The Hebrews Connection

What if you could tell someone how they have made a positive difference in your life…


Growing up, we had a nanny of sorts who babysat us often and stayed overnight when my mother worked the night shift.  Her name was Monette.  She was in college at the time, and now looking back as an adult, I can see the many ways in which she could have acted like a college student and ruined our childhood.  But, she was an amazing nanny and cared for us as if we were her own.  And to this end, one particular memory stands out in my mind that still awes me today.

My tooth fell out after school.  I was older, maybe 11 or 12, so I was right on the cusp of not believing in the tooth fairy.  My heart really wanted to believe.  My tender childlike spirit had been beaten down and crushed so many times up to this point that it seemed ridiculous to me to even want to place any faith in a money toting fairy in search of pearly whites.  But, there was still that little part of me, that tiny corner of my heart that held the slightest flame of hope.  I think that Monette knew this.  If I remember correctly, I even think I questioned how the “tooth fairy” would come since my mom was at work and she agreed (and showed me her empty wallet to prove a point) that she certainly had no money to pay for teeth.

The next morning I woke up to fresh folded bills under my pillow and my tooth gone.  To this day, I have no idea how she pulled it off.  Did someone bring her the money?  Did my mom have a stash of cash hidden somewhere? Did the tooth fairy actually exist?

What I do know, is in that moment, Monette had a choice – keep the childhood magic alive or allow life’s reality to take over.  I don’t know how she did, not do I need to know, but in that moment, she kept the childhood magic alive for just a little longer.  She kept the small flame of hope burning.  And that flame of hope was about more than just the tooth fairy.  It was about hope and faith and trust.  It was a pivotal moment of believing in the wonder of things, even if they seem completely absurd and holding on to hope that magic can, and will, happen.

As I navigate through my adult life in a grown up world with problems far larger than whether or not the tooth fairy will actually show up, I remember that moment of waking up to find my tooth gone and money tucked into its place under my pillow.  I remember feeling in awe and felt as if I had been let in on a magical secret – Hope is alive and well.  When I look around at my life today, I draw from that memory.  Hope is alive and well.

And in my adult experience and wisdom, I know that Monette had a choice to preserve that hope or crush it.  As I deal with my own children and all those I come in contact with, I guard that truth so carefully.  Hope can be a fragile flame.  Like Monette, I choose to foster it and protect it because I know from first hand experience what a huge difference it can make in someone’s life.  And I am forever grateful.

12th grade Economics teacher

You’d think this post would be about how wonderful my 12th grade Economics teacher was at teaching the ins and outs of economic systems and managing money and such.  But it’s not.  I am embarrassed to say that I don’t even remember my 12th grade Economics teacher’s name.  But I do remember a lesson she taught me, that wasn’t in the lesson plan, that I actually have just begun to understand.

Here’s how it all began: a group of us Seniors, myself included, were talking with her and in conversation were surprised to find out that she was married.  In all of our 12th grade wisdom, we were slightly insulted that she didn’t wear a wedding ring.  Some of the girls actually argued with her about her choice to forego wearing a ring and how it wasn’t honoring to her marriage.  Other girls were just saddened by the fact, as if she didn’t take her marriage seriously. And how could she give up the fact of wearing a beautiful diamond on her hand?  I mean, really, was she crazy?

She went on further to tell us that her husband didn’t wear a ring as well.  *GASP* Oh the shock and horror on our little innocent faces.  As I look back, I chuckle at the naivety in thinking that the “ring” is what mattered most in a marriage and that wearing one was some kind of protective veil against the world.

Bless this teacher’s heart, but she was very patient with all of us and our hemming and hawing.  After all our questions had been asked and all our arguments had been voiced, she quietly said, “My husband and I choose not to wear rings because it is what feels right for us.  He has a job that makes wearing a ring uncomfortable and dangerous.  I don’t care for jewelry.  We know we are married to each other and our promise to each other is strong and true, ring or no ring.”

In typical teenage fashion, I’m pretty sure most of us just rolled our eyes and dropped the subject.  But what she said did impact me and only now do I realize just how much.  I realize how true her spoken words were, over 15 years later.  For quite some time, I stayed in the naivety that a “ring” around a finger made the marriage.  I figured that piece of gold was enough of a shield to protect us from the outside world and the temptations it brings.  But it isn’t the ring that does that.  It’s the vows, the promise, and the recognition that “We know we are married to each other and our promise to each other is strong and true, ring or no ring.”

