God’s Speed Bumps


“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.”  Thomas Merton

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” C.S. Lewis

Last night we watched the storm come in, the skies filling with every shade of pink, peach and amber, then the screen of dust came and diffused the light. The trees bent unnaturally this way and that. And finally, healing rain beating it all down, flickers of lightning here and there like God’s flash bulbs. Easy to believe in God during these kinds of storms.

There are times throughout our lives that stand out. And I’m not talking about the usual Big Moments like births and weddings. I am talking about those little everyday miracles you just can’t explain that won’t go away. I call them God’s Speed Bumps. I believe sometimes He has to stop us in our tracks to remind us He’s still there, still loves us enough to nudge us with something unexplained. A gift that removes all doubt of its source.

I keep a journal of these……answered prayers and moments that stand out no matter how many years pass by. I never want to forget. Maybe you have some too. Here are some in my collection:

The white dove that wouldn’t leave, resting on the flower box as my parents left the house after praying when my sister-in-law was so sick. 

The unmistakable presence of the Holy Spirit that enveloped me like the fog that covered our house as I listened to “Oh, Holy Night” in my little room so long ago now.

The mother duck and her ducklings walking along the side of the road as the sky turned peach all around us, as we drove to Church on an Easter morning. 

The letters found in the parking lot as if dropped straight from Heaven at Elaine’s Dad’s nursing home on a day when hope was desperately needed. (You can read about that here.) 

The Holy Spirit taking over as I sang my first solo in church. Each time after as well, and not one missed lyric, except the time I crashed and burn when I got a little cocky and forgot to pray. 

The supernatural evening touched with grace as I prayed and asked for help while watching the sunset with Tux my little stray yard cat. 

Elaine and I finding the song by Jessye Norman for Lori’s memorial service, truly a needle in a haystack. 

And this one at the end of a particularly hard day, Elaine glancing over to the side of the road at the precise moment a little round squirrel stood up on his hind legs while holding a flower between his two front paws. She said it was like he was posing for a greeting card. 

The robin in the yard at dawn just when my Mom needed to see it after those dark days after my husband died. 

The bright and long shooting star Elaine and I both saw walking out of the restaurant at Moss Landing. 

There are so many, friends that I could never count them all. And yes, I believe in a God who doles out parking spots sometimes because it’s His good pleasure to give us good gifts. The truth is, He does these things for all of us but we don’t all take time to notice or thank Him.

And no, my God is not a Genie…..my wish is not His command. But I believe He reveals Himself in a myriad of little ways to those who pay attention. For those who ask to notice and keep their Spiritual ears and eyes open…..He waits.

Today, open your eyes to what He has surrounded us with. And start counting!

His Peace…..



“Everybody I know says they need just one thing
And what they really mean is that they need just one thing more
And everybody seems to think they’ve got it coming
Well I know that I don’t deserve You
Still I want to love and serve You more and more
You’re my one thing…….my one thing
And the pure in heart shall see God.” Rich Mullins, “My One Thing”

“One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple.” King David, Psalm 27:4

Sometimes we need a reminder of who and what our One Thing is, for there are so many other things that compete and clamor for our attention. Like all those turbulent thoughts from within and without. Sometimes the decibel level in our own heads is frightening. When the weight of stress or grief or just the weary world assails from outside they demand an answer……..

What are you going to do???? They shriek. Like a house of cards flying madly awry in the wake of the Red Queen’s wrath our thoughts fly every in direction. 

Then, just when you need it most, God or an angel or one of His representatives leave two pieces of paper in a parking lot. Partly hidden under a tire, they could have easily been missed. Unlike myself, Elaine is always keenly aware of her surroundings and she saw them right away.

It was one of those particularly difficult days before her Dad passed away, and it was around Easter time. She picked them up in the nursing home parking lot; these two Heavenly missives, and they provided her with great comfort that day and even now to me when I read them again. More than likely they came from the Pastor who was preaching there at the care-home, but God working through people makes it no less of a miracle to me. He simply knew she needed them that day.

