A Gift of . . .Goodwill: “The Button Lady,” (Guest Blog by Connie Almony)

I first met fellow writer Connie Almony at the American Christian Fiction Writer’s conference in St. Louis this year. We were total strangers–for about a minute and a half. As we chatted on the shuttle from the airport to our hotel, we learned everything we needed to know about each other before hanging together the rest of the week.

Connie is a combination homeschool and public-school mom who lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She has a masters degree in counseling and has worked with adolescents and adults. She began writing off and on over a decade ago, but was inspired by her 10-year-old daughter (who writes chapter books in her spare time) to complete a full-length novel, starting a new leg in life’s journey. She has always enjoyed creative problem solving, but finds storytelling is even more fun–you get to devise the problem as well as the solution. You can follow her personal blog at:

http://livingthebodyofchrist.blogspot.com

The Button Lady

. . There are those people around me who bring new life to the drudgery of living. And those small things which can have a great impact.

First, on my list is the “Button Lady.” She is a checker at my local Giant whose uniform used to be adorned in decorative pins and buttons. Thus, the moniker. And though she no longer wears the “buttons,” her inner beauty, thank goodness, has not changed. What makes her so great? Well, I don’t know about you, but grocery shopping is not high on my list of things I love to do. I trudge to the store, after I order my list by aisles (which they keep mixing up on me—Argh!), pull out one of those carts (with the defective wheels that only goes left), fill it with food and junk that becomes increasingly unaffordable, and schlep into the line where some curmudgeon, who’s not happy to be in the middle of his or her eight-hour shift, grumbles questions about paper or plastic. Not so with the “Button Lady!” She not only greets me with a cheerful smile, she asks me about my life. Really! And you know what? She remembers what I said the next time I come in. Like she’s interested or somethin’.

Why’s that important? I don’t know, but at a store that has more and more self-checkout lines and opportunities to avoid human contact all together, I find myself drawn to her line. You know how you usually pan the check-out options and calculate the time each patron will take to get through so you can figure which line will go fastest? I don’t do that when “Button Lady” is on the job. I go right to hers. One time the manager opened a new line and offered for me to be first in it. I refused. Really! Just want to chat with the “Button Lady” thank you very much! Why? Because somehow when I leave, I feel more important in the world than I did when I came in. And that’s a good thing! It gives me that little glimpse of how my Creator sees me.

Thank you Button Lady … whose name I now know is really Jen.

(Thanks for your story, Connie! May we radiate Christ in this dark world. . like the Jen’s we bump into. . .wherever we go–)

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn

A Gift of . . . Worship

Eleven-year-old singer Jackie Evancho’s O Holy Night is my current favorite set of drive tunes. My unlikely favorite of these is “Pie Jesu,” originally penned as a Latin song written for the dead ( called a “requiem”). In Jackie’s shimmering soprano, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s arrangement of these very ancient lyrics is both beautiful and haunting. And very appropriate for this Christmas season—

As our Savior, Jesus faced human, physical death to bring us back to the Father.  .  .

He was born the lamb of Mary. Jesus is our Lamb of our redemption–!

Only through Jesus’ death and sacrifice, can we find peace. Eternal peace. . .

We worship and adore You, Lord, for Your inestimable Gift. . .given for us.

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn

Pie Jesu, Pie Jesu
Pie Jesu, Pie Jesu
Qui tollis peccata mundi
Dona eis requiem
Dona eis requiem.

Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei
Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei
Qui tollis peccata mundi
Dona eis requiem
Dona eis requiem
Sempiternam, sempiternam requiem.

Merciful Jesus, Merciful Jesus,
Merciful Jesus, Merciful Jesus, You who take away the sins of the world.
Grant them peace
Grant them everlasting peace

Lamb of God, Lamb of God,
Lamb of God, Lamb of God, You who take away the sins of the world.
Grant them peace
Grant them everlasting peace–
Everlasting, peace everlasting.

A Season of Gifts

photo courtesy of gifts4christmas.net

December’s monthly blog theme is “gifts.” I’ve got a couple of wonderful guests lined up this month to post their thoughts on gifts of all kinds. . . There are also some things stewing on the backburner from me, perhaps another short story in a Christmas setting. If you are busting to share a story or anecdote of your own about Christmas/gifts, please contact me and we’ll work you in. Always love those stories you share!

We may be drowning in the commercialism of Christmas, but let’s look UP and OUT. Let’s promise afresh to seek the Christ of Christmas.  Let’s set aside more time for the things that really matter, our faith, our family, our friends. . . God gave us to each other for a reason!

So include someone in your festivities who may be alone this year. . .we are told this is the time of year when more people consider suicide out of loneliness than any other time of year.  Take a good look around.  God will point out a dear one in need of a little love, and then enable you to extend “a cup of water in Jesus’ name.” You’ll both be blessed!

Let’s love on each other more richly, let’s worship more freely, let’s celebrate the God Who Came To Earth more jubilantly! May our Lord Jesus be glorified!

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn