Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Even the Sparrow

This blog post was written for One More Child Global and can also be accessed here:

During our first day at the Malnutrition Center, one of the nannies handed me a plate of food and asked me to feed one of the youngest boys in the daycare.  He was sitting in a wooden highchair, firmly strapped into place by a long piece of fabric tied around his waist.  This little man had difficulty holding his head up and controlling some of his larger body movement, yet when he saw the spoon filled with food, he responded with an open mouth.  Immediately as he opened his mouth for food, I recalled scripture from Matthew 6:25-34 where Jesus instructs us not to worry about what we will eat:

(25) Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? (26) Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they? (27) Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Here I was feeding this toddler life-giving nutrition, while the Holy Spirit was doing the same thing for me!  The next day I was also asked to feed the same little boy, whose name I learned was Jose.*  Every single time I called him by name, his face responded with such joy and the widest grin spread across his face.  I knew his name!  Again, the Holy Spirit used this little boy in Guatemala to speak to my heart.   Our heavenly Father knows us intimately; He calls us, He knows us by name (Is. 43:1), He loves us, He feeds us, and He cares for our needs.  

As I attended to Jose, I was thinking about the 11 bags filled with provisions that our team delivered to the Malnutrition Center just a few short days ago. We brought down abundant supplies to care for these children.  They didn’t have to ask for clean clothes to wear, hygiene products to care for their tiny bodies, blankets to warm them at night, or craft supplies to entertain them in the afternoon.  Not one single child worried about whether or not the bags were heavy or if they would make it through customs.  They don’t know worry; they only understand loving care.  

(28) And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. (29) Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. (30) If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe and care for you?

Jesus lovingly cares and provides for us.  He doesn’t count, track, or measure – He personally knows us, even the number of hairs on our head. If he sees when a sparrow falls, how much more will he see our need? If He adorns the wildflowers that no one will see, how much more will He care for you and me? We are called by His name, made in His image, intimately known and loved.

May we all be like sweet, little Jose.  May our hearts be filled and smiles flood our faces when our heavenly Father tenderly calls us by name. May we fully understand that when we lay aside our worries and seek first the Kingdom, all of our needs will be met. 

(31) So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ (32) For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. (33) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (34) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. 

*Name changed for confidentiality purposes

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Surrendered Worship

Last spring I was invited to attend a small meet & greet with Chris Tomlin, followed by tickets to his Worship Night in America tour.   I was able to bring one of my daughters as a guest.  What a night it was!   We got to experience backstage, have dinner, snap pictures with Chris and then worship with the packed stadium.  

Yesterday I was selected to attend a small listening party with Lauren Daigle prior to the launch of her new album, Look Up Child.  I was able to bring one of my daughters as a guest.  What a day it was!  We had front row seats, learned about the inspiration behind several of her news songs, snapped pictures with Lauren and left with a cool swag bag.  

Amazing, right?  Wow, Dawn and her girls really got lucky this year and had the chance to meet two amazing artists in 2018! Well, that’s certainly the social media, one-sided perspective of the story. But, the real backstory to both events makes them even more special than the photo ops could possibly communicate. 

As many of you know, in early April our son Michael was admitted to a residential treatment program across the state to deal with some mental health and addiction issues.  It was voluntary admission, but one that we supported as his best next step.  Nonetheless, my heart was bleeding.  Admitting you are not enough for your child is as tough as it gets for a parent. After I left him that first day the tears were flowing so hard I could barely see the road.  I pulled over to get control of my emotions only to look up and see that the road I was driving on was literally called The Purple Heart Highway.  Clearly, God did not miss my bleeding heart. 

I received the invitation to the Chris Tomlin event a few days after saying goodbye to Michael in April. I honestly did not want to go and almost turned the opportunity down.  The last thing I wanted was to be around people I didn’t know or to be dragged into worship – even though I knew that was exactly where I needed to be.  However, my husband encouraged me to go and take Isabelle along.   As Michael’s twin, Izzy really needed a night of worship too.  So, we went heavy-hearted, but ended up having a wonderful time.  As cool as it was to meet Chris, the highlight of the night was being soaked in worship.  It was a turning point in my heart during that season with Michael away and one I knew the Lord had orchestrated for me. 

