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Christian insprirational

What Really Counts

The true rewards of being an author

I was exhausted. I’d just completed my fourth major author event in four weeks. After eating dinner and pouring a cup of tea, I began the task of tallying sales and making appropriate entries in columns for taxes I owe to my city, the state and of course your uncle and mine.

This is one of my least favorite parts of being an artist and small business owner. But it is best tackled as soon as possible, after an event, to ensure accurate bookkeeping.

It is an effort not to be distracted during the monotony of the meticulous. And on this night, despite my efforts to the contrary, my rebellious mind traveled back to the people I met, the stories I heard and the opportunities to connect with people I have never met before, and may never see again.

I’m glad I’m not required to select any one encounter as my favorite. They all are precious to me as I recall them. And they remind me of the importance of celebrating diversity, while embracing sameness.

My heart ached for the young man who is now estranged from God because of wounds inflicted in his earlier life, by church hierarchy. I gave no advice, just shared a story of similar events that I learned to forgive when my mentor and friend, Dolores (Like the River) convinced me that humans do not speak for God. I tear, a smile, a nod and an authentic “Yes, I know how that feels.” Did he buy a book? I can’t remember. He took a card and said perhaps he would check out a podcast episode or a blog post in the future.

Enjoying professional camaraderie with a fellow healthcare worker was a sweet moment. The story of being an OR tech, first assistant in the donor room on a transplant team is still one of my favorite tales in my collection of short stories (Jesus in Shorts). We sat in our common bond and sisterhood formed by being in the wars of helping to save lives and helping comfort those left when we failed to do that. We agreed we would not trade the experiences for anything offered us. Did she purchase a book? I couldn’t recall. I just couldn’t.

How good it felt to laugh at the idea of having more guts than brains when I launched my podcast “Livin’ What You’re Given” on my 70th birthday. The 72-year-old sharing that laugh with me reminded me that boomers are not going quietly to the rocking chair until all other options have been exhausted. She said she might buy a book on Kindle because she can make print larger. I understood. She took my card as we exchanged a wink and knowing smile.

Sometimes we meet someone we just click with. And so it was with a delightful soul who I met at a previous event and who came to visit at this even and buy a few more books. This woman and I could be related by blood, the bond is that strong. Her contagious laughter and charming spirit were among the best blessings of the day. And as we chatted, it was like we had known each other for years.

There is rarely a time when people look through my collection of short stories that they do not fall upon a picture by my very talented artist and friend, Sally Cordrey. A man who sat down next to me and picked up Jesus in Shorts found the page with a drawing of Lynard, my 1969 VW Beetle. He told me about his 1973 Beetle and asked if I still had Lynard. I said that I do and in fact Lynard is one of my best buddies. He helps me remember to slow down, reflect and appreciate the beauty all around me as well as accept myself and others as we are. My fellow VW owner nodded and said he would take two books, I think. I can’t quite remember. But I loved his VW story.

These are just a few of the encounters that over the past month have reinforced my belief that no matter what is going on around us, we belong to each other. We have the choice to accept or reject this belief by being willing to share our stories while listening to and honoring the stories of others.

After savoring these treasured memories, I went outside to make sure Lynard was all tucked away for the night. Then, I decided to pour another cup of tea, sit in my favorite chair and just thank God for gifts He gives to His kids. I wrapped up in a blanket by the fireplace and chose to stare into the flames as the bookkeeping was put on hold – for a bit. Praying for the people I met, enjoying their company and stories and perhaps finding new friends was much more important than financial spreadsheets.

It is impossible to count all the blessings of these past weeks. But it was, and will always be, the blessing of each exchange that, for me, paints the landscape of what really counts.

Copyright November 2022, Laura L. Padgett, Montrose, CO

If you enjoy the stories on my blog, you will love my podcast found under the podcast tab on my home page of this website.

Connect with me, Laura Padgett, on Instagram at laurapadgettauthor,Twitter @lauraleepadgett or my Facebook Author Page

Check out the books I have published

“Dolores, Like the River: The Life-Altering Influence of a Mentor” available at Westbow Press, Barnes & NobleAmazon and all major online retailers. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page and I will send you an autographed, personalized copy.

