Happy Winnie The Pooh Day!

Did you even know there was such a thing as Winnie The Pooh Day? I did not until it was upon us today!

Here’s my Pooh history:

I don’t remember being particularly enamored with WTP in my early years, but perhaps I was, because on our very first trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, in 1972, my grandparents apparently offered to buy me something, and it was Pooh I chose.

(Incidentally, I must have been a fan of larger animals and dolls; I also had a HUGE Snoopy, courtesy of my uncle Mitch, and a big, nearly life-sized doll called Blue Boy who had belonged to my dad.)

So Pooh came home with me and took up a permanent spot on my bed, as the guardian of my pillows. He was comfy; as a small child, I used him almost as a bolster pillow, leaning against him as a read.

But my most vivid memory of Pooh is that my dad hated him. I have no idea why Daddy despised WTP; perhaps the voice, slow and somewhat measured and sometimes a bit daft, irritated him. Whatever the cause, he did.

When I was about four, I began having nosebleeds, particularly at night. It was alarming to me, and I would become very frightened. Daddy decided to blame Pooh for the nosebleeds, and he would give the bear a soft punch to make me giggle and take my mind off my fear.

Pooh is still with me. Many of my childhood favorites have gone by the wayside; I don’t know what happened to the supersized Snoopy or Blue Boy or some of my most beloved dolls (I know where my Barbies are, but that is another story) , but Pooh remains–he’s outlived Daddy, something that I think would make my father chuckle ruefully.

What is it that we love about this silly old bear? Well, for me, it’s more than just Pooh himself; it’s the community about him, Piglet and Eeyore and Owl and Kanga and Roo and Rabbit and TIGGER!! It’s the relationships between all them and of course Christopher Robin, too.

The other day, I introduced Delia to one of my favorite Pooh story–the one where Pooh visits Rabbit, eats too much honey and gets stuck in the hole trying to exit. We both giggled, and then I showed her Tigger and sang her the song (The Wonderful Thing about Tiggers!). I hope she’ll enjoy those old tales as much as I have and as much as her mother did.

Today, I’m going to give my silly old bear an extra cuddle and listen to Kenny Loggins sing about Pooh Corner. I’m going to think about a time when the world was kinder and imagine that if we all took a lesson from Pooh and friends, we might be better off.

Happy Winnie the Pooh Day! <3

Lessons from a garage sale

Over the past three years, since my husband’s ministry launched, we’ve had a lot of garage sales. Honestly, we’ve always been a family who did sales about twice a year, but when having one can mean the difference between eating and not, they tend to take on a different meaning.

I have often been guilty of just dragging out the stuff we’re selling and determining price when someone’s interested, but for today’s sale, I actually spent time organizing it, pricing it and having everything set up on tables so that I could just open the doors at 8 AM. I posted an advertisement on Craig’s List, listing a bit of what we were selling.

This morning at 7:30, I went out to finish up the last few things before opening the garage door. When my husband came in from a quick grocery store trip to get coffee, he told me there were three cars parked outside, and someone had asked him if we were opening at 8 on the dot.

That isn’t entirely unusual; particularly if you advertise certain items, early birds will show up. Still, I decided that since I was all set, I’d go ahead and start opening the door a bit early, at about 7:50.

I was not prepared for what met me. People standing outside the door began pushing in, all of them yelling and asking me where the jewelry was. I had had the foresight to keep the more valuable pieces inside, so no one could get to it, even as they attempted to begin combing through items on the tables, as my husband and I tried to move things out.

It was bedlam. Once I’d moved the tables into place, I brought out the pricier jewelry. And then things really got interesting.

People yelled. They grabbed. I was scratched on the arms as each one tried to snatch up his or her fair share–or more. They fought with each other. They were nasty, mean-spirited.

In the end, while I sold all of the pieces save one, I’m sure I was taken advantage of in terms of price, because I was completely overwhelmed and almost sickened by the entire process.

In all of my years of hosting sales, I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve met quirky people; I’ve certainly met pushy customers who have tried to get me to lower the price on things that they knew were valuable. I’ve met those who bordered on rude. But most people who frequent sales are kind, generous, friendly and interesting. We’ve been especially impressed by how many people are supportive of the ministry and eager to help us keep it going, or at least want to know more about our mission.

