Category Archives: Inspiration

Hydro Low

DSCN0996

Water and worry leak
to the lowest level,
a fool’s pool
spiraling the spirit
to depths
beneath the necessary steps.

It takes hydro-logic
to lift water
higher than clouded despair.
To rise as steam,
we admit wet
as requisite.

Our Engineer’s faith;
part bending knee,
part pouring cups
to the least of these,
cuts across current fashion,
chiding the waves to be still.

There is living water
and there is a stagnant well.
One can’t flow forward
by going back.
The well worn path is reasonable,
but making sense of resistance, is mist.

“It Wasn’t Hell” – True Stories from 9/11, Heroes Who Answered the Call

It Wasn’t Hell

From an interview with my friend Charlie Edmond, NYPD

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

Part 1

There’s no way to even begin to comprehend the size of that disaster. It was gigantic. A pile of rubble. People. And it’s hallowed ground at the same time. A lot of people were never recovered. I’ve heard it said, 9/11 was hell, and in many ways it was, but in the end I believe God was glorified. My faith in Christ is what got me through…

I was raised an atheist. It’s not like my dad sat me down and explained it to me that way, I was just raised with nothing. No God at all. I got married at twenty-two. I had been a cop for about two years at the time. My wife was already a Christian, and I believe, if not for her prayers, we would have become a statistic. You know the divorce rate, 50% or more. And I was just living all wrong. My life was headed for trouble.

I came home one night drunk as a skunk. tore up the kitchen, made a big mess. I knew that it hurt my wife. So I was lying in bed later thinking, and there was this wooden cross on the wall, and I knew right then that my life just wasn’t right. I knew I needed to change. “Lord,” I cried. “I can’t live like this anymore!” I called my wife into the room and said, “You’ve got to pray for me.”

Mercifully, she did. I got on my knees and asked Christ into my life. And that’s the day I got saved, but I had long, long way to go. Like I was in this bar a few nights later, having a couple of beers. And the language coming out of my mouth is inexcusable. And God’s like, “How’s that working out for you?” And I would preach to these guys at the bar, and they’re like, “Are you serious? Look at you, man. You haven’t changed a bit!” And on the street nothing had changed either. I mean these guys that grow up in the ghetto, they only understand filthy language, so you gotta talk to them that way. You can’t be soft on these guys. And so I’m cursing them. I mean it’s coming out of my mouth all wrong, and again God’s like, “How’s that working?”

And so one day I listened to him and just stopped cursing, and he showed me a new way to do my job. I mean they should teach this to cops, because you show the people out there something they’ve never experienced…respect. I wasn’t any less firm, but instead of swearing at them I started to treat them like human beings. “All right,” I would say. “I’ll listen to you, man.” And suddenly I was able to talk these 6’4″ guys into handcuffs instead of trying to fight them into submission. That was God. It was totally God.

I spent almost two years on the force as a non-believer, so I got to see it from the critical side. Back then we had a name for the bad guys…the homeless, the crackheads, the dirtbags. We called them “Skells.” It meant they were losers. And that’s the negative attitude you get working on the streets without Christ. And in time, unchecked, you go through this downward spiral. First, the skells are the bad guys. Then the midnight cops are the good guys and all other cops are skells. And then soon, your squad. They’re the only good guys. And then your partner’s the good guy and all the rest are skells. And then one day your partner’s a skell, and you hate the world.

And that’s the way it went for so many cops. Many guys ended up eating a gun, because they forget why they had become cops to begin with, to help other people. I mean we always see the negative. People never call a cop when they’re happy, like, “How you doing, guys? Come on in. Have a cup of coffee.” No, it always, “I’ve been robbed!” or “I’ve been in a car wreck.” or “Someone beat me up.” Always something negative. And some guys just have enough of it. And cops have the means, too. So they end up putting the gun in their mouth and pulling the trigger. I’ve seen it too many times. The suicide rate among cops is too high.

