that we have a 24/7 Advocate on our side filling us with truth, wisdom, guidance plus the certainty of His Presence always. At any moment in our journey, the Helper is there to give us guiding love and His Presence when we are at our wits end. He truly is our beacon of Hope in the midst of our storms. He is our ever present Help in times of trouble. I cannot stress this truth enough!

How do I know? Because I have walked with Him through my days of Grace Arbor and the years since. As a family caregiver prior to those days, a volunteer chaplain and intercessor, He has been the One I could count on 24/7. Accessibility is a prayer away. It is “asking and you shall receive” prayer. It is saying to God, “I need You.” and then trusting that He will answer. If you are a caregiver and need to gain understanding in this area, please reach out to me. I’d love to talk with you and pray with you. Don’t wait. Your most important Member of your care team is waiting and able to help you!

Peace I Leave You…Caregivers

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 NIV

Caregiving can be a tumultuous time in our lives. We are unexpectedly dealing with a loved one who has changed-gradually or suddenly and now we must reframe our expectations and life goals around this person.

In the caregiving, we might become resentful, angry, weary, frustrated…you fill in the blank. This journey is not for the faint at heart. As caregivers, we must look for ways to bolster ourselves up for the long ride.

“Where do I start?”, you might ask. “Great question”, I reply as I point you to the One Who knows you and your care partner best-God. He is the most important and most reliable part of your care team. He is the One who gives you what we need- peace, hope, wisdom, insight, discernment, and grace when you fail. Fail? Oh yes, you will say and do what you don’t mean to, but in the heat of the moment, it will come out. His grace is there to forgive and reset you on the right path to love and offer grace to that one whose brain is dying.

The best gift I can give you is the best Gift you will ever receive-Jesus and His word. Be reminded of these words of faith you’ve read before..

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.  Psalm 23 NKJV

I love you all. Happy National Caregiver Support Month!

The Red Kong

Maggie in action with her Kong

It happens about every hour when I am home. It begins with a look. Progresses into a nudge or a chin on my knee. If she is really desperate, she puts her front feet in my lap and proceeds to give me slobbery kisses, invariably causing smudges on my glasses. My girl, Maggie, is a playing pup. She is relentless in her asking me or my husband to go outside and throw her red Kong to her.

Maggie is from a long line of dogs at our house. Most of them have been acquired out of the puppy stage. Our first recue, Jackson Lamar, found us when he was a few months old. We already had a full grown, adult dog, but Jack needed a home and he picked us. We went through the chewing on furniture stage with him.  Next came crazy Annie, the pit/lab mix who showed up in our neighborhood with the pads of her feet so badly burned that she liked to just be right by my side. She had been on the road a long time when she found us. A huge challenge behavior-wise, but full of love relationship-wise. We worked with an amazing trainer who helped her become a wonderful pet. She helped rehab my new knee. Her life was cut short by cancer. Then came precious Dottie who was a rescue from a local organization that found her for me. An older adult but quite a lady who became the star of our respite ministry and the love of my heart after Jack and Bambi and Annie. Losing her to cancer made me decide no more dogs…for a few months and then enter 4-month-old Maggie. Maggie, a German Chocolate, is a dog all about play. She loves to chew and retrieve. She loves to steal things out of the house and bury them in the backyard. Nothing living, mind you, but papers and journals and toys.

Kongs by the kitchen sink

The best toy we bought this girl was a puppy Kong. It was small, rubber and came either pink or blue. As the pup grows, the Kongs become red or black. She progressed to red and has stayed on this color. We’ve learned, the hard way, that you need, at least at my house, three Kongs in circulation. They become lost…kind of like socks in the drier, so after a panicky couple days with NO Kongs, I have stocked up. Three on the sink and two new ones in the laundry room.

She likes her Tuffy toys and loves to pull the stuffing out of them, but her heart throb is a red Kong. Every day she is like clockwork. If we come in from our walk, she is ready to throw Kong. If we have returned from an errand, she is ready to throw Kong. Maggie, I have decided, is a great one to announce “Break Time” all day long. I don’t need a watch reminder to get up and move, I have Maggie.