What almost none of you know, is that in late July our son Michael was readmitted to the same program across the state.  Nowhere where he was before, but still recognizing his need for more professional help, he voluntarily admitted himself again for help with both anxiety and addiction.  Again we supported his decision to get therapeutic help that was outside of our ability.  My heart was once again bleeding; my dreams were out of control; the emptiness left my heart weeping. On this trip home, Lauren Daigle’s new release, You Say, was on repeat for 3 ½ hours straight.  It was simply oxygen to me. I honestly felt she wrote that song just for me.

“I keep fighting voices in my mind that tell me I’m not enough.
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up.
Am I more than the just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know.”

This week I heard an announcement on the JoyFM about a small listening party they were pulling together for Friday afternoon with Lauren Daigle.  Anyone who could make it to Manatee County during that time was instructed to send an email to the station and they would identify 12 people to attend the event. Could it be that Jesus would once again be inviting me into worship the same way as the last time Michael left?  Sure enough, a few hours later I was selected to attend the event. I later learned the 90-second invite was only shared one time on the radio, which just happened to be while I was in my car.  

As a lifelong Christian, this season of life finds me struggling under the heavy burden of suffering. How can we give up our most precious gifts to God, without knowing the outcome, and yet be so carefully and closely loved by the Father?  I can’t wrap my mind around the juxtaposition of these realities. Throughout every battle I’ve faced with my Lord, I’ve learned to “worship my way through it.”  During our 23-year infertility journey I battled to get my children in my arms. Now, I’m learning to lay them freely in arms of Jesus.  Here’s the beauty in the broken surrender: in laying down my treasures I’m being escorted – literally onto a front row – to worship under some of the most gifted psalmist of our generation.  My response can only be one of surrendered worship. 

“The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity”

~Lauren Daigle, You Say 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Women on Mission: The Ask, The Need, The Heart, The Work, The Giving

The Ask:  Shirley asked me, “What more can we do to help?”  This is a question I receive often in my work as an advocate helping children and families for One More Child.  When people learn of the need, both locally and globally, they are often compelled to help.  Shirley, as head of FirstSarasota’s Women on Mission Sewing Group, wanted to use her group’s time, labor and talents to make a real difference for children in need.  They were already sewing drawstring bags that could serve as luggage for foster children, but Shirley and her team of seamstresses had the capacity to do more.  Several ideas were discussed, such as sewing crib sheets for the Malnutrition Center in Guatemala or making pillowcase dresses for the girls in the Genesis Primary School in Uganda.  Upon hearing their heart and catching their inspiration, I promised to discuss with our Global team and get back to them soon with a project direction for their group.  

The need:  Sometimes the things children and families need are simple and relatively easy for a volunteer or donor to accomplish, such as Christmas wishes and Back-to-School items. But, sometimes the things children and families need to thrive are more complicated, more sensitive, and less obvious in nature.  Our Global team shared with me a need more along these lines for girls in Uganda. While pillowcase dresses are easy to transport and are definitely used in Africa, there was currently a greater need for reusable sanitary products.  Our ministry in Uganda focuses on education and feeding programs, however the girls miss a week each month because they don’t have the same personal hygiene products available to them as girls who live in developed countries. 

The heart: “Shirley, I’ve heard back from our global team and we have identified a project for your group, but it’s delicate in nature”, I said. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect as a response from this untraditional ask.  I explained the situation and the need: disposable products are not a sustainable or viable option for girls in Uganda. They need reusable sanitary products, along with soap and underwear. Immediately her response was, “if you need reusable sanitary pads for the girls in Uganda, then that is what we will make.”  Without further thought or any more convincing, the sewing group picked up the heart of this new project and turned their hands to meet this intimate need of young girls who lived on the other side of the world.     

The work:  A few weeks later I stopped by on a Tuesday morning to check-in on the women and see how their outreach projects were progressing.   Shirley was busy with research and pattern development for the reusable pads. She showed me the prototype.  Tears started rolling down my face as she explained why she selected this fabric over that fabric and why it was important for the girls to have this feature over that feature.  I was overwhelmed with the heart of this senior woman who was filled with such compassion to bring comfort and convenience to children in such a deeply private and personal way. This was mercy.  This was love.  This was Christian life.  The sewing room felt holy to me in that instant.  We all stopped to pray over this new outreach and for the girls in Uganda who would one day be recipients of these special gifts. 