So I’ve got to say that my faith in Christ is the only way I got through it. Like I said, I was a drunk. I was going to lose my job. I definitely was going to lose my marriage. But God in his mercy just took all that away. Took it completely away. I don’t know how you make twenty years in the force without God. It’s a tough, tough road.

To be continued…


Coming October 31st, Part 2 of “It Wasn’t Hell” (with Charlie Edmond NYPD)

September 11, 2001

“…there’s about an inch or two of dust everywhere. I don’t know what is was, it must have been sheetrock dust, or whatever, but it looked like the moon. And there’s debris hanging everywhere, and you’re looking up as much as you’re looking around wondering what’s going to fall. And nobody knows what they’re doing. I mean, there’s I’beams lying all around, bent like you’d bend a straw. And I’m just standing these with these gloves in my hands. I just had no idea what to do. We had no idea…”


Books by Pat Patterson:

Answering the Call, Inspirational Devotions from a Tested Paramedic

Tested by Fire, A Medic-7 Novel

Thumbs Up

photo

Angels hitchhike
on the truck side of lonely.
Lovely weeds bend in the flying dust
of wheels stopping to start again.

The driver might chatter football,
the radio Gospel, or tripe.
This part of the Damascus road
is between homes, jobs, baths.

The Son of Man
has no where the lay His head.
Transients, the easy victims
of innocence and dumpster diseases.

The next Samaritan binds
the next wounds.
Our daily bread buttered,
one side at a time.

Unclean! Unclean!

Photo courtesy morguefile.com & grietgriet
Photo courtesy morguefile.com &EmmiP

Photo courtesy morguefile.com &EmmiP

I don’t know the statistics on the number of Christians who are, or have been, divorced but what I do know is Christians who haven’t experienced the pain, sorrow and suffering of divorce may not comprehend how destructive and hurtful their condemnation of divorcees is. Whether the condemnation is overt or covert doesn’t matter. It is destructive nonetheless.

Somewhere I read that Christians are the only army that shoots its own. You know what? I believe it. Especially where divorce is concerned.

While I contemplated what I would write on this topic, my brain took a left turn and thought about the lepers Jesus healed when he walked on this earth.

Lepers were outcast. They were considered less-than. They were removed from fellowship with their loved ones and friends. People avoided them. Lepers were looked down upon. Those who considered themselves clean crossed streets to avoid contact with these unclean people.

Because there was no known cure for leprosy, it was a feared disease. Lepers were untouchables because of the fear they would infect others. The priests were the ones responsible for banishing lepers who were in a contagious stage to prevent the spread of infection. They were also responsible for readmitting lepers whose disease was in remission. Lepers were considered ritually unclean. Because leprosy destroys the nerve endings, lepers often unknowingly damaged their fingers, toes, and noses.

How the leper’s heart must have ached. How desolate and hopeless he must havePhoto courtesy morguefile.com & grietgriet felt. No support system. No human touch. No love. No affection. No compassion. Only condemnation for something that really was not his fault.

Much like the bells lepers were required to wear around their necks to announce their arrival…Unclean! Unclean!…many divorced Christians feel as if they too, have been made to wear heavy bells hung around their necks, and banished, due to others’ fear of infection. Just as leprosy destroys nerve endings, those struggling with the stigma of divorce, may also become numb and maimed.

We don’t have to say it aloud for divorcees to get the idea. Our forced smiles, lack of contact, and avoidance conveys the same message.

Because we are called to be like Jesus Christ, I looked at how he interacted with lepers. There’s an incident recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke that tells the story of a leper who went to Jesus and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”

I find it interesting that not only did Jesus heal the man of his leprosy, Jesus healed the man by reaching out his hand, and touching the one proclaimed by the religious folk as unclean. Jesus touched the untouchable. You know what? He still does.

Contrary to what some might believe, being divorced does not put a person on a sliding scale further away from the love of God, than say…a gossiper or a liar.