So to my 12th grade Economics teacher, thank you for teaching me an important lesson about the promises made in a marriage.  For standing up and saying that it isn’t the ring that makes a marriage.  It has taken me many years to finally understand, but your stance on the subject many years ago has sat and simmered in my heart.  With or without my wedding ring, I know that the heart of the matter doesn’t change.  And if there isn’t that purity in the promise – no piece of metal, no matter how big and shiny will make a difference.  This was a far more important lesson to learn than that of supply and demand.  And I am forever grateful.


My world was turned upside down.  It has been upside down for quite some time, longer than I care to admit.  It was a holy mess.  But God loves a holy mess.  Not knowing where to start, a dear friend of mine advised that I should go see Fritz.  “You will be abundantly blessed,” she said.  I respect her deeply and so, I took her advice.  Now, before you think I was heading off to meet some Holy Man or Yogi or something, let me tell you that Fritz is a counselor.  He’s just a man, as broken as the rest of us, willing to be used by God to minister in a caring and compassionate way through counseling.  He’s seen my mess and he has reassured that he is prepared to walk with me through it.

When my friend recommended that I see Fritz, my first reaction (that I, thankfully, kept to myself) was, “oh no.  Not him.  Anyone but HIM.”  I didn’t really know him well, but I had met with him one time and afterwards I was so afraid that he saw too much of my mess and would judge me harshly.  But, I took a leap of faith and decided to try again despite my fears, and in doing so learned that he never had judged me and my original fears were completely unfounded.  And now, as I sit here typing this, I can’t imagine a more compassionate, nonjudgemental person walking with me on this journey.

My mess is… still a mess.  But the wounds within the mess – they are slowly healing.  Some have even completely mended.  I know that Fritz, himself, did not do this.  God did.  But He did so through the work and life of Fritz.  And this, to me, is the beauty in the story.  How fortunate for me that Fritz is such a willing vessel for the Lord to do His good works.  I am inspired to be the same.  I pray daily that the Lord will use me as a vessel to do His good will.  I pray daily that I may lead a life as God honoring and helpful as Fritz’s.

So to Fritz, thank you for being a man of God.  For challenging me to trust, hope and have faith in God’s will for me.  For looking around at the mess inside of me and loving me anyway.  For walking beside me as a true mentor and wise counselor down this journey of healing.  I know the road ahead is long, but I look forward to the journey knowing of your support and guidance, and knowing that God’s hand is guiding both of us along the way.  You are a godly inspiration.  I have, indeed, been “abundantly blessed” by working with you.  And I am forever grateful.

Wednesday Morning Ladies

My soul is weary and parched at the moment.  The stresses and circumstances of life seem to be sucking every ounce of energy I have in my day.  My time is a precious commodity that is in short supply and more often than not I feel like I can’t.go.on.any.further.  I’ve tried hiding away.  I’ve tried withdrawing, as if isolating myself from the world will free up some time and space for me to start feeling…. better somehow.  But, it hasn’t.  What I really need is a deep refreshing drink for my heart and soul and I find it in a group of amazing ladies at a Wednesday morning bible study.

I attended this bible study regularly last year, but due to scheduling difficulties, I wasn’t able to attend for the better part of this “year” when it began in September.  I did attend another study in the evening, and don’t get me wrong, those ladies are great too.  But, there is something about the synergy with the women on Wednesday mornings that just completes my life.  I have missed them deeply not seeing them each week and since I’ve started going back, I feel uplifted and rejuvenated beyond comparison.

These women rally around each other; encouraging each other through the challenges of life and celebrating together with the triumphs.  They share deep parts of themselves through studying God’s word together and lead each other to places in their hearts privy only to the bonds we share on Wednesday mornings.  It is truly amazing and priceless.  I consider myself truly blessed to be a part of it.

So to each and every woman in the Wednesday morning bible study, thank you.  Thank you for being there.  Thank you for caring.  Thank you for uplifting me in ways you will probably never know completely, for even I don’t have the words to truly express all of them.  You all lovingly come up beside me and lift me up while reminding me that my strength comes from the Lord.  You give me the cool drink for my weary and parched soul by gently leading me to the everlasting stream of God’s word and His promises.  And I am forever grateful.


Sandy is my daughter’s school bus driver.  “How would I know her name,” you may be wondering?  After all, how many people are on a first name basis with their children’s school bus drivers?  I know her name because Sandy spent all day Friday calling every single family on her bus route.  Why in the world would anyone undertake such an enormous thing? (and if you think it isn’t a very big undertaking, keep in mind she has 148 children between her elementary, middle school and high school routes…. that’s a lot of phone calls.)  The answer: to introduce herself and provide the necessary route information to each family.

