Love always the moment!

Love always the moment!
Live Like someone left the door open! Credit, Martine Lemens via

Monday, June 5, 2017

Some Angels Smoke Cigarettes?

“God did not bring us out here to abandon us” I said. This was a rare moment of faith and optimism for me since I’m usually a worry wart.
I was with a group of college students on a study trip to Europe and Morocco. There were 20 of us and we were buzzing around foreign countries in three minivans. When we left Morocco half of our group had stomach troubles because of some undercooked tea. We had been driving through Spain for a few hours when several things began to happen at once.
Photo Credit: Matt Willmann via
First of all, one of the vans started to run out of gas. On another van, one student desperately had to go to the bath room.  In the front van, our professor was driving and his assistant was holding the walkie-talkies. The drivers of the other vans were complaining about their emergencies, but the professor’s assistant kept saying that we just needed to go a little further and drive for a few more minutes.
Well, bathroom emergencies and nearly empty gas tanks can only wait so long. At last vans two and three had to pull off at a gas station. Van number one kept going because the professor’s assistant had finally started to ignore the desperate pleas over the walkie-talkie. 
In just a few minutes the bathroom problem was solved and the van’s gas tank was filled with fuel.  But now came a new disaster.  One of the students was getting out of the van to stretch his legs, but when he opened the sliding van door, it hit a stone pillar and literally fell of the vehicle.
We had lots of strong young guys with us who could have lifted the van door back up on the track, but all but one of them was very ill from the undercooked tea from Morocco.
What were we going to do? The professor, his van, and one third of our group was who knows how far down the road and a van door had been dislodged from one of our vehicles. That was when I and others in our group suggested that we pray. Some people were still panicking so I said, “No, God has protected us this far. He’s not going to abandon us.”
We all stood in a circle and prayed for help. We had just said “Amen” when we were approached by a stranger. He was a tall, thin man with long black hair pulled back in a pony tail. He was wearing a green t-shirt and blue jeans. He was leisurely smoking a cigarette.
He looked at our van and assessed the situation and the damage. Then he pointed at the only strong guy in our group who wasn’t sick from the undercooked tea (he was also the biggest guy in our group). Lou walked over and took one side of the door and the stranger took the other side and they replaced it on the van very quickly.
We asked the stranger if he wanted money for his help and he said, “No, someone helped me once and this is my way of paying them back.”
The stranger started to walk away from the gas station toward the highway. Meanwhile we all bowed our heads to say a quick prayer. Now we were in a part of Spain where the ground was very flat, so you could see for miles and there were no other buildings in site. We literally had our heads bowed and our eyes shut for three seconds and when we opened our eyes the stranger had disappeared.
There was no where for him to go and he didn’t have time to run back in the gas station.
If that was an angel who had helped us on that day in Spain, when I get to heaven, I want to ask God why that angel was smoking a cigarette.

When a Little Town Became an Island

When I was a little girl I lived in a tiny town on a big hill surrounded by cornfields. In the cornfields around the big hill with the tiny town are lots of little creeks which sometimes overflow their banks and make little floods.
Flood Image Credit: Anissa Belkheir, via
This is a story about when my little town got a lot of rain and the creeks overflowed their banks and completely covered the cornfields and turned the little town on the big hill into an island.
At first it was fun. Dad woke me up early to go out and look at the flooding because it was the first time that the creeks had flooded that badly. The water was lapping up on the street heading out of town like waves on a shore. Wind blew and the sound of water made it sound like I was standing next to a lake instead of a network of flooded creeks.
The road (normally) went down the big hill and intersected with a major highway (which was now completely under water). Dad and I stood looking out at the flood and Dad said, “This is funny”.
I was wondering if there were more fish swimming in the water than normal.
A few hours later it seemed like the entire town was standing out on the “shore” on the little bridge that usually went over one of the little creeks, but now looked more like a dock.  People cracked jokes about how the farmers should have planted rice or celery instead of corn.
My mother was out there with Dad now and she was joking that we would have to buy boats to get out of town if the flood waters didn’t go away. Someone asked if anyone had called the local TV station.
Then all at once the mood changes a big red truck was driving down the road in the distance. He kept getting close to the flood waters and he wasn’t slowing down.
Everyone got quiet and watched. The truck’s driver must have thought the flood waters would be shallow enough to drive through. He was wrong. We watched helplessly as the truck entered the water over the highway and started to float away. Someone got a row boat out of a nearby garage and tried to push it toward the truck – but the rough flood waters were too vast and the boat simply drifted aimlessly with the current.
The truck started to capsize and my mom told me to look away. But the driver had climbed out of the truck and was clinging to it. We all breathed a sigh of relief when a natural resource boat came and rescued the man.
A few minutes later it happened again. This time a minivan floated into the water and a man, a woman, and three children, crawled out and clung to the vehicle. 
Many people in the crowd began to panic. The Natural Resource Rescue Boat came back and picked up the little family, but instead of taking them away like they had the truck driver, they brought them to the town.
The family had been on vacation and were far from home and had no where to go and no where to stay. One family in the town had a guest room where they could stay and another family donated pillows and blankets. Another family donated food. Everyone in the little town pitched in and made the hapless family feel more comfortable. They stayed one night and by the next day the flood waters had subsided and they could leave.
But on the day of the flood the state closed the highway so no one else could get trapped by the flood waters again.

Now, decades later, the cornfields around the big hill are green and the creeks mostly stay in their banks, but I’ll never forget when the big hill became an island.