A sin is a sin is a sin. Each of us is a sinner saved by grace, whether we’ve been divorced or not. The Gospel message is one of forgiveness, restoration, and hope. Perhaps it’s time we put away those arrows we direct at our fellow Believers, or anyone else for that matter, and embrace each other as Pilgrims traveling through life together.

An unclean leper? No. Touched, and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

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Sandy Kirby Quandt is a follower of Jesus with a passion for history, travel, and photography. Sandy has written numerous articles and stories for adult and children publications. Looking for words of encouragement or gluten-free recipes? Then check out Woven and Spun. www.sandykirbyquandt.com. Sandy lives with her husband in Texas.

He Calms the Raging Seas – Pat Patterson

The Raging Sea

“You rule the raging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them.” (Psalm 89:9)

Lately my life has been a raging sea, one difficulty after another. So when I lost my wallet yesterday I wasn’t surprised. Good news is it was practically empty—no cash, one credit card, a keepsake $2 bill, and a N.C. driver’s license I had planned to carry till 2016. Still, I was pretty bummed. I mean what a hassle to lose your wallet, right? Replacing all that stuff? But the greatest loss for me was the wallet itself—a gift from my youngest son, Phillip. I knew I had to find it.

“Lord,” I prayed. “Please help me.”

After checking the car, my pants pockets, and searching the entire house, I sat down and retraced my steps. “Okay,” I muttered. “You left the office, went by the station for gas, drove home…hey, wait a minute,” I exclaimed. “That’s it! I was talking on the phone while pumping gas. I must have set it down on the back of the car.”

I drove back to the BP station and searched the lot…nothing. I went inside and asked the clerk, checked the road out front, even the on-ramp back onto the freeway…still nothing. By the time I got home my head was spinning. I couldn’t think straight. I searched the house and car one more time just in case, and then finally accepted the fact that my wallet was gone. Another wave had crashed down on my head. “God,” I whispered. “What are you trying to teach me?”

Well this morning I found my answer in the Book of Psalms. “You rule the surging sea,” the Psalmist proclaimed. “When its waves mount up, you still them.” I meditated on that passage. It made perfect sense, but could God calm the seas in my life?

I walked into work hanging my head. How quickly I had forgotten His promise. But as if an angel had tapped me on my shoulder, those words popped back into my head: He rules the raging seas…when the waves mount up he stills them…

Suddenly I felt encouraged. If God can rule the waves, He can certainly manage my life. I lifted my chin, entered my office, and checked the one message on my phone. “Well,” the caller announced. “Your prayers have been answered, Pat.” I thought it was a prank call until he continued. “This is Randy from church. I have your wallet.”

What?

Of course I called Randy back. It turns out he found it on the side of the road on the same on-ramp I had gone back to check. I mean I’ve seen miracles, but this one blew my mind. What are the odds that a friend from my church would just happen across my wallet on an on-ramp during rush hour, in a city of close to a million? Astronomical. The truth to this story is God’s power IS astronomical, and He can calm the raging seas of life. But He cares about the little things, too, in my case, a special leather wallet.

What a mighty God we serve. “Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea—the Lord on high is mighty.”

*

 

 

No Joke

single_candle

You know that time of morning
when the fog begins to lift,
you see your breath trail streaming
and you know that it’s a gift.

Once constant pains and worries
are loose paddles in the drift,
early birds and nightingales
toss Charlie Parker riffs.

When we hear of someone’s passing,
into the great beyond,
and wish we could tell them
that their life will carry on,

our heartbeat keeps repeating
not believing they are gone,
a signal uncompleted
unsure notes to start a song.

What Are You Passionate About?

Photo courtesy www.freedigital.com & Simon Howden

By Sandy Quandt

Photo courtesy www.freedigital.com & Simon HowdenWhat are you passionate about? What have you spent time studying, perfecting or enjoying?

My husband can tell from the sound of an engine what kind of plane is overhead. Once the plane is in view, he can tell you pretty much everything there is to know about it. Guess you could say he’s passionate about airplanes and flying. Me. . . I hear the same engine whine, look up and I ask myself two things. Does it have two wings? Is it larger than a bird?