The award-winning “Jesus in Shorts: Twenty-five Shorts Stories of Life-Changing Jesus Moments,” available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page and I will send a personalized copy to you..

Christian insprirational

Can’t do it alone

I don’t know about you, but I was raised with an independent spirit fostering the attitude, “I can do it all on my own.” This is seen in the two-year-old child who stands and insists that despite the difficulty or danger, “me do, me do” is their reality. Indeed, when being raised in a family where kids were pretty much left to fend for themselves (a story for another time) that is a life-saving posture in many ways and on many days. As an adult, I have learned not only to challenge that thinking, but to dismiss it as I’ve learned to surrender my will and to rely upon entities outside of my more than capable (in my opinion) little 5-foot self.

I do not apologize for the fact that I am a person who tries to follow Jesus Christ. But I also have been blessed to lean upon, learn from and find ways to imitate some dear souls He has sent my way to be mentors, teachers and representatives of Him here on planet earth.

September 30, 2022, would have been the 111th birthday of one of those dear souls. When I was in my late 20’s, I met a woman who helped me come to understand that a fierce fight to always do life on my own, without help or guidance, was a remnant of a past that said no one was here to help or care about me; and it did not provide health or healing from that past.

The thirty-five-year relationship I shared with this woman, whose name was Dolores, laid a foundation that emphasizes the importance of reaching out for help, learning from a mentor and practicing the art of being a mentor myself.

On the anniversary of Dolores’ birthday this year, I spent several hours reflecting upon the lessons she taught me. I offered God gratitude and praise for sending her to me when I was a broken, lost spiritual refugee, determined to do life in a way that would have been destructive to me and others.

To honor my mentor this year, I have released a second edition of my first book called, “Dolores, Like the River.” I have added a subtitle, on the advice of other beautiful souls and mentors, “The Life-Altering Influence of a Mentor.”  It is my prayer that for those who were, like me, born into and raised in a family that taught us we were on our own and it was all up to us to survive and thrive the best we can, this book will be a balm for their souls and perhaps inspiration to find a path where reliance upon God and others provides health, healing and wholeness.

More importantly, I hope every reader of these pages and words will realize that one of the best gifts we are given is in the form of another person who cares enough to help us be who we were meant to be. And when it comes their time to be that balm for the soul, that helper in the storm, that one honoring tears and respecting time needed for healing, they will take that assignment with gratitude. As Mother Teresa told us decades ago, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other.” I’m thankful Dolores modeled that for me and taught me to model it for others.

Yes, we do belong to each other. Let’s remember that in our broken, divided and sometimes hostile world. Let’s find ways to be a positive force in another life, in our churches, countries and world. In the end, the truth is, we are all mentoring others whether we realize it or not. But how it is done can often have an effect one way or another. When we reach out to others, we not only help create better and more life-sustaining communities, we give others permission to reach out too when they discover they can’t do it alone.  

If you enjoy the stories on my blog, you will love my podcast found under the podcast tab on my home page of this website.

Connect with me, Laura Padgett, on Instagram at laurapadgettauthor,Twitter @lauraleepadgett or my Facebook Author Page

Check out the books I have published

“Dolores, Like the River: The Life-Altering Influence of a Mentor” available at Westbow Press, Barnes & NobleAmazon and all major online retailers. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page and I will send you an autographed, personalized copy.

The award-winning “Jesus in Shorts: Twenty-five Shorts Stories of Life-Changing Jesus Moments,” available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page.

Christian insprirational

Honking at Stoplights

Recognizing when I am acting insane and finding ways to restore serenity

This is my first attempt at making a video blog for my storytelling format of Livin’ What You’re Given blog. I hope you enjoy it. I truly am in my element more as a performer when I orally share stories. May you be blessed as you listen. And don’t forget to join me on my twice monthly podcast also called Livin’ What You’re Given. I like to keep things simple. Have a blessed day.

We truly are what we choose to eat. Choose wisely friends.

Copyright April 2022, Laura L. Padgett, Montrose, CO

If you enjoy the stories on my blog, you will love my podcast

Connect with me, Laura Padgett, on Instagram at laurapadgettauthor,Twitter @lauraleepadgett or my Facebook Author Page

Check out the books I have published

“Dolores, Like the River,” available at Westbow Press, Barnes & NobleAmazon and all major online retailers. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page.

