Saturday, February 21

i see a light!
a pin-point on the screen
of a million stars. but a
little brighter than the rest.
a new seed planted.
sprouting like a clean, new
morning. i finally had the
courage to read your responses
to my new blog. your wounds.
your dreams. reaching out to
me so we can join hands again.
reach for the stars. believe,
with all our hearts in our giant
God...and He, plus love, can change
everything. i love you. i welcome
you back into my life and journey.

i hope that none of you thought
that quietly raising my children
the last fourteen years changed the
passion and love i have for Jesus!
never! never! never!

in fact, yesterday, i was standing
in an aisle at target, and knocked
something over. my long, skinny legs
reached, on tiptoe, and
i knocked a strip of price codes
to the floor. the lady standing
next to me said she had just
had back surgery, and couldn't
pick it up. i smiled at her.
my face suddenly flushed with

back surgery? ouch!!
i shattered my femur in my
left leg last year, to my hip
bone, and i know, for sure, what
bone pain is.

oh, then you know.
you look strong today.

well, i am a fighter.
when they told me i'd probably
be walking with a cane in 6 months,
i wept for a day. i'm a runner.
the wind in my face. the en-
dorphins pumping. with tears of
agony, i started walking the halls
of the hospital.
and every morning and afternoon,
i doubled the distance. nurses
started standing in the aisles,
cheering me. but...

i told them they could praise me for
staying fit and running marathons,
but this?! no! this was about Jesus.
His power. His love.

tears began to brim in this lady's
eyes. and spill over. she reached
her arms around me, and i hugged
her, and kissed her cheek.

my neighborhood.
God put my clumsy self
right in the same aisle with her.

oh, the sky is painted yellow.
a million red balloons.
Jesus written across
the horizon. darkness made light.

God loves you,
and i love you,
and that's the way
it should be!

i was at the legal aide office
in sacramento. i have learned
the least some of it...for
desperate, single mothers. i had a
problem, and was waiting for my
appointment when an african-american
woman sitting next to me asked
if i was there about housing.

are you in a desperate place, too? you think they can charge
me rent when they are evicting us?

hmmm. i wouldn't think so,
but i don't know much about
that area.

she looked anguished.
desperate. abandoned.
i know those feelings.

i took her hand in mine.
Jesus is bigger than the legal
system. don't plead with Him.
begin to praise Him that He
never abandons us. never!
thank Him for this struggle,
and that He is going to fix it.

a surprise.
a star in the sky.
out of the ashes. before our
very eyes. beauty rising,
and taking form. and
all that we most feared
gone! flattened. levelled.
and the miracle we need
fulfilled in ways we had never

my name is charelle.
charelle, my name is ann,
and i'll be praying.
i need a miracle too.
we will stand together.
mothers crying out
in praise.

Jesus puts people right in
front of us. we never have to
be looking.

brandt's best friend's father
was having a birthday
cookout. brandt was invited.

mom, i know what i want to give
tyler's dad. there are only two things
i know he really likes:
bud light and cigars.

i looked over with a frown.
honey, you cannot take either of
those to the party.

but mom, birthday gifts
are to make people happy!!

i was grateful the party wasn't
until a few days later. i began
to try and come up with something
acceptable for this non-church
going man. i knew tyler's mom
more than i did him.

suddenly, the day had arrived.
other things had crowded out
all thoughts of this party.

brandt, our money is tight.
let's go to chevron, and see
what they have. but NO
bud light or cigars! he was unhappy.

we are both roaming around
the store. here are the cigars, mom!
brandt, men have special tastes in
cigars. keep looking.

mom, they have separate
cans of bud light. we could
get him just one.

our dialogue raised
an octave. no one else was in
the store, and our emotions,
on both sides, were unraveling.

finally, i conceded.
okay. ONE can of bud light.

i looked toward the front of the
store, and saw the cashier with
her hand over her mouth, unable
to stop smiling.

mom! brandt whispered.
don't say anything that will
embarrass me. just pay for it,
and carry it out.

we pulled up to tyler's house.
i asked brandt to ask tyler's mom
to come out to the car.

lorin, please forgive me!
brandt was determined that
bill would only be happy
with cigars or beers. he loves
giving gifts. making people happy.
i'm terribly embarrassed, but
please know it came from brandt's heart
of love, and i finally conceded.

ann, bill will love what
brandt brought. i know brandt
has a big heart. thank you!

you might think that was a
terrible testimony, but it was
about innocence and love -----
and i decided it built a bridge.
changing the world means meeting people
where they are. without judgment.

so, fellow dreamers,
let's roll up our sleeves.
open our hearts. and throw
kindness and mercy and
compassion to all those
around us.

we run together.
shoulder to shoulder.
in Jesus' name.
you and i. a giant God.
and love.

please respond to me.
i really love to hear from you.


  1. Ann,

    Im always so encouraged when I read what you have written. It reminds me to think of others more and what they are going through during those times when we get in a rush and may not notice that someone else is having a hard time. Thank you for continung the blog. I always look forward to what you have to say.

    Also, much love to Jan, please. She has been in my prayers since the last blog. I will continue to keep you both in my prayers.
    Much Love,

    Debbie Shea

  2. Ann, i just finished rereading i out to change my world and i am currently rereading i love the word impossible-i got online to see if i could find out anything new with you and was so excited to find your blog-i'm with you" because God and i-with love-with sturdy hearts,and determined, daring faith-with move the world!!!
    Love, Donna Rae

  3. Ann, Grace doesn't take the pain away, but it somehow allows room for hope-it merges the burning of suffering with the burning of love.
    Moses had his arms held up by Aaron and Joshua so he could keep praising and win his battle. We're here to hold yours up in prayer. God has allowed you to live this narrative in a big way, penetrating into this mystery of suffering. We're His hands and feet. And you are loved. Anne T.

  4. Ann! You're back. Hurray! I read your books as a young single woman. I read them as an older single woman. I gave God time...seemed like a long time sometimes :) Now I am thrilled to read your blog as the mother of a 20-something son and an 18 year old son.

    Life seems hard sometimes when you are a mom who has to let go but doesn't want to. Your words about your son Brandt and his tattoo could have been written directly to son is so wanting a tattoo...It seems like a small thing but it is HUGE to him. It's just so permanent. He only thinks in the now. I will let go. The important part of him is on the inside not the outside. Thank you for your encouragement.

    I am sorry to hear about your sister's illness.

    I am so happy to be able to follow your blog! Melody

  5. Hi, Ann, Wes Smith, here. Remember Marysville, Sacramento (Earl Warren Theatre), and Anchorage? We live in Longview, WA, just north of Portland. Colleen has two horses and works with our Children's Ministries. Josh is 32, works for HSBC Bank, has our favorite daughter-in-law (Jamie) as his wife and our favorite granddaughter (Alexandria Nicole, 7) as his daughter. They live next door to us! How can we be in touch? Friend, Wes

  6. Ann

    What a delight to run into you on the blogosphere after so many years.

    We had a shining moment back in the days of youth mission involvement. You were in the first year and I a new director who had no idea what I was doing. We muddled through.

    You have gone on to a great ministry.

    So sorry about Jan. Pain and suffering.

    Our thoughts are with you.