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Mini Adventures and Big Blessings

My sweet Sunshine Boy came home from his Freshman year at college to spend the Labor Day weekend with us!  This was one happy momma, just to have him back in our home.  But when we discovered that Mr. Sunshine and Sunshine Angel both had to go to work on Saturday, my precious son invited me to spend the day with him at the beach.  He really knows the way to his momma’s heart!  (And maybe he missed me just a little??)

Before we left for Indian Rocks Beach, we decided we’d stop at a Chick Fil A on Ulmerton Road and have lunch.  Sunshine Boy asked if he needed to take his wallet, and I said no.  And off we went!

We made it to the Chick Fil A on Ulmerton Rd. nearest the beach, pulled into the drive-thru, and placed our order.  As we were pulling up to the window, I reached for my purse and found…NOTHING.  Uh-oh.  I put the car in park, got out, and started frantically searching for my purse….NOTHING.  I forgot it.  I hopped back into the driver’s seat and asked Sunshine Boy if he had his wallet with him.  “No mom, you told me I didn’t need it.”  So, there we were with no cash, no credit/debit cards, no ID, no drivers’ licenses.

We got to the CFA window and I started gushing apologies profusely, telling them we would have to cancel our order.  They just smiled at me, nodded their heads kindly, and spoke some kind of jibberish I couldn’t understand in my embarrassment and shame at wasting food and their time.  As I pulled away, they started to flag me down and I stopped the car.  They said they understood that these things happen, and they were blessing us with our food.  What??  We drove off with our hot chicken, waffle fries, Chick Fil A sauce, and grateful hearts.  That’s just one more reason why I love this company!  (Side note:  as a former CFA employee, Sunshine Boy was not surprised that they gifted our food to us.  But he was grateful that this CFA was just as sweet about it as the one he used to work for!)

So, what do you do when you’re about 45 minutes from home and realize you have no money, no credit/debit cards, and no driver’s licenses?  You press on toward the beach like a good Sunshine soldier, of course!  Off we went looking for free parking!

We pulled into a park near our favorite part of the beach, and discovered that not only did it have free parking, it had plenty of parking on the Saturday before Labor Day, a bathroom, and a beautiful boardwalk nature walk!  Since Sunshine Boy and I are almost always up for an adventure of any size, we decided to walk the the Nature Walk to its end at the intra-coastal waterway where we found 3 kids unsuccessfully trying to catch fish, and heard oysters “snapping” as they spit water below us.  (Sunshine Boy also forgot his sunglasses, so he was reduced to wearing my high-fashion white-framed glasses so as not to go blind in the Florida sunshine!)

Nature Boardwalk

Nature Boardwalk with high-fashion sunglasses

We managed to make our way back to the car, unload our stuff, get it set up on the beach, and hop into the water with a raft.  The sun was shining and the water was calm.  We floated around for a while, then spotted some storm clouds to the east and thought we should get out and dry off in case we needed to make a hasty retreat. (Florida storms can be dangerous!)  As we lay on our beach chairs floating into and out of a beach-induced coma-like sleep, the storms stayed just to the east and we never had to suffer one second without the sun’s rays beating down on us!

Storms behind us as we sit in the shade of our umbrella.

Storms behind us as we sit in the shade of our umbrella.



We finally packed up and headed home.  As we were driving away from the beach, I asked Sunshine Boy to look through the car for all of the loose change and see if we could scrounge up just enough to stop at The Pie Factory in Largo.  They sell the BEST Key Lime Pie!  He found a total of $5.36…SCORE!  That’s enough for us to share a piece of pie!



So we stopped at The Pie Factory and stood at the counter with a handfull of quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, trying to decide on only one piece of pie to share.  I kept trying to convince Sunshine Boy that he likes Key Lime pie as much as I do, but he wasn’t falling for it.  So, we finally settled on the Salted Caramel Apple pie.  The sweet man behind the counter asked me if I wanted my own slice of Key Lime pie, and Sunshine Boy and I laughed as we told him the story of forgetting our wallets and only having enough change to pay for one.  When it was our turn to pay for the pie, we again apologized to the woman at the register for paying with just change.  The sweet man behind the counter walked over to her, whispered something to her, and slid a slice of Key Lime pie across the counter “on the house”.  I literally teared up at the kindness!  We were so happy just to get one piece of their delicious pie!  To have them be so generous was just the icing on the “pie” of our day!

