Grandma’s legacy

She turned the clear plastic stem, opening the window blinds ever so slightly. Enough to let in a little light, but not enough for prying eyes.

The chair she sat in was a hundred years old, the wood cracked, the upholstery thin. She leaned into it, smelling Grandma’s sweet scent, and cried.

She picked up her laptop and began to type. The veil of tears blinded her, so she relied on her fingers’ memory.

Tap tap tap

Each touch echoed through the empty room.

Gone gone gone

The word echoed through her empty mind.

One hand went to her head, the other gently snapped the computer shut. Shouldn’t the tears have run out months ago?

She left the laptop on the chair and wandered into the kitchen. The quiet bubbling in the kettle was comforting, like Grandma was still home. She took two mugs from the cupboard and held them, staring until the hiss of steam brought her back to reality. She returned Grandma’s to the shelf, but lingered, touching the intricate handle.

“I can keep her legacy alive.” The whisper was hardly louder than her breath.

She gently placed Grandma’s mug on the counter beside her own and picked up the phone. Her finger traced the curved path over the numbers. Dialing like this may have been slow, but faster isn’t always better.

“Can you come right away?”

She went back to the stove and poured the boiling water into a delicate teapot. The closet of linens down the hall smelled of lavender and lilac. She selected a lace cloth, carried it to the tea table and in a moment, all was laid.


Even Grandma’s doorbell was delicate.

She turned the smooth brass handle, opening the door wide. Enough to envelop the entry in light and reveal Grandma’s home and a taste of the stories to come to the girls and their mother.

To cross the bridge

I let him down.
This bridge I could have crossed–
I walked away.

I failed.
And I felt the failure like a knife in my gut.
With every step taking me further away from the bridge, the knife twisted.
It sent spasms of regret through my body.

How could I expect him to forgive me?
I couldn’t forgive myself.

I waited
as long as I could.
I stayed away
until I couldn’t anymore.

Then I faced him.

I tried to avoid his eyes,
but he looked at me and said,
“You were great.”

I looked up to see if there was sarcasm smeared across his face,
but there wasn’t.
There was only sincerity.

“You were great.”
He didn’t say I did good,
because I didn’t.
But that didn’t matter so much,
because I’m not valuable based on what I do, but who I am.

He went on to tell me
he was proud of me for even stepping up to the bridge.
Then he told me
how next time he knew I could
and next time he knew I would
cross it.
He even took time to explain how to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
He empowered me.

And you know what?
Today I stepped up to the bridge again.
And today I crossed it.

Tell them what I’ve done

Go tell them what I’ve done for you.
Can one really hear God speak?
If I can, that’s what He said to me.
Go tell them what I’ve done for you.

But I don’t want to
What would they think?
They’re having their own conversation.
What would I have to add to it?

Your story.
You’re the only one who can tell it.
Go share it.
Go tell them what I’ve done for you.

I reluctantly obey.
In the telling, my gusto returns.
I tell them where I came from.
And I tell them what God has done for me.

And then,
as I listen to them respond,
I stand in awe
because my story was exactly what they needed to hear…

joy in the midst of them

I wrote this last year, right after experiencing a Sonoran Desert monsoon…

Dash across yard, dodging scattered raindrops, to the shelter of tree branches. Mist surrounds me and I smile. I close my eyes and feel – really feel – the moment. This moment, one of a thousand gifts.


Strange cold summer wind takes my breath away. Rain and wind intensify, swallow me up. Me – eyes still shut, experiencing the gift with my whole body. Thinking of the weight of His wind and mercy as water soaks me to the skin.

Dash back across the yard, dodging plentiful raindrops, to the stronger shelter of the porch. Eyes now open, watching buckets and low ground fill with the rain. Thinking of sinking in His grace like an ocean as hair and clothes drip.

A different story plays out nearby.

On the other side of the house, winds push rain onto and into boxed books meant for blessing others. Unusual rain, reaching too far, too fast. People struggle to save anything from destruction.

warped pages

Is this rain a blessing or a curse? Is it wrong for me to smile, oblivious to the destruction a few yards away? And what of the distant sirens that scream of emergencies worse than warped pages?

These questions are not just for today. These questions are for tomorrow when I will eat three meals and a child will die of starvation. And for yesterday when I wore Sunday best to church while a woman wore rags in isolation all because she believes God is God.

Is it fair to be thankful for a gift when someone else could have it?

Can a child on his way to eat his one meal of the day rightly laugh while kicking a ball made of garbage bags if a child miles away has neither ball nor food?


Far from condemning him, we smile at such a one who can find joy in such a place. We admire the woman in a wheelchair who paints with a brush in her teeth. We long to be like the man without hands who writes and speaks hope into fellow men.

Why? Because they have joy. They have joy not because of what they have or don’t have. They have joy not even in spite of what they have or don’t have. They simply have joy, found in the midst of their possessions, relationships, limitations. In their midst, because God is in their midst.

All is vanity without God.

All is joy with Him.

Thanks dad (Mark Newhouse) for the photos!