The award-winning “Jesus in Shorts: Twenty-five Shorts Stories of Life-Changing Jesus Moments,” available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page.

Christian insprirational

God’s Syllabus

Lessons from a road trip classroom

Have you ever handed God a syllabus? You know, a structured plan for your learning/growth as you travel this world? Well I have. I admit it. My latest attempt to ask Him into my well-designed classroom came in the form of a 2500-mile-trip to the Pacific Ocean, through Arizona deserts and back home to Colorado.

I told God what I needed, which was direction for my podcast and writing life. My concern was finding which gifts to use for His glory and when. I wanted relief from the overwhelming feeling of urgency to figure out what to do next. I recruited several prayer warriors to ensure we stayed on the decided (by me) course that would yield desired results. Then I set off with pen and paper to find/document answers I sought.

As previously seen, God always has a better plan. Oh, I did learn many things. But the lessons were not about me per se. They were lessons of how to listen to, reflect upon, embrace and learn from others’ view points.

After an exciting event in San Diego where my husband was honored for his lifetime achievements, we ventured to where else in California? The beach. Actually, we were on several beaches. While on one in Carlsbad, CA, we met and talked with a man who is a surfer and inventor. His stories of his travels led us to share some of our travel stories. During the better part of an hour we also discussed football, politics, surfing, dancing, art and food. Now I did not agree with everything he said on certain subjects; and he didn’t agree with me. But we had a cordial conversation that included sharing views and hearing another person’s perspective.

LESSON #1: Yes, we can have conversations that embrace civility, even if we are of differing opinions and have had different experiences.

We were blessed to have a visit from our grandson who journeyed from L.A., to spend an afternoon with us. Not only did he introduce us to the best tacos I’ve had this side of the U.S./Mexico border, we spent several hours just talking and sharing ideas. We discussed politics, football, world economy (included this whole crypto thing) and how his generation views their future minus the need to be property owners.

LESSON #2: The younger generation has much wisdom and sometimes elders can be served well by being in the seat of the student.

After leaving California we went to Arizona. In Yuma, we toured some museums full of Arizona history. At one location, our guide said this museum is bordered on one side by the mighty Colorado River. He expressed great concern over the less than stellar water flow right now. I guess he must have seen my resentment peak because how dare Arizona take “Our” water from Colorado was no doubt written all over my face. I didn’t say this out loud. I didn’t need to. He asked me if I like to eat lettuce in the winter? And how about watermelons and various green leafy veggies? I told him I do like those culinary treats. He looked at the river and asked, “Where do you think the water comes from to support the crops on our truck farms that go to many places in the U.S.?” He was right and I thanked him for helping me shift my perspective.

LESSON #3: I do not own the land, the water or the usages of natural resources in Colorado or anywhere else. God has graced us with resources to share and when we covet and hold onto false truths saying we have ownership, we hurt ourselves and others.

Next stop was the Painted Desert in Arizona. One of my favorite places to sit, think, take pictures and praise God for His amazing, diverse creativity. As I studied the desert made up of different soil types, colors, textures, structures and plant life, I saw what He was trying to tell me. We all are made up of complicated diversity as well and it is okay to embrace our different levels of gifts, talents and not have to pit one against the other. Making it an either/or situation is like removing one of the beautiful hues from the desert floor and focusing only on a couple of colors. How bland that would be.

LESSON #4: We are fearfully and wonderfully made in all our complexity and artistic diversity. The sense of urgency to use this gift or that is not of God. He does not do urgent. And His timing can be relied upon.

Final stop prior to returning home was in Durango, Colorado where we met a friend of ours for coffee. Like us, Shawna recently moved from the Denver Area to the Western Slope. She told us that in the move she got rid of a lot of stuff and not just material belongings. She subtracted things from her life that no longer serve her. Wow what an impact that statement had on me. Could God be any clearer?

LESSON #5: I don’t need all the physical, emotional or spiritual baggage that I pack around. I can give myself permission to sometimes discard what others insist is important, along with the need to constantly be and do more.

As we wound our way through the southern mountain passes en route to our home, I looked at the snow-covered peaks and reflected on the areas we had traversed. We were in six states, covered 2500 miles from mountains to the sea, to the desert and back to the mountains. Although I never get tired of admiring the Colorado Rockies, my mind’s eye focused on the scenes in the Painted Desert. I remembered seeing a gust of wind blow for just a few seconds, playing havoc with the loose sand and shifting it.