Salted Caramel Apple and the BEST Key Lime pie!

Salted Caramel Apple and the BEST Key Lime pie!

We thanked them profusely and took our pies out onto their deck to enjoy the breeze.  As we were sitting there eating our pie and chatting, Sunshine Boy looked at me and said, “Mom, don’t freak out.”  Uhhhh, that’s not good.

He nodded to a spot on the deck behind me and I turned and saw a baby squirrel making a beeline toward my feet.  I don’t have a fondness for squirrels, and especially ones that are bold enough to walk up to me.  When he jumped onto my foot, I jumped and let out a squeal!  Sunshine Boy took my phone, told me to be still, and took pictures of this flip-flop infatuated baby squirrel!




Eventually, the squirrel lost interest in me and turned toward Sunshine Boy.  As Sunshine Boy backed up, the squirrel followed him.  The faster Sunshine Boy moved away, the faster the baby squirrel followed.  I retrieved my phone in time to get a video of Sunshine Boy practically running to the end of the deck, pie in hand (to protect it from the squirrel), only to toss the pie on a table and hop the railing to escape the baby squirrel!  (Sadly, I cannot get the video to load into this post.)  I had tears dripping off my cheeks from laughing so hard!


Baby squirrel in hot pursuit of Sunshine Boy!

I managed to go retrieve Sunshine Boy’s pie and meet him back at the car where he was waiting for me, sans baby squirrel.  We got into the car and ate the rest of our pies, and headed home from a fantastic day of mini-adventures and big blessings.


2014 Top 10 Bucket List

At the start of a new year, I like to set goals that are (mostly) super easy to reach.  Instead of focusing on a resolution (that feels like I am attempting to change a defect), I prefer to think of it as adding an achievement to my blessed life!

I have a friend who made a “2014 Bucket List” for her life, and I decided to start this new year with the same approach.  I culled ideas and suggestions from friends and the internet and said I’d share my list once it was complete.  So, here are my 2014 Bucket List Top 10:

1.  Visit my family in the northeast.

2.  Pay off a large amount of debt.

3.  Road trip to the west coast with my kids.

4.  Read at least one book a month for pleasure.  (I read for work all the time, but rarely get to read for fun!)

5.  Family trip to Disney World.  (We live in Florida and haven’t been to Disney in 8 years!)

6.  Attend a concert for one of my favorite bands.

7.  Deliver a gift and/or handwritten note to an unsuspecting friend once a month.

8.  Learn how to play one song on the keyboard.

9.  Go snorkeling in the Florida Keys.  (We didn’t get to snorkel the last time we went because it rained during our entire vacation!)

10.  Ralk in three 5K runs.  (No, “ralk” is not a typo.  At my age and stage of life and fitness, I don’t push myself to run a full 5K.  I say I subscribe to the Scooby Doo method of training:  I ralk.  Its a combination of running and walking.  As long as I finish the race, I consider it a success!)

OK, that’s my top 10.  What plans do YOU have for this new year?  Whatever they are, I pray that you are blessed with the presence of the Lord!  Happy New Year!

From 2013's list.  Segway tour of St Pete, Florida

From 2013’s list. Segway tour of St Pete, Florida

Mr. Turkey Man


Every year Mr. Sunshine’s employer gives their employees a free frozen turkey for Thanksgiving.  And every year that Mr. Sunshine has worked for this company, with one lone exception, he has been out of town during the turkey distribution.  One of his co-workers happens to live 2 blocks away from us, and he has graciously agreed to deliver our frozen turkey.  Every year.  This year was no exception.

Today is turkey delivery day.  Since I run in and out of the house most days, there’s no guarantee that I’d ever be home to receive the turkey.  I have been here to personally receive the turkey only once.  So we just put a cooler out at the front door.  It’s quite magical….leave the house for a few hours, come home to a free frozen turkey in the cooler at the front door.  I highly recommend it.