To say I was surprised by such a call would be a gross understatement.  I was astonished when I got the voicemail.  Because of the special living arrangements we have with my daughter, I proceeded to call Sandy back to explain that she is a part-time bus rider.  Sandy and I conversed for about 15 minutes and I learned a few things about my daughter’s school bus driver.  She is motivated to do her job, and do it well.  She is kind and caring and looking forward to learning about all the children on her routes.  And she is an extraordinary person.  I can say with full confidence that I trust Sandy to pick up my daughter and drive her to school.  I know that my child is “precious cargo” in the eyes of Sandy the same as if I were driving her myself.

So to Sandy, I commend you for taking the time to call all the families on your route and for making that personal connection with us.  I cannot speak for anyone else, but for me, I feel 110% confident that my daughter is in safe hands during her transport to and from school.  Your enthusiasm for your job is so refreshing and admirable.  Starting my day by talking with you, even ever so briefly, brightened my day because of your upbeat and positive attitude.  I’m sure that energy will rub off on the children on your bus, and perhaps their days will be brightened because of it.  I pray for your safety and success throughout the school year.  Your job is, no doubt, tiring and thankless.  But honestly, I haven’t ever met a kinder bus driver.  And I am forever grateful.


I had forgotten her name.  I was driving in the car, thinking about her, when I couldn’t remember her name for the life of me.  It was driving me crazy, so I was resourceful and looked it up on the company website.  But it was in that moment of forgetting her name that I  remembered why I started this blog so many years ago.  I never want to forget the names.  Even though, technically, I don’t know the names of all the people who positively impact my life, I never want to forget them.  And that afternoon in the car, a fear that runs deep struck my heart as I remembered everything I could about Carleen; everything but her name.

Carleen was my boss at one time.  Not my direct boss, however.  She was much higher up in the chain of command, and because of that fact alone, I was intimidated instantly by her presence.  But, I had to go on a business trip and as luck would have it, Carleen was my traveling partner.  We shared the same flight and shared a hotel room (can you say awkward?!) and it was during that trip, naturally, that I really got to know her.  I had a deep respect for Carleen from the moment I met her, but as we learned about one another on our business trip, it was then that I began to deeply admire Carleen.  She was, to me, the epitome of strength, power, grace and class that I’ve rarely seen in my life before.  She had a commanding presence.  She could walk into a room and captivate everyone in it.  She commanded respect and she got it, which was a necessity for her profession, but yet she managed to balance her delicate, more feminine side so well.  It was amazing to me, to watch her partition her roles so well – strong leader at work, loving and gentle woman at home.  As I am learning to balance more and more diverse roles in my life, I am even more enthralled by the delicate balance Carleen had struck in her life.  I often think of Carleen as I attempt to turn off my work mode and transition into my home mode so I can be the wife and mother my husband and children deserve while commanding the respect of my clients and co-workers.  It is a balancing act indeed.

So to Carleen, thank you for your example of strength and gentleness as it applies to the many “hats” we often wear as women.  It requires a delicate balance to excel professionally as well as in our own home, with roles that can be drastically different from one another.  You are someone I think of often as a woman I respect and admire.  I think of  you often, and admittedly had forgotten your name.  And for that, I am deeply sorry.  I sincerely hope that by writing this, I shall never forget your name again.  I know I will never forget how much I looked up to you and revered you.  And I am forever grateful.

Diane on craigslist

My week has been wrought with worry as one thing after another came up regarding my son’s health with an end result of dollar signs adding up fast.  Our budget is stretched as tightly as it can possibly be for the next couple of months, so of course, this is exactly the time for unexpected expenses to crop up with my son’s occupational therapy and treatments.  And with the stress of it all, I felt like I might just snap.  But who needs a psychiatry bill on top of everything else going on?

So I prayed.  And prayed, and prayed and prayed.  I showed God my doubting Thomas side.  I questioned, I got angry, I got impatient, I got whiney.  Yes, that’s right.  Whiney.  Like a 2-year-old kind of whiney.  How could He do this to us?  How will He ever provide everything we need?  I came to the conclusion that it would be impossible, and walked away feeling defeated and deflated.  I thought I would have to take matters into my “own” hands.

Soon after that, I was on the internet hunting for the things my son needs at a discount, so naturally I was on craigslist.   I searched my entire state of residence, with no avail.  Getting creative, I even checked other states where I have friends or family members that love me enough to go through the hassle of a craigslist transaction.  I, unfortunately, got nothing.  Even more discouraged and even more angry at God, decided to call it a day and gave in to a restless night of sleep.  When the alarm went off the next morning and felt like a sledgehammer was pounding away at my skull, I broke down and laid it all out before God, asking for forgiveness, mercy and some much needed strength.