The giving: After months of tediously cutting layer upon layer upon layer of fabric, the ladies had finally completed 50 sanitary hygiene kits for Uganda!  This was no small task!  Volunteers of all ages helped in this project, from the cutting to the assembly stage.  Even Shirley’s granddaughters helped over their summer break.  The seamstresses also created drawstring bags that would conveniently hold all of the supplies, further adding a special touch of beauty to this project. As the bags were being packed up to leave the sewing room, Shirley stopped me and said, “we want to know if these work and what we can do to make the product better.” Once again, I was speechless.  After months of pouring their life into a project, the question was basically still the same:  “what more can we do to help?”

These kits will be delivered to the girls in Uganda with the One More Child mission teams traveling this fall.  To learn more about our work in Uganda, or any of the other 12 countries we serve, please visit: 

Friday, July 20, 2018

Can We Talk About the Use of Technology in Public Restrooms?

Can we just stop for a minute and talk about the state of automation in public restrooms in America these days?

I mean seriously, can we be honest and talk about what is happening in our society?

I want to know why every single bathroom I enter anymore has different automation? There is no “uniform code” to this room that serves, well basically, a basic function.  All consistency has been tossed in the name of innovation. Every toilet, soap dispenser, sink and hand dryer is different. 

Not only is consistency an issue, but also I’m questioning the level of cleanliness in our high-tech johns these days.  Sure, all the flushing and flowing sounds (sinks, I’m talking about sinks here) appear so perfect and orderly when you walk into these rooms, but are these rooms any cleaner for all the shiny and sleek automated chrome?  All that glitters is not gold people. 

I regularly find the whole experience of using a public facility utterly absurd and sometimes even confusing.  Yes!  Confusing!  I’m not afraid to admit it! My issues with high-tech bathrooms has been growing for a while now, so please hang with me as I work through my list of complaints:

1)   TOILETS: Sometimes the toilet flushes on it’s own, and sometimes you are left wondering which little button on the side accomplishes that task?  Where did the handles go?  I simply must ask: if you are getting rid of handles because they are unsanitary, why in the world did we move towards small, little, hidden buttons?

a)    Self-flushing toilets can be their own hazard when they flush in the middle of the personal process!  Can I get a witness here?  
b)   The aggressive nature of the auto-flushing process often showers down water, albeit clean water, all over the seat.  (Note – this ties into my comments on hand dryers).
i)     I’ve yet to meet a toddler that will sit on one of these self-flushing seats out of fear for their very lives!
c)    How about all the water wasted by over-sensitive-self-flushers that run in empty stalls simply because they are on a timer or because a stall door activates the mechanism?
d)   What about those seats with the plastic liners that rotate before you sit down, providing a sanitary experience, but on which there is no upper toilet seat making them incredibly uncomfortable?

2)   SOAP DISPENSERS: Sometimes you push up on soap dispensers, sometimes you pump down, sometimes you push inward, and sometimes you wait for the device to squirt.  I rarely get these suckers right.

a)    No matter which device is installed, these items are always out of reach for children.  Always. 
b)   I also want to know who sets the timing on these squirters?  Am I am the only one who ends up with more soap on the ground or in the sink because I get irritated with waiting and pull my hand away (too late? too soon? – I’m unclear which applies). Adding insult to injury, there’s no way to clean up this type of mess because paper towels are gone in most restrooms these days (again, I point you to the section on hand dryers)
c)    Is it too much to ask that I want to determine my own quantity of soap?  Who measures out that tiny pump of liquid that most of these dispensers release?   Making matters worse, these auto-dispensers are also on a timer!  By the time I realize I don’t have enough soap (because the pea-size amount we are initially given basically produces zero suds [even though the photos on the mirrors over the sinks indicate we should be washing with tons of suds]), I have to wait for the soap dispenser to re-time itself and deliver another portion and by then the water has turned back off!  This is a cycle of insanity!  

i)     Sub-sub-point on the cycle of insanity – can you picture this process times multiple children?  I can.  I’ve been there.  Not to mention little ones who lay their bodies over wet sinks to reach the high-tech-looking-but-totally-stupid automated soap dispenser. (See more on this under sinks and hand dryers)

3)   SINKS:  Sometimes sinks turn on by themselves, and sometimes they don’t. No matter which type you encounter, as I’ve previously pointed out, chances are they will always be a cesspool of standing water.