I know what it is. . .it’s a plane. Now let an Apache helicopter fly over, a daily occurrence around here, and I can definitely identify that bad boy by its sound before I see it.

My husband can pick up an instrument and teach himself to play it quickly. No problem. Me, though. I took piano lessons in elementary and junior high school. The day my instructor handed me one of Mozart’s masterpieces – you know,the ones where the left hand and the right are playing two completely different songs, I begged my parents not to force me to go back. Much to my piano teacher’s great relief, they consented.

Both of my siblings played instruments in their school bands. My dad played a clarinet as the Navy Band marched across the Oakland Bay Bridge when it opened November 12, 1936. Musical talent abounds in my family. It just got used up before I was born.

I have a heart for missions, and I seriously contemplated becoming a foreign missionary. That is until I took two years of Spanish in high school, and two more semesters in college. That led me to realize I am not a linguist. Yo no hablo Espanol.

So what am I passionate about? I had to ponder what gets my heart engaged at the very thought. There are several things, but if I had to choose one, besides my passion for Jesus, I would have to say it is writing. Creating stories. Helping people come to life on the page in front of me. Writing stories that make history come alive. That’s what I enjoy, love, and get excited about. Writing is something I believe God has placed inside me. I believe I am a tool in his hand, a pencil if you will. A tool God intends to use for his purposes and glory.

Sometimes I think we humans falsely believe we are the ones who choose what we will be passionate about. We believe we are the ones who choose what we’ll be good at or enjoy doing. But to my way of thinking, we have it all backwards.

Since God is the one who knit us together in our mother’s womb. (Psalm 139) I believe he is the one who placed the passion, the desire, the ability inside us to accomplish what he wants to accomplish through us. We didn’t create the passion, but it is our choice to pursue it, or not.

I can’t identify planes like my husband, or play an instrument like my dad. I can’t converse in any language except English. There’s a bunch more things I can’t do. But God didn’t put those things in me. I’m not going to moan about what I cannot do. Instead,

I’m going to celebrate what I can and work at it with all my heart as a worker who needs not be ashamed.

So I ask you again. What’s your passion? What would you feel lost without pursuing? Figure that out, and go after it. That’s what God designed you to be passionate about. That’s what he created you to do.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NIV

 

Photo courtesy www.freedigital.com & Simon Howden

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Sandy Kirby Quandt is a follower of Jesus with a passion for history, travel, and photography. Sandy has written numerous articles and stories for adult and children publications. Looking for words of encouragement or gluten-free recipes? Then check out Woven and Spun. www.sandykirbyquandt.com. Sandy lives with her husband in Texas.

When Should Kids Receive Awards? By Sue Badeau

Ribbons award morguefile

With summer days ticking away and school days on the horizon, this is a great time to share Sue Badeau’s article about how to really encourage, praise, and award your kids. And, as the mother of 22 kids, Sue should know!

When Should Kids Receive Awards?
By Sue Badeau

Gold…Silver…Bronze…and Oscar…

It has been a season of awards. Who doesn’t like to be recognized for hard work and accomplishments?

Wouldn’t it be great if we lived in a world where every small child could aspire to standing on a podium and receiving a gold medal, or hearing her name read when a special “envelope” is opened?

For children to dream big dreams and aspire to great goals, they need adults in their lives who will draw out and nurture their strengths, building upon them with encouragement and enthusiasm.

Many children who have experienced trauma and others with a variety of special needs or life challenges are often noticed more for negative behaviors than for their strengths. These children need adults willing to be intentional and creative about noticing, encouraging and rewarding positive attributes and behaviors. We need to “catch” them being good and provide meaningful and effective praise.

Research, brain science, the Bible , and even Mary Poppins all agree on the old adage I first learned from my grandmother: “You catch more flies with honey than Sue Badeau kids with awardsvinegar.”