It wasn’t a stretch to realize that for me, this trip had been about shifting sands (my personal attitudes and urgent agenda items) too. Maybe the best lesson of all was to let God plan the syllabus in the future.

Copyright Feb 2022, Laura L. Padgett, Montrose, CO

If you enjoy the stories on my blog, you will love my podcast

Connect with me, Laura Padgett, on Instagram at laurapadgettauthor,Twitter @lauraleepadgett or my Facebook Author Page

Check out the books I have published

“Dolores, Like the River,” available at Westbow Press, Barnes & NobleAmazon and all major online retailers. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page

The award-winning “Jesus in Shorts: Twenty-five Shorts Stories of Life-Changing Jesus Moments,” available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page.

Christian insprirational

Sometimes I Just Cry

Making the choice to embrace our humanity

“Have you ever had the Chai tea here? It’s delicious.” The question came from a young lady sitting at a table about eight feet from my husband and me, in one of our favorite restaurants in Montrose.

We had been chatting back and forth about our information on the recent fires in the Boulder Area that devastated a community. We were strangers, but in this little restaurant that serves Himalayan food, we struck up a conversation that included topics like the recent Colorado disaster, food and eventually employment.

She and her husband were the only other couple in the restaurant beside Keith and me. They shared that they made a three-hour round trip to enjoy the cuisine in this establishment. When she asked about the Chai, I told her that I never drink anything with caffeine in the evening as it keeps me awake.

“Oh, I need to be awake tonight,” she told me. “I have to work a ten-hour shift.”

The natural question flowed from my lips, “And what do you do?”

“I am a nurse,” was her reply. “And I am getting ready to start my night shift in about two hours. It’s my sixth ten-hour shift in a row. I’m just so tired some days that even the caffeine doesn’t chase the fatigue away.”

I nodded and said, “I worked thirty years in the medical field, both clerical and clinical. I was at University of Colorado in the OR for several years. I remember those years and those hours.”

Our eyes held each other’s, connected by recognition and understanding of the sacred work we had been called to do. I waited for her to continue.

She broke the silence by saying, “I sometimes think my exhaustion will overtake me before I can get on top of it. And the things we’ve seen, and are now seeing, aren’t only exhausting to body and brain, but also to…” She trailed off.

I finished her sentence, “To the soul.”

“Yes.” She went on, “I can never remember, in my twenty-five years of nursing, when I felt so weary and even sometimes hopeless. There are days when I should be sleeping but all I can do is cry. And I do cry now.”

“Yes,” I said.

“We were trained to keep our emotions out of our work. But these days I cannot do that. And so, when I need to, I just cry – out loud and for as long as it takes to partially relieve the sadness that we were taught to dismiss,” she said.

“Yes,” I said.

“And I’m not ashamed of my tears now. I don’t try to hide them. I have no need to explain them or ask permission to release them. I cry because it is sad. I cry because I am true to me now.”

“Yes,” I said.

During the conversation her eyes never left mine. Her husband had gone to warm up their car prior to their departure.

“You know, don’t you?” she asked.

“Yes.” I said.

We fell silent again and accepted comfort provided in the knowledge that each one was seeing, acknowledging and honoring the heart of the other. We were two strangers who may never meet again, in a small-town restaurant, with a bond perhaps stronger than two women who’ve been friends for decades. I’ve no idea how long we remained in that posture. But I know it was enough to understand that God sent this younger woman into the company of one who had been and, in many ways, will always be where she is right now.

She got up to leave, but prior to exiting the building, she turned to look at me and offered a small, sad smile laced with determination to never be ashamed of her tears.

“Thank you, God bless you.” she said.

“And you too my friend.” I said.

As she walked out the door, I bowed my head and asked God to protect her and all our healthcare workers today. I thanked Him for opportunity to be a person in her world that for a brief moment, over hot plates of Masala and Saag, could authentically say I felt her pain and understood her tears. Then as my husband attended to paying our bill, I began to cry.