a)    If the sink does have a sensor, you will be lucky to find that one little sweet spot that actually initiates water flow and stay in that zone long enough to accomplish the hand washing.
b)   If the sink does not have a sensor, you will likely stand at the faucet waiving your hands around for a while waiting for the sink to start running before you realize it’s the “old fashion kind” you have to turn on yourself.  You will also likely walk away from this type of sink and leave the water running afterwards. (See more on this under the combination of automation section).
c)    I cannot express the frustration that I experience when I do finally manage to get soap on my hands only TO NOT BE ABLE TO ACTIVATE THE WATER TO RINSE OFF THE SOAP.  Am I the only one to visit an establishment where none of the high-tech faucets dispense water because their low-tech batteries are dead?   TALK TO ME PEOPLE! ! (YES!  I AM SHOUTING!) 

i)     As pointed out in 2.c.i. – in almost every occasion that I visit a public bathroom, the sinks are covered in water.  It is so gross.  I can’t help but wonder if I’m doing myself more harm than good by attempting to wash my hands in these environments!  You know what I’m saying?   Do I want to deal with my personal germs or the combined germs of every single person who’s visited the bathroom on any given day?  It’s the hygienic form of Russian roulette, I say. 

4)   HAND DRYERS: It’s probably on this point I’m going to draw some controversy, but I’m willing to risk it.   I miss paper towels in bathrooms so much!   I want to be able to wipe down the sink, clean up spills, use the towel to open the door handle to leave the room, just to name a few uses.  Let’s make a deal, shall we?  Whenever possible, let’s do both.  I’ll happily use the super power automated dryer to save trees, reduce waste, and “prevent disease”.   But, can I please have a few towels to wipe down the water on the sink.  Pretty please?

a)    You’ve been reading this blog long enough by now to know nothing is simple.  Even if we are lucky enough to get paper towels in a bathroom, it’s not always easy or efficient.  These devices have the same complications as most sinks these days.   Some you wave your hand in front of, some under, some you crank, and others you pull to dispense a towel (all of which release a towel of so many varying sizes, some of which are uselessly small, but frankly I think I’ve made enough points in this blog post).   
b)   The automated dryers were cool in the beginning.  I was a fan of punching that silver nob and, overall, efficiently completing the task of getting my hands dry.  But, some of the ones I’ve found recently practically hurt in their aggressive drying manner.  It’s somewhat terrorizing to stick your hands down into that style of dryer where you literally see your skin being wrung dry.

5)   COMBINATION OF ANY OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED AUTOMATION:  What to know what drives me nuts more than anything I’ve listed above?  It’s those bathrooms that are combination of technology and good ole’ fashioned plumbing! 

a)    Who decides to have the combination of an automated toilet, pump soap, an old fashion sink, and a high-powered-blow-your-hands-off dryer?  Or a toilet you have to flush, squirting soap, water you assume will auto disperse like the soap, but indeed you have to turn the handle yourself, followed up by a paper towel unit that is jammed and no air dryers.  

PSYC!   Now they are just messing with our heads! Forget norms, now we are just living in plain ole confusion.

Please don’t get me wrong.  I AM VERY GRATEFUL FOR PUBLIC RESTROOMS.  But, I can’t help but wonder, if we are allowing technology to make something very simple too hard? I’m not calling for government standards or anything here, but for crying-out-loud I want to know what engineers and developers are thinking?  I realize that somebody decided to time water dispersion to save resources, but has anyone ever really examined how many times I activate the same faucet in one hand washing?

Finally, while it’s on my mind, I'm happy to report that airplane lavatories have remain largely unchanged as of yet in the technological age.  However I would be remiss not to ask: why do airplane manufactures continue to produce lavatory doors that include giant warnings quoting federal statues and warn against smoking WHILE AT THE SAME TIME include ashtrays in each and every door?  Paradigm much?   I’m so confused by this messaging.

In summary I’m asking:  Are we overthinking toilets in western society?  Or, is this just me?

Ok, I’m done.  (You’re welcome.)  

Next up on my list of social irritations to discuss:  Apple’s headset adaptors, ever-changing charging systems, and those STUPID glass screens.   

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Searching for Rainbows

Several afternoons this past week we experienced spotty thunderstorms in Sarasota, which is pretty normal this time of year.  There’s been a line of threatening grey set against a line of gorgeous blue as the sun begins its slow descent.  I’ve found myself walking outside searching for rainbows.  Actually, if I’m being completely honest, on one of the days I even hopped in the car and drove around searching for this phenomenon that frequently paints the Florida sky.  I’ve been disappointed each day that I could not find one.  

All of the explanations as to where rainbows appear and about the refraction and dispersion of light through water seem to be just beyond my grasp of meteorological science. Although I’ve been fairly certain the necessary components and conditions have been in place for a rainbow to be present this week, there’s not a rainbow to be found. I get that the sun has to break through the rain, but our perspectives seem to be a big key to observing the beautiful prisms of light too. After all, we have to be looking up and towards the proper direction for a rainbow to be observed. 