This year, I got my head on straight and decided to properly thank Mr. Turkey Man for his years of faithful service.  So I baked some chocolate chip cookies and put them in the cooler for Mr. Turkey Man to take home and share with his wife and kids. Who doesn’t like baked goods, right?

If you’re at all familiar with me and my opinion of anything to do with food and kitcheney-stuff, you know that this was a magnanimous gesture on my part.  And it will, in all probability, result in a cease and desist request from Mr. Turkey Man.  I don’t cook.  I don’t bake.  I don’t do kitcheney-stuff.

It’s very possible that these cookies will be met with the same reaction from Mr. Turkey Man and his family the same way they are in my own family.  “We like Dad’s cookies better.”

I debated putting an asterisk on the note, informing Mr. Turkey Man that these are my “not-quite-as-unhealthy” version of cookies.  But I decided not to.  He might be inclined to keep the turkey if he knew he was getting a reduced-sugar, higher-fiber version of an All-American treat in return for his kindness.  And I’m not one to look a gift-turkey in the beak.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Last night I had a nightmare.  Here it is:

The family and I went to a beach cabin, which was really a 2-story log cabin at the beach.  The top floor was the 1-room living quarters with a kitchenette, bed, sofa, and brown leather recliner, all on an old wooden floor.  We had just woke up and Mr. Sunshine was mulling around in the kitchen.  All of a sudden, the Obamas arrived for their vacation at our cabin.  They walked in and Barack sat down in the brown leather chair, reclined, and glared at me.  I was still in bed and I glared back at him.  Michelle took her girls and my kids out to the beach.  I started looking around for my dogs, and opened a hatch in the floor to discover the first floor was full of huge logs.  My dogs were down there, standing on the logs, looking scared to death.  Somehow, Sunshine Girl came up from the beach and got the dogs and brought them upstairs.  Their feet were red and raw, with no fur left on them, like they had walked through something caustic.  The rest of them still had fur, but their skin underneath was red, as if fumes from something had affected them.  Sunshine Girl and I started to rinse them off with cool water.  The dogs looked up at me gratefully and they started to get better.  The whole time, Barack Obama reclined in the corner glaring at me.  And I knew he had something to do with my dogs getting hurt, so I kept glaring back at him.

What the heck does THAT mean???

I Did NOT Save My Son

LukeHere’s how it went down.

It was after 3:00 on Sunday afternoon after a busier-than-usual weekend.  Mr. Sunshine and I had spent Friday night, and part of Saturday celebrating our 26th wedding anniversary (thank you very much!).  I had spent 4 hours volunteering with our church’s special needs respite ministry (LOVE me some fun with those kids and fellow volunteers!) on Saturday morning.  Saturday evening, Sunshine Girl took a friend to the baseball game with us, followed by a sleepover.  We all went to church Sunday morning (in two different vehicles because we were all going different directions at different times after church) where I volunteer in the Youth ministry (shout out to all my peeps!).  After first service, Sunshine Girl and I took her friend home and returned to church for a meeting for a mission trip that both kids will be going on this summer.  And let’s not forget that Sunshine Girl was leaving church with the Youth for a summer camp immediately following the mission trip meeting so we had to make sure she had packed her bags on Friday and brought them with her to church.  Oh yeah, somewhere in there we were supposed to eat (Seriously, I kinda forgot to feed Sunshine Girl’s friend enough.  I was obligated to apologize to her mom for returning her lighter than she was when she arrived.)

While Sunshine Boy and Sunshine Girl and I were all involved with the mission trip meeting and summer camp sendoff, Mr. Sunshine went home to finish never-ending repairs on this house that really is my little slice of paradise.  When the meeting was over, and Sunshine Girl was delivered safely and with all accompanying bags to the Youth ministry folks, Sunshine Boy and I headed home about 2:30.  I had plans to go out grocery shopping because there was no food in the house.  Sunshine Boy said he had plans to work on a project he’s been working on for a week.  Apparently those plans look like sprawling on the floor with the dogs the second you walk in the door.  (We definitely have different approaches to tackling our To-Do’s.)