Maggie, Moses the cat, and her kong

One of my greatest joys is to see the grandkids interact with her. I’ve taught them all to be dog trainers and how to get Maggie to work for her play and treats. Our oldest does not have a dog so when he is here, he spends as much time with her as he can. I can relate, I had no childhood pet, either. His sister loves Maggie, but not like him.

Isaiah and Maggie with Kongs

Scientists have great statistics about pet ownership. Stress reducer, blood pressure reducer, companion to counteract loneliness and on and on. For me, Maggie Girl brings the joy and fun into the day. From watching her run, jump, and catch, to seeing her chase the local squirrels out of the yard, at home she keeps me smiling and moving. Can you imagine mowing the lawn while you throw Kong to your dog? Come to my house each week and see this play out. Yet, she is a trained therapy dog and shares her fur with others. Kong doesn’t often accompany us, due to spatial restraints, but she would love to show off her skills if she could.

Maggie sharing fur at Peachtree Christian Health in Duluth Georgia

Where am I going with this random blog? We all need joy and fun in our lives. Life is serious yet the scriptures tell us that laughter does a heart good. If you are in a high stress job, dealing with depression and or loneliness, or just can’t seem to get motivated to move your body, get a red Kong.  You will thank me one day for this exhortation. Oh, yeah, you might want to go rescue a puppy to go with that Kong… I know a great trainer!

Another catch!

Mattie’s Call…Someone is Missing

Today I saw a woman’s face on a Facebook post. She was missing. You know the story…elderly woman with dementia goes down the driveway to pick flowers and is suddenly gone. What do you do if you are this woman’s family?

1. I would like to address being prepared for someone who has dementia and is mobile. Have some sort of tracking device on that person. It could be a bracelet, necklace, or on their shoes or even in their phone if they carry a cell phone. ( Some type of identification on them, as well: their name and current address and possible contact number.

2. Each day take a current picture of your loved one in what they are wearing that day. A current picture helps authorities to have a present idea of what your loved one looks like. That picture, taken every day, can be a huge help to the authorities because you have a description of their clothing and hair color, etc. If you haven’t taken a picture, DO NOT show the authorities an old picture from 5 years ago. Show them the most current picture available.

3. If your loved one is a wanderer, do not leave them alone. If they qualify, enroll them in a day program. If they do not, find people(family member, neighbor, church friend) who can either be their companion or pay for a person to stay with them. Do not leave them alone!

4. Be aware of their former habits. Many people with dementia time travel. Think about places they might go in relationship to the past, ie where they worked, went to church, where family lived decades ago. Especially if they took the car!

5. Speaking of the car, it might be time to take the keys away. Disable their car or sell it. Give them a fake set of keys, if keys give them security.

Now on to what might you do if your loved one is missing…

Alert family, friends, neighbors, and anyone who might know your loved one. Call 911 and ask to instute a Mattie’s Call. What is this?

Created as an Act by the Georgia State Legislature in 2006, the Mattie’s Call is named for Mattie Moore; a 67-year-old Atlanta woman with Alzheimer’s who went missing from her home in 2004. She was found dead eight months later in a wooded area about 250 yards from her front door.

From the Mattie’s Call website:(

Mattie’s Call Act, enacted April 28, 2006, is located in Article 7, Section 1 of Georgia House Bill 728. Mattie’s Call is a state-wide emergency alert for missing adults with disabilities, broadly defined as “individuals who are developmentally impaired or who suffer from dementia or some other cognitive impairment” by Georgia legislature. The system is activated by local law enforcement agencies, who notify the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (G.B.I) in the event of a missing person. Although families are not required to provide specific documentation to initiate Mattie’s Call, preparing the necessary information in advance may quicken the investigative and recovery process.

What is required to activate Mattie’s Call?

Although families are not required to provide specific documentation to initiate Mattie’s Call, assembling records about the missing person’s appearance, diagnosis and behaviors in advance may accelerate the investigative and recovery process. In this section, we explain Mattie’s Call activation criteria and discuss how to prepare the essential information that law enforcement agencies need to initiate the statewide alert and locate your loved one.

Criteria 1: A local law enforcement agency believes a disabled person is missing and is in immediate danger of serious bodily injury or death.  

