She was in front of us in the cashier line at the grocery store. Pushing a baby carriage with her right hand in which slept a beautiful newborn, she held some slips of paper in her left hand.

Quickly taking in everything, I surmised that the papers she held were WIC. Immediately irritated, I thought and expressed sotto voce to my friend, “Oh, man, it always takes forever for the processing of these things.”

He, having just a little more grace than I in that moment, said nothing to me but expressed to the young woman how beautiful the baby was. I, immediately convicted by his quiet rebuke and my sour attitude, asked the baby’s age. “Two months,” was her reply.

We stood and silently watched the cashier, who appeared to be management solidly out of his element, bumble his way through the processing of the WIC coupons as the young woman quietly watched him and answered the questions he asked. She only had a few things, a couple of bags of frozen fruit, I think, but there was a third item that the management cashier told her she could not purchase, a bag of fresh cherries. I asked my friend to let him know I would pay the difference.

True to my original thought, the WIC transaction for two items took forever (my hyperbole, of course), but as we waited, I watched the young lady. Her expression never changed as she stood at the counter. She never raised her voice in frustration as she answered the questions. I now realize this was probably her shield against any potential judgement by people in line behind her, too wrapped up in their own world to care about any distress on her part (Donna), something she had probably experienced too many times before.

As we moved up with my full conveyor belt of food, including a bag of fresh cherries, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “Do more.”

I asked the young lady to wait as I presented to the management/cashier a gift card and told him the amount I wanted on it.

I pulled out my debit card to pay when he announced, “You have to pay for these with cash.”

I gave a quick retort, which I can’t remember now, but I opened my wallet praying I had enough cash since in these days of easy access by technology I very seldom have any money on me. I had just enough to cover the gift card when I was then told I had to pay an activation fee as well.

“Do I need cash for that, too.”

I did not, “Thank you, Lord.”

I handed the gift card to the young lady and true to the demeanor she had displayed at the counter, she quietly thanked me. I asked her name. She told me, and as she walked away, I silently prayed for her. I pray for her now.

I turned back to the task at hand, the processing of my groceries, and as the management/cashier swiped items across the scanner, he said, “You guys are awesome.”

I do not know if he will tell this story to anyone else. I do not know if the young woman will tell anyone else this story. What I do know is in that moment of going from irritation to compassion, the Lord reminded me of those days when I was that young woman with a baby wondering how those ends would meet.

My response to the man’s comment was “There but for the grace of God go I,” but it is really much more than that cliched response. God’s grace is extended to all. The fact that I am now a woman of faith is not defined by my economic status. Salvation does not come with dollar signs attached. That moment in the grocery store was really about how God could be glorified in that moment, how I would wrap the tenets of my faith in flesh, and no I did not think these high and lofty thoughts in that moment. I just felt her heartbeat and in it I heard my own.

I am, by no means, flush today. I still pinch a few pennies and my retirement years have the potential for some financial question marks, but I am not afraid. God is still provider and I am learning more and more every day how to give out of my need.

I do not write this to impress. I share this story to remind myself and any others that our pasts should compel us to act out our faith as an humble thank-you for the “where” from which He has brought us.

After all, we really are where we are today only by the grace of God.

Especially in times like these.




Every time someone suggested it, I pushed back.

“No, I will not ride a scooter at the county fair.”
“No I will not ride the cart in the supermarket.”
“No, I do not need a scooter!”
“No. No. No. No.”

Then the day came.
We were in the supermarket.
I was a little wobbly on my crutch.

The next thing I knew, my friend rolled up beside me . . . rolling up in one of those electric carts.

“Get in!”

It was not a gentle request.

There comes a time in everyone’s life when you just have to kick pride to the curb!

My day had come.

The truth of the matter is I do not like trying anything new in public. I just don’t like the idea of looking foolish as I learn something new because most of the time I do, look foolish, that is.

In CPR class, I could not get my dummy to breathe.
In a speciality computer class, I could not get my log-in to work.
You already know my ongoing saga in the Kaiser torture room with that dang bike

Yep, I want to figure stuff out in private, then go public with it as though I have always known how to do that thing. I do not like feeling dumb.

Yes, I know; there is another name for that phenomenon: Pride, again.

I gratefully plopped down onto the seat of the cart.

Fear whispered in my ear, “You will look foolish!”

Too late, Fear, I was already seated and besides, my friend was giving me the side-eye.

There were printed instructions on the cart.

Yeah, I rarely do instructions. I like to figure things out on my own. I did not read them.

Name that attitude!

I tentatively pushed a lever on the right.

The cart moved forward.

I pushed the lever on the left.

The cart began to beep (like a truck backing up) and the cart backed up.

I am not sure I am crazy about sounding like a Wide Load backing up.

There are always concessions to be made.

Making the cart go, not so complicated after all.

Right lever, PUSH!

This cart was fully charged, juiced and raring to go!


Well, the boundaries of Pak and Sav, anyway.

As I zoomed down aisles, careened around corners and parallel parked next to the produce and meat counters, I hear a faint voice in the distance.

“Could you please wait for me?”

Hey, this was your idea!


I now enter into stores with a new attitude.

I now roll large and in charge.