I was checking in with Mr. Sunshine to see if he needed me to pick up any Duct Tape or WD-40 while I was out grocery shopping, and getting my coupons and list together to head out the door.  Sunshine Boy was sprawling on the floor.  Still.  Saying, “Mom, look at this.”  And, “Mom, watch this.”

A neighbor walked up to the front door.  I answered it while Sunshine Boy stayed sprawled on the floor.  All 6 feet of him.  Still.

The neighbor asked if either of my kids could come down and mow and trim her yard.  She’s been working on getting it done, but migraines have prevented her from making any real progress.  She offered to pay for the work.  I told her that Sunshine Girl had just left for camp for several days but that Sunshine Boy was still here, and I stepped aside and turned toward Sunshine Boy, still sprawled on the floor, with a questioning look.

He didn’t respond, so I asked him if he was able to help our neighbor out with her yard today or was his project going to take too much time.

[Here’s where I have to put a little background into the story.  My children are historically compliant.  To me especially.  They pretty much have always done what I have asked them without much complaint.  That’s definitely a good thing.  But as they get older, I’m encouraging them to make decisions independently of me, but with our beliefs, morals, and standards still intact.  They have insight into their own lives that I don’t have now.  They still tend to do whatever they believe I’m asking them to do, whether it’s the best decision or not.  It’s a work in progress.]

So, Sunshine Boy says, “Sure, I can do the lawn.”  While he’s still sprawled on the floor.

I left to do my grocery shopping, and on my way home as I passed the neighbor’s house, I noticed that Sunshine Boy was not out there mowing.  Nor was he picking up the sticks in the yard (big oak trees drop a lot of limbs when tropical depressions come through, as one did this past Thursday).  And it was clouding up and thundering, as it often does every day in summer in Florida.

When I got to the house, I was already getting mad picturing Sunshine Boy still sprawled on the floor, possibly asleep.  Fortunately, he wasn’t .

I asked him why he hadn’t gone down to start mowing the neighbor’s yard yet, and he told me he had gone over to feed another neighbor’s cat (oh yeah, I forgot about the cat) and had eaten lunch (oh yeah, I forgot to feed people this weekend).  While these were decent excuses, I informed him that he had agreed to do a job, and that his father (who had since left the house to go buy some Duct Tape or WD-40 or something) had mentioned he should do it while it’s dry, and that he was still lingering around the house.  I told him that he needed to get his butt down there immediately and mow as much of the yard as he could until he saw lightning or heard  thunder, then hightail it home.  I was, how shall I say it?  Not-so-nice.

So he did.

I unloaded the groceries and stepped out front to look down the street to see how much progress he was making.  In that big yard.  All alone.  Building a 3′ tall pile of tree limbs on the driveway just to be able to begin mowing.  And it was thundering.  And he wasn’t coming home.  He was defying me to finish the job he had promised to do.

So, I got my yard shoes on and grabbed the weed-eater from the shed and walked down there.  And Mr. Sunshine came home and grabbed the blower and a tank of gas from the garage and came down and helped too.  NOT to save him on this job.  But because we want him to know we have his back and we support him for doing the right thing.  Always.

Because this is a boy who sprawled on the floor and was disrespectful to another adult (neighbor) when she came to the door and he didn’t stand up and come to the door to talk to her.  And this is a boy who didn’t do the work he agreed to do within the time frame we had strongly suggested he follow.  This is a boy I have to constantly remind to do his chores.

But this is also a boy who is joining two missions this summer.  This is a boy who keeps in touch by text with a teenage boy with special needs that he met last summer.  This is a boy who friends any new young men visiting our youth services for the first time, taking them around and introducing them to his friends and making them feel welcome.  This is a boy who just finished his first college class at 16 years old with an “A” and will be a full-time college student next year, before he turns 17.  This is a boy who gets complimented by the general public for being polite and gracious and outgoing and friendly at his mall job.  This is my boy.  And I raised him.  And that probably contributed to how he’s turning out.  But I know without a shadow of doubt that I did not save him.

Jesus did.