Today was beyond the pale.

It wasn’t long before all of the ravenous gold buyers had left, and one man who’d arrived later lingered. He’d seen the tail-end of the feeding frenzy and asked me about it. I told him a bit of the bedlam, and then I offered to let him look at the one remaining ring I had, the piece that had been at the center of much of the contention.

He examined it and handed it back to me. “Your price is right on,” he told me. “Don’t let them talk you down.” A few minutes later, he left and then came back with an official gold scale, weighed the ring for me and showed me the value, proving that what I’d been asking for wasn’t unreasonable.

In the face of so much greed and nastiness, he was kind and generous with his time and information.

A little while later, a lady who’s been at my past sales came by. We chatted briefly about the jewelry vulture experience, and then she said, “Well, hopefully you made enough to make your rent.”

I sighed and told her that we hadn’t yet. She nodded.

“I’m not a religious person,” she began. “I don’t really believe in anything. I don’t go to church. But I was here before, and I heard you telling someone that everything works out. You said that God had taken care of you before. I remember you saying that. If he did then, I think he will now, too.”

My breath caught because this woman was saying precisely what I needed to hear, at the moment I needed to hear it. She didn’t buy anything, but she actually gave me more than anyone else did today.

As I sit tonight, considering how the day went, I could focus on the people who swarmed me early in the morning. I could be sad that we didn’t sell more, that my porch is filled with unsold items that will be donated later this week.

Or I could be grateful for the man who reassured me that I hadn’t held out too long on the price of the ring. I could focus on the woman who reminded me that it’s going to be okay, who reminded me of my own words. I could appreciate that we did make something toward the amount we need.

You don’t have to be religious or even spiritual to choose your point of focus. You just have to shift perspective . . . make the choice to see what is positive. I’m not preaching here. I know how hard life can be. Trust me.

But I’m going to do my best to look at the sunny side whenever can. Won’t you join me?

 

Love stories for our era

In the late autumn, I was exhausted after back-to-back-to-back travel, and I spent a few days hiding in bed with only my phone and the remote to my Fire stick. As I surfed Prime, Hulu and Netflix, I spied a promo for a show I’d been seeing for a while and decided to give it a shot.

Modern Love reminds me vaguely of the old Love, American Style show that I watched in the Dark Ages, except that this version is more serious, less fun and frolics than it is a study of the intricacies and pitfalls of love in the twenty-first century. There are eight episodes, each with a different couple and a different set of complications. The couples vary in ages and situations, but all of them live in New York City–which makes sense, as the show is based on the weekly column of the same name published by The New York Times.

I watched four episodes that first day, I think, and then I’ve enjoyed the rest of them over the past couple of weeks, finishing the last two today–and I’m not ashamed to say that I sniffled through the last one.

These romances are not painted with a rosy, unrealistic hue. The characters are real and flawed, and some of them are somewhat unlikable . . . and yet the stories themselves are all appealing and enduring. They are most of all real.

My favorites were episodes one, three, seven and eight–but I really loved them all. I recommend this series and suggest that if you can, watch all eight together. It will make the ending that much sweeter.

I’d love to hear what you think about Modern Love!

Yes, I am a Nana!

I’m thrilled to announce that our first grandchild, Delia Joy, was born on Sunday, January 13th. She weighed in 8 pounds and is gorgeous!

A few pictures of her being welcomed to the family . . .

Building Community in Love and Hope: Why and How and Where We Are

Community is a huge deal for me. It’s one of the main reasons I write books, and one of the unexpected benefits to being an author. I’m blessed to have a group of readers who support one another in love, across miles and time and space. This is enormously important to me.

That’s also why my husband and I feel God has called us to the ministry of community. We want to offer hope. We are called to a belief in hope.

Read more about our ministry here.

We work hard all the time to use the resources God gives us wisely, whether that’s supporting others in need, providing meals, buying necessary items for The Community Garden or being able to pay our own rent, utilities, gas and food.
 
We rely wholly on donations for the ministry’s support. We are SO grateful for every little bit given. Nothing is ever taken for granted. Nothing is wasted or unappreciated.
 
God is good, and His provision is perfect. At times, in the beauty of His economy, He moves others to donate in order to bless both the giver and recipient.
 