Illustration by Sally M. Cordrey, MA

Copyright January 2022, Laura L. Padgett Montrose, CO

Connect with me, Laura Padgett, on Instagram at laurapadgettauthor,Twitter @lauraleepadgett or my Facebook Author Page

Check out the books I have published

“Dolores, Like the River,” available at Westbow Press, Barnes & NobleAmazon and all major online retailers. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page

The award-winning “Jesus in Shorts: Twenty-five Shorts Stories of Life-Changing Jesus Moments,” available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page.

Don’t forget to follow my podcast episodes. You may hear the podcast on any device of your choice and on any platform where you now receive your podcasts. Or you can click on the Podcast Episodes tab on the home page of this website.

Christian insprirational

Cross and Shield

Who really fights the battle?

Ten years ago, Keith bought me a piece of jewelry that I wear often. It is a white abalone cross and shield. We were going through a particularly volatile time in our lives for many reasons. Each day I would get up and say, “I am weary, Lord. I just can’t keep fighting these battles and still do the work you have called me to do as a dance minister and author. I am so weary.”

During different parts of the journey, I took out the abalone pendant and held it close. I would envision myself standing under and clinging to the blood-stained cross of Christ with such force my arms ached. I saw me as needing to hold His shield of protection in front of me as a means of deflecting the external unpleasantness. It became quite heavy, and I would tell God at the end of the day how weary I was of it all.

I really believed it was up to me to do the work of holding the shield in front of me while physically leaning into the cross for the stability needed to keep standing. And in my efforts, I became exhausted to the point of becoming defensive and sometimes lashing out from a heart full of resentment.

Then one day while doing my devotions, and holding my necklace, God clearly said,”Back off. You do not need to use the cross and hold the shield out as weapons against others. You need to examine your own heart and see what is making you so fearful, angry, guilty and allowing hurts to turn to resentments.”

“Am I doing that Lord?” I asked.

“Are you not my child? I need you to understand that the shield and cross symbols are for your assurance that I am your protection at all times. And I loved and do love you enough to go to the cross for you. All I ask is that you hand Me those lies that you are choosing to believe and that are hardening your heart.”

In my darkest times, I removed my blinders and saw my defensiveness was based in the fact that I believed what was not true and I was going to great lengths to prove otherwise. I reflected upon the fact that the cross bore the weight of my past failures and temptations to retaliate. I saw for the first time that God was asking me to inventory my own attitudes and heart; then guard my heart and trust fully in Him.

This verse showed up in my devotional materials off and on for several weeks. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23 NIV). The word guard took on a whole new meaning as it became clearer every day that I needed to wear that cross and shield as a reminder that the One who protects me was/is doing the battle.

Today I still wrestle with unkindness and untruth all around me. Who doesn’t in this world? But now I more fully accept the truth of the cross and hand the shield to the only one who truly can protect me. He is able and willing to defend me, even from the condemnations of my own voice and heart that can lead to me hurting myself or others if moving from a defensive heart riddled with resentment.

Copyright October 2021, Laura L. Padgett Montrose, CO

Connect with me, Laura Padgett, on Instagram at laurapadgettauthor,Twitter @lauraleepadgett or my Facebook Author Page

Check out the books I have published

“Dolores, Like the River,” available at Westbow Press, Barnes & NobleAmazon and all major online retailers. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page

The award-winning “Jesus in Shorts: Twenty-five Shorts Stories of Life-Changing Jesus Moments,” available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page.

Don’t forget to follow my podcast episodes. You may hear the podcast on any device of your choice and on any platform where you now receive your podcasts. Or you can click on the Podcast Episodes tab on the home page of this website.

Christian insprirational

Spiritual Landslide

“I took my love, I took it down
I climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills
‘Til the landslide brought me down

Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older too.” – Lyrics by Stevie Nicks, July 1975

Any rock and roll fan from the 70’s and 80’s knows this song, called “Landslide” by the famous band Fleetwood Mac. It was written and sung by Miss Stevie Nicks in her distinctive voice that calls us into a haunting visualization of self examination.

I’ve recently been reflecting on my purpose and path, especially since I turned seventy years old in 2021. In my times of almost overzealous self-examination, I was called by God and encouraged by family and friends to do what I do best – continue to find ways to share stories. Because the pandemic made that path look different than it ever had, I was at a loss how to do that. Enter the idea to become a podcaster and bring not only my stories of faith, hope and experience to others but those of my fellow pilgrims on this planet where together we do life.