Tubin. Tubin. Tubin on the River


Yesterday I got to take my kids and their friends tubing down Rainbow River in Dunellon, FL.

We had been once before, last year, with our church high school youth group.  I was warned then that the water would be cold (I don’t do cold) because it is spring-fed.  Cold didn’t even begin to describe it.  I spent the entire 4-hour ride down the river (Yes, I said 4-hour ride.  At least the passengers on the SS Minnow only had to suffer through a 3-hour tour.) perched balanced atop a tube, never allowing my bottom or feet to enter the river.  It was probably the equivalent of a 4-hour ab and back workout.  I was exhausted.  And it was all futile effort because, as is the norm in Florida during the summer months, we had an afternoon thunderstorm.  So, we all ended up completely drenched, stranded on someone’s private property for about 30 minutes while we were waiting out the storm (lightning and water are a bad mix) so that we could continue our torturous ride down the river.  Hopefully, only 3 other people on that trip last summer knew how miserable I really was (two of them would be my kids because they know I don’t do cold).

So, you might be asking yourself, why in God’s name did I agree to go back down this cold, crystal clear, spring fed river, on purpose?  Because I’m a mom.  And that’s what you do when your kids want to do something that you know is good for them, will bring them joy, and get them outside and off of the electronics.  (To be honest, the kids didn’t ask to go.  I suggested it because of the other good-for-them reasons, and they agreed.  Then I thought, ‘Oh dang, now I have to actually take them.’)  Oh, how we moms suffer for our children (cue the hand-to-forehead-nearly-fainting-from-exhaustion pose).

Now for the good news, yesterday was a BLAST!

I was a  little worried as we drove up there, my little truck full of 6 different tubes and one raft and 5 human beings and one cooler.  Dark storm clouds were all around us.  This didn’t bode well for the day, and it wasn’t even Florida summetime yet.  But we pressed on.

We got to the launching area and the first thing I noticed was a sign that said flotation devices over 60″ diameter not allowed.  Dang!  My raft was over that limit.  That was going to be my salvation in this river….I wouldn’t have to get wet at all and could carry our “necessities” such as waters, snorkels/masks, and phones in plastic sealed baggies.  Leaving the raft in my little truck, I again, pressed on.

We all dug in to the food we had packed so we wouldn’t set out completely starved.  I inflated 5 tubes while Sunshine Boy went up to the counter to pay for park admission and transportation back to the launch point at the end of our 2-hour ride.  (Make note here.  We planned to only go down the river for 2 hours, get out at that exit, and be returned to my little truck to go get something for a late lunch).  One of the rafts was much larger than the others, and had a net bottom.  I claimed that one reasoning that I could carry supplies with a reasonable assumption that we wouldn’t lose them because this tube had a bottom.  Plus, it was the biggest.  And it had a bottom.  That would certainly help keep me out of the water, right?  Riiiiight…

So we get the tubes into the water and the sun is shining and the water really doesn’t feel too bad at this point.  I’m thinking this is going to be a piece of cake today and I’ll most certainly receive a round of applause at the end of the day.

And we headed down the river and about an hour into the lazy ride, we came to the tree swing. Someone rigged up a rope swing from way up high in a tree on the bank of the river, and nailed some 2×4 planks into the tree and a small piece of wood on a broken branch as a platform to jump off.  Perfectly safe, I’m sure.  So the boys wanted to jump and I thought it would be awesome to get some pictures.  So I dug around into the pool bag I had in my large, net-bottomed tube and found my zipper-closure baggies with my phone and keys so that I could take a few pics.  And I discovered that zipper-closure baggies aren’t waterproof, even when you put one inside of another.  My phone and keys were swimming inside of a baggie filled with water inside of a baggie filled with water.  Dead phone.  So I “paddled” over to the riverbank (careful to look out for gators) and tried to stand up out of my tube and realized I was kinda stuck.  My tube had been leaking air for the entire hour and I hadn’t noticed.  But that would explain why it was becoming increasingly harder for me to keep my bottom out of the water.  I just thought I was really, really out of shape.  So I proceeded to blow up my tube, keeping an eye out for gators (Pretty sure I spotted on on the opposite bank, but the kids tried to convince me it was turtles.  Funny how they were the ones convincing me.) and thanking God that at least I only had to deal with a leaking tube for one more hour and could get my phone out of the water in an effort to start to dry it out and save it.  Yeah, right.