Out of all the hundreds of things we worry and think about on any given day, only One thing is really necessary to focus on. Jesus addressed this with Mary:

Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.  She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Sometimes I think God is allowing me some sleepless nights so that I will learn to silence those nighttime thoughts that run rampant by simply calling on His name. There are Bible verses about finding peace and safety in the name of the Lord. A few nights when I have been exceptionally troubled, I have calmed my thoughts by just saying, “Jesus……Jesus……Jesus” like a one word prayer over and over. And I can tell you that this works. He works. One night in particular I actually felt as if I was lost in a forest and I found one of those red phone booths like you see in the UK. That was God’s way of giving me a visual of the safety of His name.

Now when I lay awake at night and say my Jesus prayer, I see that red phone booth. God knows we are a visual people. We need a sign, and sometimes it’s a phone booth. What else can I say?

If you try to put your ultimate trust in anyone or anything else to give you the peace that only Jesus can give, you will be disappointed every single time. People, places or things just can’t do that and it’s not fair to expect that of them. Only Jesus can calm the stormy seas in your heart.

Peace for your day today and may calm rule your heart……Lori

******If anyone would like me to send a copy of these via email, give me your name and I will forward them on………I would like to give credit to who wrote them but somehow I think they would be happy knowing that their words are still bringing encouragement.

The Miracle: Road Trip stories


One thing that has always been on my “bucket list” is to see a whale. I lived half my life in California and much time on the Pacific coast and I have also spend much of my “Arizona” time on vacations at the beach, San Diego and all along the Pacific coast. I even went on a cruise where they almost guaranteed that I would see whales cavorting right off the ship. It was comical, Elaine told me later as she sat and watched the whale fanatics move across the ship in one collective pod every time someone shouted, “Whale, starboard” or “Whale, port-side!”

Of course the ship captain said, “I don’t know why we aren’t seeing any, last week we saw them all over the place.” I can tell them why, Lori wasn’t on that ship. It’s gotten to be a joke everywhere we go, that I have just missed the biggest migration ever seen.

During the coarse of the trip Elaine said that all that would be needed to make this trip perfect is to see a whale. I rolled my eyes and said, “Well, we all know that won’t happen, they know I will be watching.”

Even so, between navigating and everything else, I had my eyes peeled the entire trip. Finally, off the coast of California, it happened. We had been watching what looked like a whale watching boat when we came around a bend with an impossibly huge and sweeping view of the Pacific when Elaine gasped and said, “I think I see a whale spouting!” I screamed, “Where…..where??” Then I saw it too. As she frantically looked for a place to pull over, she said, “Where are the binoculars?”

Now, the binoculars had been the same place the entire trip. On my side of the car in the door. As I fished around in there, I couldn’t find them. In the meantime, pulled over, she saw it again and again. As I tossed things here and there, up in the air in the backseat and front, I saw my dream start to swim away…….as we both searched with gradually escalating voices for the elusive binoculars, “They’ve been there the entire trip,” she said, a bit frustrated now.

Finally I grabbed my camera and focused on the spot where we saw it. It spouted again!

It was then that she then went around to the passenger side and proceeded to take them out from where they had been the entire time.  Meanwhile, the miracle was swimming out to sea, but not before we got a good view of the grand spectacle of nature that I have always wanted to see.

Yes, I guess you could say it was a perfect trip.

And no, this picture isn’t one I took, the whale was a bit further out, but this is what it would have looked like had we been closer.


The Encounter: Road Trip Stories


“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so, some have entertained angels without  knowing it.”  Hebrews 13:2

It was one of those spur of the moment stops. The kind we said we’d do when we planned this 3800 mile road trip. We turned down a road because I was enamored of the amount of vegetation, and the promise of a stunning view at the end of the road. Oregon held shades of green that we just don’t see in Arizona and we made many stops along the way. We turned down a road that had a marker for the Pacific trail and winding our way down to the bottom we saw a hiker who seemed to be in distress.