As the podcast came together I believed, as is the message of many in my new field of communication, that each of us has a message to share with the world. I also believed that the message I was sharing was for my audience. I had no idea that I had built my world around me and as I climbed this new mountain, the reflection I gazed at became of me. Then the spiritual landslide brought my reflection and reflective process down. It wasn’t about me, in my wisdom and experience, sharing messages. It was about me learning, learning and learning from my guests. And it was to be a way of giving them platform to teach others.

There is no better and more intense example of this than when I interviewed a gentleman who had survived a plane crash thirty-two years ago. I didn’t want to revisit the gory details of the actual incident. I wanted to know how his life, mind and heart pivoted as a result of this accident.

As the interview continued there were so many gems of hope offered by my guest. But the real soul shift came when Jerry told me of his conversation with himself in the last minutes before impact. He said, “Alright, if you happen to survive and are not seriously hurt, don’t panic. Don’t flee the plane and try to help others.”

In the interview it’s not hard to hear my guest, and me, choke up with emotion that neither of us attempted to control. I realized that God was saying to me, “It is not about what happened to Jerry Schemmel. It is about what I did and am still doing with what happened to him.” This concept had been first voiced by one of my guests, Karen DeArmond Gardner, as she shared her story of pivoting out of domestic abuse and into a new life. But it really hit home in the dialogue with Jerry.

I thought about this interview and particularly Jerry’s self-talk during a time when he believed he had seen the last day of his human life. I have wept tears of gratitude for the landslide that God sent to show this child that as I get older, I do want to be bolder and relinquish my need to build my life around me and my perceived reflection.

I do still believe that the podcast can and should be used to bring help to a traumatized world in need of wisdom, hope and healing. I more than ever believe I have no control over how the messages are received, and that my job is also to share the lessons I have learned. These lessons are coming from those people God has graciously placed in my life to help this child grow older and boldly walk into the change He is authoring, even if it means dismantling my own flawed reflection.

Copyright Laura L. Padgett Sept. 2021 Montrose, CO

To hear my entire interview with Jerry Schemmel, click on the podcast tab on the homepage of this website. It will be available anytime after 3 a.m. on Wednesday, September 8, 2021. To purchase a copy of Jerry’s book, “Chosen to Live: The Inspiring Story of Flight 232 Survivor, Jerry Schemmel”, go to Amazon Books.com and type in the title and author.

Connect with me, Laura Padgett, on Twitter @lauraleepadgett or my Facebook Author Page

Check out the books I have published

“Dolores, Like the River,” available at Westbow Press, Barnes & NobleAmazon and all major online retailers. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page

The award-winning “Jesus in Shorts: Twenty-five Shorts Stories of Life-Changing Jesus Moments,” available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page.

Don’t forget to follow my podcast episodes. You may hear the podcast on any device of your choice and on any platform where you now receive your podcasts. Or you can click on the Podcast Episodes tab on the home page of this website.

Christian insprirational

I just never talked about it

It was not my intention to do a podcast. Nope, not me. But God called me to do just that in the season of Covid. After months of prayer and coaching, I felt ready to bring positive messages from survivors of all kinds of traumas and pivotal points in their lives to help minister to a hurting country and world. It was my understanding, after seeking God’s guidance, that he wanted me to use my gifts as a storyteller and my experience as a radio talk show host to help bring some hope and light to a world in great darkness right now. I knew I could not do this without Him and a team of faithful friends and family who joined me in promoting the thoughts that He was giving me to share.

I was not without some timidity when it came to starting something like this (which is huge as you can imagine). But I knew if I obeyed, He would bless the work He was calling me to do. I could never imagine the blessings He had in store for me too. And bless me He did with the stories of my guests (all of them) that have begun to shine light in my personal little world, and encourage me to continue seeking His will, His guidance and His healing.

One current example of this is found in an interview with a lady named Karen DeArmond Gardner, who survived thirty years of domestic abuse in her first marriage. I had asked her to be on the podcast because I believe her book, “Healing from Domestic Abuse: Reaching for God’s Promise of Real Freedom” is needed to bring truth to a situation that is often silenced, overlooked and even ignored.