Later that day, I decided to retry my efforts on craigslist, and wouldn’t you know, I found what I was looking for located only an hour away from where my husband is stationed.  Not only that, but this normally priced $80 item was being sold for the low price of $40 – all parts and pieces in tact.  I could barely contain my excitement, and anxiety, as I emailed the seller to find out if the item was still available.  To my utter amazement it was, and the seller, Diane, was very flexible with the pick up allowing my husband to work around his schedule to get the item.

I could end the story here and be pretty content.  A prayer was definitely answered as I found what I needed for half the price I would have had to spend on it.  However, even at half price, it was still a huge expense for us right now.  No matter, though.  I wouldn’t hesitate spending the money.  But here’s the opportunity to really see God’s hand at work.  Out of the blue, before my husband went to pick up the item, I got an email from Diane stating that since my husband was willing to drive such a long distance to get the item, she wanted to lower the price to $20.  There are no words to express my awe-struck feelings of gratitude in the moment of reading that email.

So, to Diane on craigslist, your generosity means more to me than words can adequately express and it was truly an answer to prayer.  This experience humbled me, once again, and reminded me that God is much more equipped than I am to handle ALL situations for the better good.  I heard a saying recently that, “Angels are pretty busy this time of year, so sometimes God uses regular people,” and I believe that you, Diane, are an angel sent to answer my prayer and restore my faith.  I feel foolish for ever having doubted at all.  And I am forever grateful.

Crossing Guard

The afternoon started out well enough, but for whatever reason, it quickly turned south as I waited in the car line to pick up my son from school.  It seemed a bit more chaotic than normal and after a few minutes my son still hadn’t appeared at the curb.  No one seemed to know where he was and I was starting to really get worried.  Finally, an aide came out to tell me that they would be bringing him out shortly and a mix up with his backpack had caused the delay.  This aide also asked that I pull up and out of the car line to wait, as I was holding up everyone behind me.  So, I did as I was told.

In order to do so, I had to drive through a cross walk.  Another aide was helping some children across the walk, and as the children cleared the walk (as well as the aide) I crept forward to where I was directed.  What I failed to notice is that the aide had set foot back into the cross walk, on the side farthest from my car.  I know, of course, that it is illegal for me to drive though the cross walk while anyone is still in it, but I honestly didn’t see her turn around and come back into the cross walk.  In any case, she began yelling at me and accusing me of almost running her over.  (Did I mention she was on the OPPOSITE side of where I was driving).  I know I was wrong, but I made a mistake going all of 2 mph.  After she finished yelling (yes, literally screaming at me) I stammered in my defense an apology saying I didn’t see her and that I felt pressured by the urgency of the other aide insisting I move out of the car line.

What a mess.  My son finally came to the curb, sans backpack.  The aides have “no idea” where his backpack has gone and “hopefully” it was simply left behind in his classroom.  They suggest I park and go into the front office to check.  Grrr.  So off I go to attempt to park my car and head into the office, all while my son is hysterically crying because his backpack is missing.

To make a long story short, we eventually located his backpack and we were back in the car, ready to go, a mere 45 minutes after I originally showed up to pick him up.  I was steamed.  I felt so inconvenienced and annoyed.  As I went to pull out of the parking lot, I was stopped by, yet another, crossing guard.  I immediately thought, “great, now what did I do wrong?”

But this guard had a different aire about her.  She was friendly and talkative.  Before I knew it, her friendly demeanor drew me in and I learned all about her life – her life filled with trials and tribulations.  But she still carried on with a pleasant smile and positive attitude.  Another 20 minutes later, I was actually not bothered by the delay in being on my way.  I felt very grateful to have had the chance to stop and talk with her.  What I was so frustrated with in my life seemed so petty in comparison to her life, it was just the reminder I needed to keep everything in proper perspective.

So, to the kind crossing guard at my son’s school, thank you for taking the time to talk with me this afternoon.  Your candid openness about your life helped me remember that we all have crosses to bear and, sometimes, what we think are “big” problems are really not worth the energy spent worrying about them.  Your positive outlook was so refreshing, and I pray for you in your circumstances.  I believe you were a direct message to me from God to let go of things that don’t really matter in my life, and to appreciate the things that do.  I’m just glad you took the time to deliver the message, and share with me about your life.  And I am forever grateful.

Training Instructor

Years ago, when I was in training to become a Gym Director, the company I worked for sent me to some intense training.  It was so intense, it was aptly named “boot camp”, and at the time, I couldn’t have agreed more.  Looking back, it was one of the most stressful situations I’ve ever been in, yet also one of the most rewarding.  It was during that training that I learned one of the most applicable life lessons that applied far beyond teaching gymnastics.