And yet some children just seem to be “asking for” vinegar (i.e. punishment, anger, correction, or even shunning) more than others. Should we give false or insincere praise?

“May it never be!”

Generic, non-specific, insincere or incomprehensible praise can actually do more harm than good.

Praise is a very important tool in both the character-building and behavior management toolkits for parents and others who care for children, but to be meaningful and effective, it needs to be honest, sincere, clear, and specific.

Here are two examples of praise that is not effective:

* “You are so smart!”, or
* “What a good boy you are!”

Here are a couple of better examples:

*“I noticed how you picked up all the crayons that spilled without being asked – that was very helpful.” and
*“Thank you for sharing those toys with Justin, I know they are your favorites, so it was very thoughtful. And he will be more likely to share with you sometime!”

See the difference?

It is also important to notice incremental progress. For example:

Sue Badeau prize jar“Last week when you were upset it took 15 minutes before you were able to be calm. And so you had to miss some of your play time and that was sad for you. But today, even though you got upset, you calmed down in only 5 minutes so you have more time to play. This is great progress! I can see you are working really hard on this.”

Encouraging children to continue to practice their best behaviors can be promoted through the creative use of motivational supports including awards. You may not have gold medals or Oscar statues available, but here are a few ideas we used over the years with our children. I’d love to hear your ideas!

Keep a “Prize Jar” on hand to give attention to “random acts of goodness.” For us, it was a giant pickle jar stocked with little things that would bring a smile to our children’s faces. For small children this often included small toys, trinkets or snack items, and “gift certificates” for things like extra story time, or the chance to choose the next movie to be watched. For older children the “gift certificates” included a day free from chores, or a night out with extended curfew. These were intermittently handed out to children when they were “caught being good!” by sharing, volunteering to help someone, taking initiative, or demonstrating positive character traits such as kindness, honesty or respect.

We also used weekly “Pats on the Back.” Sue Badeau pat on the back photoWe traced a handprint on a sheet of paper and wrote the words “Pat on the Back TO ______________ FOR ___________” inside the shape of the hand. We copied this onto bright colored paper and had a supply of them handy along with craft and homework supplies. Children (and adults!) were encouraged to use them to notice something good someone in the family did and write it down anytime during the week. Once a week, (for us it was during Sunday family dinners) these were all read aloud, to much applause! It becomes contagious, and soon everyone is vying to give a “Pat” away!

Not everyone will win a medal or an Oscar, but everyone can be nurtured, supported and encouraged to do and be their best!

(Image courtesy of Morguefile.com)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sue Badeau headshotBIO: Sue Badeau is a nationally known speaker, writer and consultant with a heart for children and a desire to help adults and children build bridges of hope following the pain of trauma or loss. She has worked for many years in child services and serves on several national boards. Sue writes and speaks extensively to public agencies, courts, parent groups and churches. Sue and her husband, Hector, are lifetime parents of twenty-two children, two by birth and twenty adopted (three, with terminal illnesses, are now deceased). They have also served as foster parents for more than 50 children. They have authored a book about their family’s parenting journey, Are We There Yet: The Ultimate Road Trip Adopting and Raising 22 Kids, which can be found on Amazon.com or on Sue’s website – www.suebadeau.com – Sue may be reached by email at sue@suebadeau.com. She lives in Philadelphia and is a member of the Summit Presbyterian Church.

Tide Fool

man on park bench morguefile

What I read,

hand shading the gold glint

of the ocean,

is my scribbled pocket book

of hope.

 

A smooth cold rock

turns in my hand, like the chorus

of a secret sacred song.

 

The bench I watch the west from

is a pew to the wide sky and white caps.

 

What I negotiate here, what I navigate,

what I need is a way to walk on land,

as well as He traversed the waves.

As the deer pants for water. . .

Photo courtesy of Cindy Sproles

As the deer pants for water

 

 From the psalmist we read:

As the deer pants for streams of water,so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God
under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. Psalms 42: 1-4 NIV

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