Proof of disability may be a letter, report or statement from the missing person’s primary care physician or relevant medical professional on official letterhead stationery. The statement should report the overall health of the individual, including all chronic conditions, and clarify the potential health consequences if the individual is not promptly and safely recovered. Records from a federal agency that issues disability benefits, such as the Social Security Administration, may also be sufficient.

Criteria 2: Through its own investigation, the law enforcement agency verifies the disappearance and eliminates alternative explanations for the disabled person’s disappearance.  Families should be able to explain the missing person’s typical schedule and the circumstances leading up to his or her disappearance, including the time and location of where the individual was last seen, the name and contact information of the last person who saw the individual, and the direction the individual was traveling. Be sure to mention if the individual exhibited any self-injurious behaviors or an unstable emotional state in conversations prior to his or her disappearance.

Criteria 3: Sufficient information is available to disseminate to the public that could assist in locating the disabled person.

The local law enforcement agency will need descriptive information about the missing person to activate Mattie’s Call. Necessary information includes the individual’s full name, date of birth, birthplace, nickname(s), and current and former addresses and employers. Families should also have access to a recent photograph and be able to provide the missing person’s race, sex, age, height, weight, hair color and length, eye color, facial hair, and visible distinguishing marks (birthmarks, moles, scars, tattoos). Remember to provide the missing person’s preferred modes of communication, and explain any social, language, and emotional difficulties.

Law enforcement will also need specific information about the missing person’s appearance the last time he or she was seen, including the style and color of the individual’s clothing and footwear, glasses (if applicable), jewelry (if applicable), and headwear (if applicable).


Criteria 4: The missing disabled person is entered into the National Crime Information Center (N.C.I.C.) database.

National Crime Information Center’s (N.C.I.C.) Missing Person File, managed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, contains records for missing adults with disabilities until “the individual is located or the record is canceled by the entering agency.” For missing adults with disabilities, law enforcement agencies must file a missing persons report using the E.M.D. category (verifies that the individual has a “proven physical or mental disability”) and provide signed documentation from a parent, legal guardian, next of kin, or another reliable source to verify contents of the report.

Criteria 5: The law enforcement agency must issue a statewide broadcast to law enforcement/911 centers and contact local media regarding the missing person.  

The law enforcement agency will notify other agencies, centers, and offices in the state. A non-profit organization, A Child is Missing, and the Georgia Lottery Corporation will also be informed. A Child is Missing uses recorded telephone messages to alert residents and retailers in the area the missing individual was last seen. The Georgia Lottery Corporation leverages businesses in the target area to disseminate information about the missing person to its customers.

The profile of the missing person will be posted on Georgia Association of Broadcaster’s AlertNet.

In closing, if you have a loved one with dementia, be proactive rather than reactive. Be three steps ahead of where they are. Plan ahead for the declines and be informed and educated! I can help…


The now empty Blue Bird Box

It is now quiet and still at 1 Bluebird Box Way, aka the blue bird box in my backyard. Yesterday was “Release or Fledging Day” for the five babies whose life began a month ago. You may have read my former blog about the discovery of five eggs back in May. I must admit, while I rejoice in these babies growing and flying out of their first home, I am sad. I will miss the daily interactions I had with them as I watched their parents strive to provide for their needs.

Feeding Babies
Cleaning the nest

It has been an active couple of weeks for Momma and Daddy Blue Bird. First, laying on the eggs until they hatched. Then, looking for food, dodging predators, feeding babies, and cleaning the nest. Every morning I sat and watched the production unfold. It was a glorious couple of weeks after the babies hatched. Oh, there were frightening storms, during which I prayed for those little eggs and then hatchlings. There was cold weather and now, extreme heat. These little ones have been resilient, as have their parents. The parents, once babies themselves, were raised that way.