Why am I searching for rainbows?   There’s probably not one single perfect answer to that question.  I am still having a mad love affair with Sarasota.   Almost 3 years later I’m still shocked that I live in the state I’ve dreamed of my entire life.  I don’t want to miss a single minute of the beauty that surrounds me. I still run to sunsets if the sky appears to be staging something spectacular, pull the car over to snap a picture of delightful scenery, and drive down random roads just to see if they lead to the water.  Simply put, for years now I have practiced stopping and soaking in, well, Florida life. 

Beyond the natural beauty though, I’m searching for rainbows because they signify a promise.  They are promise that comes after a storm. The storms of life often make us cower and run for shelter.  Although rain is ultimately life giving and therefore full of hope, we don’t like the discomfort of being wet and/ or the threat of something worse happening (for instance when our curly hair takes over!)  But looking up changes our perspective. That’s where rainbows appear. They are draped in the heavens, somewhere between the light and the rain, to give us a whole new picture. Rainbows are curtains of color displayed for the promise of hope, newness, and on-going life.  

I guess you could say that I’m searching for rainbows because I am a promise seeker.   It’s also been said that dreamers chase rainbows.  I guess I’m a dreamer then too.  I’m simply a promise-seeking-dreamer. Storms are frequent in my life, just like they are frequent in Florida this time of year. I’m looking up to the heavens and holding onto the promises, instead of cowering to fear; I’m seeking truth that comes with the new rain, instead of focusing on inconveniences; I’m dreaming of what’s ahead for my family, instead of focusing on the complications that threaten to wash away our hope.  

I’m searching for rainbows because I’d rather be found with my eyes looking to the heavens for promises rather than running from the rain.  Admittedly, I might not completely understand the science or even be looking the right way.  But I’m always going to keep trying, seeking, looking, hoping, and searching for the promise of life.  Sometime soon the conditions will be right and I will be looking just the right way to spot a rainbow. I still hear rumbling thunder.  There will be one crossing my path again soon, I just know it. 

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Extremes of Love

The capacity for which the human heart can stretch is astounding.  Our hearts exist on this enormous spectrum that ranges from numbing grief to euphoric joy. There are times when love can fill our souls so full it’s like a balloon filled with helium, demanding release to soar high.  Conversely, there are times when our heart is broken and wounded, when the pain is so great, we curse love, question its worth, and wonder if we will ever feel whole again.  But I’m discovering the most complex challenge for the human heart is when we are thrust into a form of dualism, those situations when we are given great pain and great joy at the same time.  Is there an authentic pathway through the extremes love demands?

In the spring of 2003, my grandma was in a hospital room on one side of the city of St. Louis with my mom, aunt, and grandpa by her side. She was nearing the end of her time on earth and her passing was imminent.  Meanwhile, my sister went into labor with her third child.   My mom left the bedside of her dying mother to attend to the bedside of her daughter giving birth on the other side of St. Louis.  Within hours, my mom was given the privilege of witnessing the birth of another granddaughter, this one who was destined to carry the name of her great-grandmother.   A new Lela arrived while her namesake was passing.  My mom’s heart was required to stretch across a city, across the generations, and across the span of life of death within a few hours.  

These past few weeks in my life have been lived in state of impossible heart stretching.  On one side of this great chasm is a son who is hurting, away, searching and healing.  On the other side are daughters who are thriving, present, focused and soaring.  Then there are my littles, who are in the know, but still somewhat oblivious to the great highs and lows their mama is facing. My heart is struggling to authentically rejoice for my girls, while remaining vulnerable and present for my son, and simultaneously stabilize the environment for my youngest children. I’m flailing here in this place. I feel empty, broken, poured out and utterly incapable of coping in this chasm. How can we love big and hurt deep? How can we possibly live out authentic, honest, yet vulnerable love?  How does new life come out of broken?

I’ve learned that emotional pain and physical pain both emanate from the same areas of the brain. Although science hasn’t yet discovered why our hearts hurt from this pain, they do know our brains interpret emotional pain and physical pain in the same way.  Oddly enough, early studies have shown that taking Tylenol for emotional pain seems to have the same impact as it does on physical pain.  Imagine that, taking 2 Tylenol might actually be a prescription for our souls. 