So, after several jumps from the tree, I convinced the kids to keep moving on the river and we approached the 2-hour exit and got out.  I had never used this exit before, so I was unfamiliar with where to go.  Two of my adventurers took off ahead of us but made so much noise that I knew pretty well where they were.  And then we encountered another group going the opposite direction as us.  I recognized them as the group that had set out right before us at the launch site.  They stopped us and said don’t bother going all the way up to the parking lot because there’s nothing there.  It’s a ghost town.  Ummmm, what??

So, since my adventurers were so far ahead of us, we had to travel the long and winding boardwalk through the swampy hammock.  I carried my now-almost-thoroughly-deflated tube and increasingly-heavy gear to the sidewalk and walked up to the parking lot with a building with bathrooms and a little convenience store just to catch up to them.  The place was deserted.  The building was locked up and no lights were on.  The bathroom doors were locked.  There were no cars in the parking lot.  We saw signs that said the last shuttle run was at 3:30.  Without my phone, I could only guess that it was around 1:45.  We sat and we wandered and we talked and we kind of stared at each other for a good 30 minutes while we waited hopefully for a shuttle.  And the actions of the previous group were echoing in my head, knowing that they had decided to cut their time losses and get back into the river and finish the entire run….2 more hours.  If we did that, we’d be returning home way later than we had planned.  This could cause some problems since we all had someplace to be in the evening.

One of the boys decided to run up the road from the parking lot a little ways and came back to report that there was a padlock on the gate to the entrance.  Not lookin’ good.

So we made the decision to trudge…uh, I mean walk purposefully back to the river and get back in and finish the rest of the run.

On the way back to the water’s edge, one of the boys played a fun little game called, “What would you do if there was a Zombie Apocolypse RIGHT NOW?”  The kids shared their creative and stealthy ways to survive a Zombie Apocolypse.  Ahhh, the optomism and feelings of immortality of teens.

So we got back into the chilly water and I told the kids we’d actually have to paddle (vs. just floating) down the river because this stretch of the river has almost no noticeable current and the signs on the 2-hour exit said the last transport runs at 3:30.  Considering the time we spent waiting at the little convenience store/parking lot, and walking into/out of the river exit, I guessed it was nearing 2:30 now.  And we supposedly still had 2 more hours on the river until we reached the “end” of the ride.  And I had no idea what to do if we got to an empty parking lot and I had no phone and no car and no transportation was coming to get us.  I totally would have figured out something, but I just didn’t know what at the time.

I got into the river and I started paddling and I was making great strides in getting down the river muy rapido.  The kids, not so much.

After a few “encouraging words” only garnered short spurts of paddling from the kids, I decided to just let it be.  We (mostly) floated down the river (because I really just can’t let anything be….just ask Mr. Sunshine).  And it started to rain.  And I got cold.  Really cold.  And I seriously considered climbing out of the river onto one of the properties with one of the smaller “Private Property” signs (My reasoning was that the people who went out and bought really big “PRIVATE PROPERTY” signs really meant it.  But the people who only put out small “Private Property” signs were just making a suggestion.) and asking, or begging, them to drive us back to the launch site and I’d pretty much just hand over my Visa.

But I didn’t.  I. STUCK. IT. OUT.

And the kids?  THEY. WERE. AWESOME.  They continued to play the entire way down the river.  And we got to the end and got out and walked to the parking lot with my now deflated tube and 4-ton bag of gear.  And we waited about 10 minutes and a van showed up and took us back to the launch site where we all felt a little refreshed and successful.

(We found out from this driver that the 2-hour exit is run by the state and they only run on the weekends, only until 3:30.  And they will not come get their customers at the 4-hour exit if they miss the 2-hour exit, EVER.  The 4-hour exit is run by the county and they run every day.  And the state does not allow them to drive onto the 2-hour exit property to pick up river adventurers.  Oh, and the country runs their transportion until something like 5:30.  So if you go on the river, you need to know who you are paying to pick you up where on what day and until what time.)

