I was prepared to be disappointed.
We were headed to the Man Cub’s 18 month check-up, and after a friend’s shockingly bad experience with the same pediatric office, my defenses were up.
And rightly so.
The reception area needed a good sweep. The pile of plastic kids’ toys were fairly dingy – old and worn, broken or harboring dead batteries, pages faded and torn.
I know better than to expect to actually be seen by any doctor at or near my appointment time, but we waited for at least a half-hour and in that time I overheard the receptionist double-book the doctor for the following week because the parent on the other end of the phone didn’t want to see a nurse practitioner and didn’t want to wait a month.
When we finally were led back to an exam room, and all the usual measurements were taken, we waited another half-hour for the nurse practitioner to show up.
In a small exam room full of things that an energetic toddler wants to, but shouldn’t, get into – a dresser full of supplies, a sink, a garbage can, etc. Two chairs, a stool, and a mural on the wall do not keep a one-and-a-half year old entertained for a half hour.
Man Cub was getting irritable, and I was fuming. We’d been there for over an hour. Why close us in a tiny exam room with no toys if no one is ready to see us? How many time slots got double-booked today? Could no one be bothered to stick her head in and at least tell us it would just be 10 more minutes? 5 minutes? 20 minutes? “We’re really sorry, but here’s what happened …”?
The boy was, by now, loudly protesting his confinement, and as I perfectly agreed with his sentiment, I made only very feeble attempts to shush him. Read more…
Once upon a time, as a new Christian, I stood in front of shelves and shelves of bibles in a big, chain bookstore (remember those?) and in my ignorance, grabbed a King James Bible … because it was pink and that was the only variable on all of those shelves that I understood. (And it was wrapped in plastic, so I couldn’t flip through it to notice the archaic language.)
Several years later I had shelved my pink KJV for a New King James Version (a white one, because I couldn’t find a pink one), and the old spine was staring at me from an over-crowded shelf in our little studio apartment. I wondered if there was someone, somewhere who could get it to someone else who might really need it.
It’s funny how a simple Google query can be so life changing.
I don’t know what I typed into the search box, but I found Love Packages pretty quickly. I read the founder’s testimony. The organization’s story. A few dozen testimonies from around the world, and then I discovered that they were HQ-ed about four hours south of me.
I packed my Bible and a few other Christian books I hadn’t looked over in ages, planned a day trip with a friend, and when she fell through I went alone. (Back when there was no toddler. Wouldn’t trade him for the world, but breathe deep the faint memory of that kind of freedom.)
Love Packages is based in a small central Illinois town called Butler that I very literally drove right through the first time I tried to visit – even with a GPS on. After a u-turn, some very slow one-lane (but still two-way) roads, and a hand-painted sign, I pulled into a gravel parking lot at the intersection of three large warehouses.
I rang the bell and stepped inside with my one small box, and there was Steve – the founder and owner whose story I had read the week before – standing amidst a mountain of cardboard and tattered paper, diligently sorting through a much larger box of cardboard and tattered paper. He met me, introduced himself, and offered to give me the nickel tour.
With nothing on my calendar except a four hour drive back the way I’d just come, I stiffed him the nickel and took the tour.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. Read more…
With Back-To-School in full swing, it’s almost painful to even try to remember July. I do remember that it started in one of our favorite places.
It was Man Cub’s first ocean, and he was every bit as excited as we hoped he would be. “Ooooh! Wa’er! More! More wa’er! Oooh, MORE! MORE WA’ER!” The expanse of the Atlantic was not lost on him. He made sure everyone he saw was aware that there was water, pointing it out with unbridled enthusiasm every time, and clarifying, “An’ more wa’er” to anyone who didn’t seem awe-struck at first blush. Crocodile tears the first time we left.
He inspires more than just a profound love of the ocean. At least in us. (These are reformatted from Instagram – text on top of image, instead of underneath.)
His presence is so provoking and so humbling. He doesn’t preach, doesn’t lecture, doesn’t write, or debate. He just watches and learns and does his best, and every glance makes me evaluate myself. Every step makes me want to track my own footprints, and every spontaneous dance party shatters all my excuses. Who ever knew that someone so small could change the whole world just by tromping through it?
But back to July … Read more…