C.S. Lewis wrote, “To love at all is to be vulnerable.  Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.”  This is after all what our Savior has done for us. Jesus was broken and poured out because he so loved.  His heart broke so that ours could be filled.  Is this not the better way? The broken way?  Are we not also called to broken and poured out, to love without regard, without restraint, without self-protection, to embrace the broken parts of our life?  Isn't this the path to resiliency? Always, the upside-down Gospel of Christ challenges us to view everything differently – even love.  Especially love. 

It’s okay to be sad for what is sad. Ann Voskamp writes, “There is no fear in letting tears come. Sadness is a gift to avoid the nothingness of numbness, and all hard places need water. Grief is a gift, and after a rain of tears, there is always more of you than before. Rain always brings growth.”  Likewise, it’s okay to be joyful for what is good.  It’s right for me to celebrate the successes of my daughters, because as a wise friend said to me:  your girls deserve that generous part of your love.  

You’d think that a broken heart would stop trying to love, but the funny thing is that somehow we still love with all of those broken pieces.  These days half my heart is living in the valley and half my heart is living on the mountaintop.  I haven’t found many roadmaps that show me how to live in both places at once.  I’m learning you have to simply figure it out every day, in every moment, with every breath.  And as always in my story, worship guides the way to life despite the extremes of love. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

In the Master's Hands

I bought a wall clock a few years ago that I really loved, but quickly learned it didn't work quite right.  It was one of those cute, decorative, big-hands, small-battery operated clocks. It fit my coastal chic décor perfectly, but was lousy at keeping time.  Occasionally it would work as expected, but more often than not we’d look up at the wall and realized that clock was seriously behind schedule.  

Over the course of time (no pun intended), we replaced the battery, tighten the screws holding the parts in place, and even bought a new set of hands to try and fix the problem.  Nothing we tried fixed the clock. At some point, the hands just dropped and stopped even trying to move. The clock was simply not functional for the intended purpose of being a keeper of time.  At a loss of what else to do, I pulled it off the wall.   

When we moved into our current home I had just the space for that cute, albeit not functional clock.  I really wanted to hang the broken thing on my wall just because it fit so perfectly.  But, it had driven us crazy before because no matter how much you tell yourself it doesn’t matter that it didn’t work, you still expected the darn thing to keep time. Our brains are funny that way.  We expect a clock to tell time, not just be wall décor.

Maybe it was time to seek some professional help to restore and reset this piece I loved. Maybe there was a master tradesman or artisan that knew exactly what we needed to make this clock function. Maybe somebody, somewhere could help us repair the time.  

There are only three clock shops in our entire community; clearly restoring beautiful and precious pieces is a by-gone tradition in our disposable world.  Walking into this shop, only open a few days per week and only a few hours on those days, was like stepping back in time. From the stately grandfather clocks to the quirky wall-hanging cuckoos, clocks of every size and style were all syncing in a similar rhythm and all dancing together in the expected tick-tock sound.  

As the shop’s aged owner walked towards the front to greet me, I was struck by one particular set of clock guts that were strewn all over the counter obviously in mid-repair.  The hands were separated from each other, laying off to one side was the face, on the other side were some gears, and on the counter nearby was the clock body.  To me, it looked like one big mess of parts.  To the master craftsman, the one with the magnification spec in one eye and a lifetime of experience, it probably made a lot more sense -  something more like a beautiful work of art in the middle of a needed restoration.  

I showed the clock repairer my simple, yet cute, wooden wall clock.  Immediately he diagnosed the problem:  the clock’s guts were too small to function through the wooden frame and too small for the big hands on the front.  The clock needed a bigger mechanism that would be better suited for the size and style of this piece.  For $35 and a few more days of patience, he would repair our coastal clock so that it could function effectively.  

In the midst of the loud tick-tocking, cuckoo-birding, step back in time moment it hit me: the master craftsman always knows what is needed to reset and restore each piece.  Sometimes the master has to get to the core to the matter, by taking the smallest inward and hidden pieces apart, to reset the function.  Other times, critical parts needs to be replaced  with parts better suited for the environment in which they must operate.  

None of the tinkering, simple-repairs by the adoring and well-intentioned clock owner could fix what needed to be repaired with this unit. There are situations when only those with a lifetime of experience and special skills can make the clock tick again.  Sometimes, you have to leave your loved and super cute, yet un-functioning pieces, in the hands of a master.  In those times, you walk away and trust that the Master will complete what he has promised and will return your clock better than it was when it first came into your hands.