We got changed into dry clothes (bathrooms with changing rooms on site, but no showers.).  And we deflated the rest of the tubes and put all of the gear away and decided to go celebrate a great day with a gourmet meal from McDonalds.  (Which could probably be a whole other blog post because our orders were totally messed up and these kids are stinkin’ hilarious!)  And I actually got everyone where they needed to be just in the nick of time (though they all still had dirt and river muck on them where they might not have been able to wipe it off before they changed clothes).  I was even able to make my 2 meetings at church with nasty rain/river smeared hair, damp bathing suit under my sweatpants and tank top, and exhausted makeup-less face.

And later last night, after we all had showers and had our pj’s on.  My precious children said, “Thanks for taking us tubing today, Mom.  We had a great time.  It was probably one of the most fun days we’ve had in a long time.”

My standing ovation.


On my way to an appointment this morning I was driving along a curvy 2-lane highway. Going around one of those curves, I had to slow waaaaaay down to be able to pass a young woman walking too close to the road. There are no shoulders or bike or walking lanes on this road, and people rarely walk along it. But when they do, they usually walk in the wild grass along the side of the road. But this woman chose to walk on the edge of the road, making it difficult to pass her safely with oncoming traffic coming around the curve. For this reason, I really noticed her.

She had her hair up in a tight pony tail and was wearing a V-neck white T-shirt with black cotton capri’s with the ties around the bottom of each leg. She had thin flip-flops on her feet. And she had a white washcloth in her hands that she kept putting on the right side of her face. I assume it was wet and she was cooling herself with it while she was walking.

I went on to my appointment, and 30 minutes later I was done. I proceeded to take the same curvy 2-lane highway home, and lo and behold, there was the same young girl still walking on this highway a little over a mile away from where I first saw her. This was obviously not a workout style walk. She was not moving fast enough nor was she dressed for it. This girl looked questionable. She might have been staggering a little. I kept driving.

But I thought about a friend of mine who has a daughter who is in and out of desperate situations. This friend constantly prays for angels to cross paths with her daughter and help in a large ways and small ways. And I thought about the mother of this girl on the side of the road and wondered if she prayed for angels to cross paths with her daughter. If this were my daughter on the side of the road, I’d pray for an angel (another momma) to cross paths with her and help protect her. So I turned my little truck around and went to find the young girl.

I caught up with her and pulled off of the road a little ahead of her and waited for her to catch up with me. I watched in my rearview mirror and could see she was apprehensive of my presence. So I put my window down and stuck my head out and shouted, “I thought you looked like you could use a ride somewhere!” As she got closer, I told her I had seen her farther south on the same road before my appt, and she was still walking. She must be hot and tired of walking in those flip-flops along such a dusty dangerous road. Did she want a ride?

She thanked me (“ma’am”) and said she was fine. As she approached my car, she kept putting the mostly-dry-now white washcloth on the right side of her head and face. But as she constantly readjusted it, I could see she had freshly stitched wounds on her right ear, behind her right ear, and on the right side of her neck. I asked her again if she was sure she didn’t want a ride. She said no. That she was only going to Sweetbay and it wasn’t far. It wasn’t. But I suspected she was afraid. Maybe not of me, but of doing something wrong.

So I asked her if she’d at least like a bottle of water to finish her journey to Sweetbay. She looked at me surprised and asked if I had extra water. I said yes and gave it to her.

Then I asked her if I could pray for her. She smiled and said she would like that very much. She said her name is Christina. Or maybe it’s Kristina. I didn’t ask how to spell it. I told her my name. Then I said I’d pray and she interrupted me and said her momma needs the prayers more because she was just murdered. And she started to tear up. Then I started to tear up. And I couldn’t speak. And she walked away.

So I squeaked out, “Be safe.”

And I prayed for Christina/Kristina all the way home.

Follow up. A friend of mine read this post and recognized Christina as the sole survivor of a home invasion where her mother and a family friend were shot to death. Christina had been shot as well, but she survived. So sad…..