My life lesson came about during one of the first classes that I had to “teach” on my own as a part of the training course.  This was not a practice drill.  It was a live class with actual students and paying parents.  To say I felt the least bit intimidated would be a bald face lie.  I was terrified.  The curriculum for the class was predetermined and needed to be memorized.  This type of class focused on developing motor-skills using gymnastics, music and creativity.  Each week came with a different lesson plan with different skills, songs and educational points.  Trust me when I say, it was a lot of information to absorb in a short amount of time.

Anyway, there I was, staring into the faces of 18 children and my mind goes completely blank.  I looked over at the training instructor with terror,  my eyes begging for some assistance.  His next move shocked me – and shook me to the core.  He slowly shook his head “no”.  WHAT?  Couldn’t he tell I was a sinking ship?  He came over to deliver a quick message, to which he softly said, “I can’t help you.  Fake it ’till you make it.”  And that’s when I learned to really think on my toes.  So, I did.  I made up the whole thing until the longest hour of my life was over.  I was mortified afterwards.  How stupid was I, forgetting everything I had worked so hard to learn?  The instructor came over to me after class as I quickly wiped the tears from my eyes.  He complimented me, “you did great in there.”  I was taken aback by his response, I mean, I had screwed the whole thing up.

And then he explained, “No one got hurt.  Everyone had fun.  No one is the wiser that you didn’t know ‘exactly’ what you are doing.  I call that a successful class for now.”  And this huge wave of relief came over me.  Everything had turned out alright.  It didn’t go “exactly” as planned, but we all survived.  Years later I realized that life is like that sometimes.  Sometimes, you just have to “fake it ’till you make it”.

So to the Training Instructor who wisely imparted a lesson upon me that still resounds today, thank you.  Your words have stuck with me through the years and on some of my more difficult days, I can hear your mantra, “Fake it ’till you make it.”  I remember then that sometimes we just have to pull up our boot straps and keep charging forward, even if the path ahead seems a little uncertain.  And along the way, we won’t always have the answers – but who’s the wiser if we don’t exactly know.  Success isn’t always about getting through things exactly as planned.  And I am forever grateful.


One of the more difficult lessons I am trying to teach my son right now is how to be a gracious person in a competitive world.  His nature is such that loosing and not getting his way invoke strong emotions that he struggles to control.  Of course, this is something I think we all have struggled with at one time or another, as it is our human nature to always want to win and have everything go according to “our” plan.  So, my son has joined a soccer league, and if there is one way to drive the lesson home about being a part of a team and loosing graciously, I can’t think of a better way.

The first practice was tough.  He spent a lot of his time crying, pouting and refusing to participate.  The coaches handled him in a loving, but firm, way and the practice continued whether he liked it or not.  We talked about his attitude after the practice and reviewed the natural consequence of his actions (when you stop to cry during the game, the other players continue to play without you and you don’t get to kick the ball) and discussed how his attitude might affect his teammates.

I was shocked to see such amazing growth on his part during his second practice.  His negative behaviors had been drastically reduced and, dare I say, he behaved as well, if not better, than many of his other teammates.  As the team was preparing for their scrimmage game, I knew this particular time would be the most difficult for him.  At only 5 years old, the actual concept of soccer is still lost on most of the players and it easily frustrates my son when he doesn’t get a chance to kick the ball or score a goal.

One of his teammates, Ellias, is perhaps the most gifted soccer player I have ever seen.  At 5 years old, this child plays on the field as gracefully as a ballerina dances across a stage.  He is a wonder to watch.  You may think, as I wrongly assumed, that a child with this much talent would have a bit of an ego, even at such a young age.  But then, an amazing thing happened as I watched Ellias score a goal and my son stomp and get upset on the other side of the field.  After Ellias made the goal, he ran over to my son and put his arm around him and calmed him down.  My heart immediately leaped to my throat as I witnessed one of the most beautiful and gracious moments of my life.  After the practice was over, Ellias came over to my son and exclaimed, “Johnathan, you did such a great job!  We were on the same team and it was so fun! We won!”  I have no idea what the score was, but Ellias was right.  He was certainly a winner in my eyes.

So, Ellias, thank you for your graciousness on the playing field and for being kind to my son.  I appreciate your positive attitude and your example that is far beyond your 5 years.  I am still amazed by the way you handled yourself and passed on the kindness to my son.  You are a great example to other children and an inspiration to me.  And I am forever grateful.