He was carrying a backpack but not an overly large one, certainly not large enough to spend nights in the woods. He made a motion for water and Elaine rolled down the driver’s side window and handed him the bottle we had. He looked spent. As he gratefully took it, he looked back up at Elaine and said, “Thank you, for giving me that, I will watch over you.” We wound our way down to the bottom and captured what vista we could with the encroaching fog.

But the view on the way up was what stunned us. It was as if the Heavens opened.


We looked for our hiker on the way back up the road, to give him some bread we had, we would have passed him since he was coming down when we were going up. He was gone. There was no trace of him…….I asked Elaine, “When you looked in his eyes did you feel something?” She said yes. Was he an angel in disguise? We may never know this side of Heaven, but two things happened on the way home that made us think maybe he could have been.

Later that day, we rounded the corner and saw a car have flipped end over end on the shoulder of the road. Let me just say. If this had happened on any other stretch of the road he wouldn’t have survived, anyone who knows Highway 1 on the Pacific coast knows those cliffs that dip their toes in the ocean. And if we had been directly behind him? I don’t like to think about it.

The car was resting on its smashed roof with the tires in the air and the driver was somehow outside the car. He was walking around it stupefied, leaning on his cane and smoking a cigarette taking pictures of the damage. We asked him if he had called already and he said he had. We continued on with our flashers to warn other cars, which did the same. There was no safe place to pull over.

The second close call came on the freeway on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Traffic had just started to move after being gridlocked and we were moving at a pretty good pace, as well as we could with heavy traffic in all lanes. Elaine saw something fly out of a truck ahead and immediately there were brake lights all around. There was nothing she could do but slam on the brakes and hold the wheel. She had to do some fancy maneuvering but even so, there was nowhere to go. We waited for the impact from behind, but thankfully it never came. Thankfully, everyone was paying attention.

The red couch landed in the lane right next to us.

After asking each other if we were okay, we took a deep breath, said a prayer of thanks and went on out way.

But not without thinking about our encounter with the hiker the day before.

This morning thought about it again as I said another prayer of thanks for those times, and all the other times where I am sure that before the Grace of God go all of us.

“For it is written, He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you carefully.” Luke 4:10


God loves you even more………


I guess I love sparrows because even though they are so small……so common,

so ordinary.

They aren’t really at all.

They are a miracle……..a veritable work of art, and so are you friend…….And not one of them falls to the ground without Him knowing.

Or caring.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows……Jesus (Matthew 1:29-31

Yesterday I was enjoying a sliver of solitude out in the patio at work. The first to join me was a brown thrush, well, I call him “Hop-a-long” because he only has one foot. He does amazingly well just with the one.

Next was a chattering school of assorted sparrows and other little brown birds, maybe finches, all lined up begging for food. It’s amazing how close they got. They do really well at Intel, they are all fat and fluffy like the birds you see on the Marjolein Bastin greeting cards. Have you ever looked, like really, really close at a common sparrow? They are amazing. When you look close you can see about 30 shades of brown and grey. Up close you can see how all their feathers are perfectly aligned, and their little feet can land and grip just about anywhere.

I was enjoying myself out there. Some were all lined up on the bench and some were gathered at my feet seeing how close they could get, wanting to be the first to get the crumb. I guess you could say it was one of those everyday Holy moments. It was just the birds and I and God. Anytime we reflect on the wonder of His creation, we are worshiping and honoring Him.

And you know what is amazing? He cares for you and I more than those sparrows. He sees each of us in our own individuality and He wants us to see ourselves the same way. We are valued! The next time you feel just like a number, or just another bit player in this big Universe, just remember that God Himself doesn’t see you that way at all.

He sees you as I see those sparrows……….little common brown miracles of wonder, each specifically design to give Him glory just by walking around doing what He made us to do.