By the way:

Hey Target, News Flash!
Parking the carts for the physically challenged in the back of the store away from the front. . .

You might want to reconsider this location.

Before I come in next time.

I’m just saying!



I watch them run into the cafeteria, all wide eyed and just a little wild.

For five weeks each summer they become that diverse group on a campus that is not nearly as diverse during the school year.

They do not understand the privilege afforded to them of learning on a campus that costs a pretty penny to attend during the school year, a campus largely comprised of the homogeneous and the privileged.

The teachers who work with this diverse summer group may not be used to working with such diversity, either.

My wish for both groups is that they would come to understand one another in such a way that the experience will remain with them long after the memory of the summer sessions fades.

The line of difference drawn hard in society’s sand will only be erased when the diverse dare to embrace inclusion and dare to sit down to talk through skewed perceptions and unwarranted stereotypes.

While it is too true that I often view the world through a lens forged in the fires of Jim Crow, I believe that change is possible  It will take time. It will require patience. It will have to be fueled by determination.

I choose to believe!

We can learn to see each other and see ourselves in each other and recognize that human beings are more alike than we are unalike. ~Maya Angelou









Chronicles of Pain: Adding Insult to Injury: Kaiser Torture Chamber

June 2015

You all know the drill by now.
Woman crutches her way into torture chamber.
Woman feels sorry for herself.
Woman does not want to be there, again.
Woman climbs onto the dreaded behemoth, the upright bicycle.
Woman spends ten minutes wishing she could at least go one full revolution forward.
Woman does not.
Woman climbs off of behemoth and is taken to the new device of pain that she could not manage last week.
Woman cannot manage device this week.
Woman goes to device, leg curls, 3 reps of 12 each.
Woman does not know if she is using right torture chamber language, leg curls, reps and such.
Woman does not care.
Woman has a favorite device because it does not demand that she extend herself too much.
Woman cannot stay on that device for the duration of the torture session.
Woman is bummed.
Woman learns how to stand and sit and stand and sit and stand and sit . . . without using her hands to push herself up, two reps of ten.
Woman is winded and just wants to sit and sit and sit and sit.
Woman enters the Wheeled Chair Olympics but she is the only participant, pulls herself with her legs three times around the room.
Woman no longer feels silly straddling a chair to pull herself around the room.
Woman is concerned about her sanity.
Woman sees man who looks familiar.
Woman wonders “Should I speak or nah?”
Woman speaks, calls out a name.
Man responds.
Woman recognizes man as first boyfriend in California.
Man does not seem to recognize woman.
Woman gains recognition by saying, “I am _______’s sister, rather than saying, “Hey you were my first boyfriend in California.
Man says, “You look different from the last time I saw you.”
Woman says, “I grew out my hair.”
Man says, “No, that’s not it; you’ve lost weight since the last time I saw you.”
Woman does not respond because Woman knows she was not fat the last time this man saw her.
Woman knows, “I still look good.”
Boy, Bye!
Woman realizes this is the first time she leaves the torture chamber not mad about the torture.
Boy, Bye!

WHEN ONE DOOR CLOSES: On The Other Side Of Yesterday

The Story Behind a Door

It has been almost fourteen years since an oh-so-familiar door was slammed shut in my face!

I had in and out privileges for almost 27 years through that door marked “Relationship,” two years companion, twenty-five years, wife.

Twenty-seven years, learning and knowing and growing, laughter and anger, abundance and need.

Then, abruptly and without grace, Death slammed the door shut in my face and I was denied access for the rest of my life

Unsure and and a little afraid, I stood alone in front of a new door, a door slightly ajar, a door marked “New Normal.”

Surrounded by questions for whom the answers would come painfully slow, I tentatively pushed open the door a little more, just to peer past it to see what I could see.

I saw nothing.

I quickly discovered I had to step inside before I would see anything  at all.

It has been an unexpected journey, often watered with tears and plowed with frustration.

Mostly an uphill journey on a path marked “Single,” I’ve learned to endure the detours as well the unexpected pot holes and speed bumps.

Sometimes the days are sweltering, other days cool and refreshing.

These days the door marked “Relationship” is no longer in view, but the memories stayed with me and they often swathe me in the warmth of their comfort, especially when yesterday really is so far away.

“…could tell you my adventures–beginning from this morning,’ said Alice a little timidly: ‘but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland




















Sometimes posts of people I knew back in the day pop up on my Facebook page

Sometimes I scroll through Facebook pages of people I knew back in the day

Recognize faces in captured photographic moments

People I no longer see, have not spoken to in ages

This is not intentional

It is just the nature of the beast

Out of sight, out of mind

It occurs to me that I have become one of those people

You know

Like those former celebrities who no longer occupy the limelight

And people wonder

“Whatever happened to?”

Yeah, I have become one of the misplaced

People who I saw on a regular basis

People with whom I laughed and cried

People with whom I dined and traveled

I no longer see or talk to

It is the nature of the beast

To be forgotten as memory fades

And connections dissolve

It’s just as well

Especially since I am no longer that Donna

They probably wouldn’t recognize me anyway

Which is just as well

Because if they had really known me back then

They would not have let me get away

So easily


I’m Still Here!