So although we don’t like to ask for anything–we try to be as self-sufficient as possible–this month we do need to ask for help. I’d like to share our blessings and the associated needs.
If you are so moved, you can help by donating at YouCaring (https://www.youcaring.com/thecommunitychaplain-880048) OR by donating through our dedicated PayPal button: paypal.me/TheCommunityChaplain .
BLESSING: When God called us to this ministry, we had no idea what it would look like. We didn’t know to whom we would be ministry or what it would involve. We only knew God was asking us to rely wholly on Him and to trust in His leading and His provision. At first, that meant a lot of empty downtime for Father Clint, who had to learn that God calls us to seasons of rest and reflection as well as to seasons of work. Now it is definitely a season of work! Clint is on the go 7 days a week. He drives as far as he must, and we are grateful for the blessing of his old truck, which gets him from point A to point B without too much worry.
NEED: Clint is so busy now, ministering around central Florida on a daily basis, that his gas costs are climbing. His truck is about to lose a tire. The transmission fluid needs replacing. He does all the work himself, but parts are still pricey. 

BLESSING:

Our third daughter Cate is in her last month of her first year at Unity College in Maine. This education was entirely funded by a wonderful scholarship from Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. We are grateful, and even though there were times throughout the year when we weren’t sure how she was going to cover things like car insurance, gas and flights home for holidays, God provided.

NEED:

Cate’s car is in serious mechanical trouble. The experts in Maine have advised that the engine needs to be replaced. She needs to get it home to Florida, if she can, so that she can drive to her internship in Fort Myers this summer. She plans to drive it as far as Gettysburg in May, where we have a trusted mechanic who can give her an honest assessment of its future. PLEASE PRAY for Cate and Haley’s safety as they drive from Maine to Pennsylvania, for good news about the car, and for provision for them to make it back to Florida.

BLESSING: 

My book sales have been able to sustain us for nearly a year, covering our rent (which is amazingly reasonable, thanks to our wonderful landlady), our utilities (electric and water–we don’t have landlines or cable) and our food, as well as providing enough to pay for Clint’s gas, car insurance, the costs of providing for those who are in need of food or other essentials, and certain associated costs of doing pastoral work.

NEED: 

In February and March, sales dipped to an all-time low for me (and for many other authors). Since royalties are paid on a 90 day basis, that means that May and June are going to be challenging months. I’ve looked into getting a job to help supplement my author income, but so far, we’ve only hit dead ends there. Please pray for God’s provision so that we can continue to keep a roof over our heads, the lights burning and food on the table.

BLESSING:

A new senior living facility opened this spring, and Clint approached them to offer pastoral help. We weren’t sure what was going to come of it; believe it or not, people are very suspicious when free services are offered. However, slowly Allegro began to ask Clint to do things–to lead a weekly Bible study–and then offered us the use of their facilities for our weekly service. Clint now leads a weekly service for the residents and the larger community, as well as services for the memory care unit.

NEED:

While Allegro provides us the linen for the altar, the cross, the candles and the room itself, we provide the elements for Eucharist (grape juice, wine, matzah, oil). This isn’t much, but it’s still a weekly need.

BLESSING:

The Community Garden is a huge blessing! It teaches us so much–patience, trust, endurance–and its fruits (well, they technically vegetables!) go to feed those who might otherwise not have fresh produce. Plus, it opens opportunities for people of different generations to interact and work together.

NEED:

The Garden has needs if it is to keep growing (literally and figuratively!). We need equipment for irrigation (about $100). We need a new wheelbarrow (about $75). We need seeds (about $50). We need physical help–every Saturday from 9-12, a group meets at the garden to work.

Again, if you are so moved, if you feel God is asking you to help in any way–feel free to reach out to me via email (tjkandle@gmail.com) or comment here, or message me on Facebook.

And again–if you are so moved, you can help by donating at YouCaring (https://www.youcaring.com/thecommunitychaplain-880048) OR by donating through our dedicated PayPal button: paypal.me/TheCommunityChaplain .  

For more information on The Community Chaplain, you can check out our website, visit our Facebook page (and The Community Garden page!) and sign up for our periodical newsletter.

And prayer support and encouragement is always appreciated.

Thank you and bless you for your support and encouragement!