5 Baby Blue Birds left quite a disgusting mess after they fledged

Today, as I have examined the empty nest and all the residue of life with five growing hatchlings, I’ve asked God what He wants me to understand about this time. I have sensed that He has given me some perspective on the messy, busyness of raising young and then the pain and subsequent silence of releasing them into the world. This releasing, on our part, takes great faith. We must trust that all we have poured into our young will not be in vain. Oh, they may stray, yet, as Christians, we can trust that they will return, with a lively testimony and their own faith intact. Like the present Blue Bird parents, we do not abandon them to this new adult world. The Blue Birds continue to feed and nurture them out of the nest until they are ready to be totally on their own. I remember this season with our two college-age young adults. Encouraging from afar, daily prayer for their safety and friendships. Not always present, but close in thought and prayer. My quieter life, sometimes melancholy due to missing their physical presence, yet full of hope for their future. Presently, today, seeing them as parents whose days are busy and messy, raising their own brood.

Today I will clean out the mess of the box. I will remember the valiant couple who so diligently raised their babies. I will hope to see new nestlings in the future; nearby with the grown babies raising their young! I echo this hope for my own family…enjoying time with the new generation; my grandchildren. Geographically far but near in thought and prayer.

Mirroring One Another

It happened one Thursday morning at the O’Kelly Memorial Library in Loganville. An unforgettable experience that has caused this grandmother lots of pondering time. It was an unexpected observance of two little boys meeting for the first time. It truly was a divine appointment; I observed and was taught.

Back in April of this year I began reading to the kids at this library. It is called Storytime and it meets at 10:30AM on Thursdays. A neighbor and I switch off weeks; it has become a precious time of getting to know the families in our community.

During this time, I have met two boys; brothers who are regular attendees. The oldest is about six and his name is James. Oh, and he is white. On this day we were doing a craft that went along with the story I read. A mom entered our area with two adorable little boys. They were all black. As they entered, I welcomed them, and introduced myself. I asked the boys their names. The oldest, who was very outgoing with a big smile, told me his name was James!

“James?”, I said.  I walked him over to the other boy whose name was the same and said, “James, meet James.” I turned to the dark James and said, “James, meet James.”

The black James got a huge grin on his face and with an excited voice said, “We are mirrors!” And off they went talking and doing their craft.

WE ARE MIRRORS…out of the mouth of babes… a little child will lead us… Two little boys engaging at the library as opposite in color as they could be and one says to the other: we are mirrors.

I have pondered this for the past few weeks. What does it mean to mirror another? To be a reflection? How did this 6-year-old see this and most adults can’t? To be so free with our engagement that we look past the outward and see the heart.

WE ARE MIRRORS… we will reflect something to another. Will it be love or hate? Kindness or selfishness? Patience or frustration? Attention or indifference?

Listened to him on “That Sounds Fun” Podcast and bought this book

During this time, I was reading two books; one non fiction and the other fiction. Both concerning the issue of race. The non-fiction book is entitled How to Heal Our Racial Divide by Derwin L. Gray. I heard him on a podcast and purchased the book. I am learning a lot about God’s idea of our differences and that Jesus has brought us together as one. I am reading this book slowly and thoughtfully.

Saw this in the O’Kelly Library on the new book shelf
and checked it out. Great read but a lot of language.

The fiction book is entitled The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocomb. It is an enlightening read about the struggles of a black violin protégé and all he went through to become a master violinist including the racial barriers he endured. (Warning: there is a lot of language in this novel). I messaged the author of this book and told him how great the book is and how much I learned. I told him how my heart hurt as I read about the assumptions people made about the main character based on the color of his skin. I told him it made me pause and ask myself if I had acted in this way. I blessed him for opening our eyes, through his writing, to our failures so we can strive to honor each other and not disparage each other. He messaged me back and we had an incredible dialog!

Mirroring one another…This is something that I ask Jesus for in my prayers…to be able to see others as He sees them; hear as he hears; and to respond as He would with His love. I want to be a mirror of Jesus and look past the differences that I might have with another. I want authentic engagement and friendship. I want to reflect Jesus to the children and adults at the library and anywhere else I go. I am challenged and humbled to do this as I go.

May I challenge you as well? As Derwin Gray encourages in his book, “look for intentional ways to build cross-cultural friendships, where you seek to learn from your siblings of different ethnicities.” Gather a group of neighbors or church buddies and thoughtfully read and dialog through this book. Mirroring another might become a way of life, especially if the One is Jesus Christ. It will take time and effort but I believe it can be a culture changer!