Monthly Archives: October 2014

When You Hear That It Has To Go

Cut it out!

Get rid of it!

Throw it away!

And gradually the pumpkin was transformed into a beautiful jack o’ lantern.

We placed the candle inside the empty pumpkin, lit it

and suddenly the jack o’ lantern shone with brilliance that lit up the whole room.

Oohs and ahhs all over the place.

Cut it out!

Get rid of it!

Throw it away!

It’s all part of the transforming process, isn’t it?

We must wisely eliminate what is not necessary or what might distract from our life’s purpose.

As a writer, I continue to grapple with finding the right words,

I cross out and rewrite constantly

longing to express Truth in a way that can be understood and applied.

Like the pumpkin in transformation, I hunger to become all that He wants me to be.

I desire to learn and to be teachable.

Cut it out!

Get rid of it!

Throw it away!

Sometimes it’s painfully hard to hear that something has to go.

The knife of the wise Pumpkin Carver is sharp and purposeful.

He sees the intended outcome.

He knows what needs to be removed so that His Light can shine through.

Take my writing, Lord, and make it what You want it to be.

Teach me and give me a teachable heart.

Take my life, Lord, and have your perfect Way.

Take out and put in what is best

and give me a heart of patience with the process.

Shine through me with your bright Light

in a world the is desperately hungry and filled with anxiety.

May your Light be comfort and hope to those who stumble in the darkness.

Yes, have your way, Lord, in me.




pumpkin 2014

Life’s Surprises That Mean Everything

Although it’s been more than twenty years since I taught first grade

the memories of those children  continue to fill my life with joy and meaning.

I will never forget that unexpected meeting that I had a few years ago.

It was a seemingly ordinary day that I drove my car to the service station for an inspection.

While they worked on my car that day I sat reading a book.

Suddenly the door flung open and a tall, yes very tall man strode in.

I watched while he stepped over to the counter and began talking about what work needed to be done on his car.

Ordinary. Very ordinary.  At least it seemed  so to me.

I went back to reading my book.

All of a sudden I heard a deep  voice.

“Miss Brani?” I looked up and met the eyes of this big man.

“You remember me?” he asked with a chuckle as he came towards me.

I put my book aside and stood up to greet him rapidly studying his face.

His more than 6 foot presence dwarfed my small body.

“Marcus? Is it you?” I asked and he went right on laughing seeming to enjoy this moment with his first grade teacher.

He scooped me in a giant hug.

Amazing to see your students grow and become almost bigger than life.

Waves of pride flooded  over me as I took in his laughter and joy.

We talked for a while and he caught me up on his life.

He was happy and doing well. I couldn’t have wanted more for him.

Yes, the boy who sat in the first row in the back had discovered satisfaction in life.

It was a shining moment that glistened with joy.


Well a few years later I heard that my boy had been tragically shot and killed.

I wept when I heard the news.

All too soon his life was ended.

But then I thought back to that meeting on that ordinary day at the service station.

I remembered that hug and his joy in telling me how well he was doing.

Deep down my heart was glad that I had had that encounter.

For  long time I could not write about it. It was too priceless.

My boy, yes he will always be my boy,

had learned what really mattered in life.

That mattered more to me than if he had lived to be a hundred.

Yes, wGracie October 2014hat more could I, his first grade teacher, ask for?






I Just Couldn’t Go On

I just couldn’t go on.

It was pouring rain outside. Yes, it was a warm rain but it was literally pouring.

On  my drive home from the office today I saw an elderly man walking.

Holding a red umbrella,

bent over

walking , trudging  through the heavy rain.

I just couldn’t go on.

It bothered me. Why he needed to be in the safe shelter of warmth and light

not pushing through the harsh elements.

But he was on the opposite side of the road. I was not going his way.

It would have been so easy to just keep driving.

Really, it wasn’t my problem. Or was it? My heart pondered the situation.

He was a man and I a woman. I had no obligation to help him.

But…..I couldn’t go on.

All  I know is that at that moment in time

his problem was mine.

Memories came to mind of a time years ago when a lovely lady pulled her van up beside me.

I was drenched in the heavy rain.

“Want a lift?” she called out. I looked at her smiling face and those of her kids

and proceeded to gratefully hop up into the van.

I shall never forget her kindness that day.

Now a similar situation was before me.

I just couldn’t go on.

I drove the car around and came up beside him

Rolled down the window.

He looked up at me through sheets of heavy rain.

Smiled and nodded in the direction of his destination.

I understood and smiled back so glad to know that he was home.

I watched while he slowly trudged up the wet sidewalk and then disappeared through the door.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me that opportunity. rainy evening

We are surrounded on all side by people in need.

Some are more obvious than others.

Even the smallest action of care matters

to the One Who cares for the sparrows.

Let’s write our words with hearts filled with care,

and live our lives  with eyes open to see

and hands willing to give.

Will you join me?

Let’s not pass them by. Together you and I can change this world.