In this book, Karen does not focus on what happened to her but what Jesus is doing with what happened to her. She says this is not a self-help book but an invitation to walk into the fullness of God’s love. She tells us that leaving is just the beginning of healing, as she busts myths about what domestic abuse is, why women are not always able to get out of the situations, and why even churches are unlikely sources of support and help in the abusive marriage. Among the many, many nuggets of wisdom found in these pages as we walk into the love of God and learn to trust again, Karen shares that we must acknowledge what happened in order to offer it to God for our healing as well as asking Him what He wants to do with our experiences.

After the interview concluded, I was unsettled, sleepless and very, very sad. For several days, I asked God to reveal what He wanted me to see. I worried that technically I may have not dotted all my i’s and crossed all my t’s. But as I listened to the interview again during the editing process, I saw very clearly that my Heavenly Father was telling me there were pieces of my past, my childhood, I needed to acknowledge, revisit and offer to Him for healing.

It was not my intention to drag all those memories up again or search for ones I had forgotten. What good could that do now? But I knew just as I was learning to trust God and obey His guidance in the new realm of podcasting, I would be blessed by accepting an invitation into the healing He was offering me through the work of my friend and sister in the Lord, Karen. And so, it began.

As the child of alcoholics, I’ve spent a great deal of time learning about their disease and recovering from the effects of that disease. Likewise, I’ve spent a great deal of time excusing the acts of domestic abuse and violence I saw as a child – putting it down to the result of the drink. And I never talk about it. It never occurred to me that the scars of feeling unsafe have, are and always will affect my ability to trust fully, if left unaddressed.

So, today, thanks to God and His desire to heal me, and others, with podcast guests’ stories of hope and new life, I move into a new season of healing too. It will not be easy but I know I can trust the outcome if I rely upon the One who will answer the questions and show me how He will use what has happened to me too.

Let the healing begin.

Karen DeArmond Gardner’s interview is in two parts and will air on August 18 and 25. You can hear that by clicking on the tab on my website called “Podcast Episodes” or looking for “Livin’ What You’re Given” Podcast wherever you get your podcasts – Spotify, Apple, Stitcher, etc.

Copyright August, 2021 Laura L. Padgett, M.A.

Connect with me, Laura Padgett, on Twitter @lauraleepadgett or my Facebook Author Page

Check out the books I have published

“Dolores, Like the River,” available at Westbow Press, Barnes & NobleAmazon and all major online retailers. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page

The award-winning “Jesus in Shorts: Twenty-five Shorts Stories of Life-Changing Jesus Moments,” available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page.

Don’t forget to follow my podcast episodes. You may hear the podcast on any device of your choice and on any platform where you now receive your podcasts. Or you can click on the Podcast Episodes tab on the home page of this website.

Christian insprirational

Keeping My Beak in My Own Business

My husband, Keith and I, couldn’t help laughing at the red-headed finch as he tried to eat out of a hummingbird feeder. We were at our kitchen table watching the hummingbirds come and go as they enjoyed their breakfast. Their delicate balance of swiftly flapping wings and taking sustenance has always been a delightful way to start our day. We’ve found it particularly interesting when they perch on the little plastic resting shelves on the feeders while eating. This delicate dance was a stark contrast to the finch who despite gymnastics, including standing on his head, was unable to extract food from the tiny spout.

“What in the world has possessed that bird to think he can get his large, blunt beak into that little hole that’s meant for a long, needle-like beak?” It just seemed preposterous to me that with his own feeder full of bird seed meant for him and the other larger birds in our yard, he would waste his time and energy trying to eat in what seemed to be an impossible situation.

Long after Keith left the breakfast table, I remained glued to the scene of what I considered silly, albeit, entertaining. The finch was less than thirty feet from a feeder designed for him to have his fill of bird food. Yet, here he was hopping from one resting shelf to the other, poking his beak into the too-tiny holes and coming up empty without exception. Was he just being nosy? Did he think he needed to know what was going on with something that had nothing to do with him? Was he participating in the mindset of “the food’s always sweeter on the other side of the yard”?

As is God’s way sometimes, I often find myself in a classroom designed to teach me a lesson by using creatures outside the human variety. I am the first to admit, I would not voluntarily register for such instruction on God’s syllabus. But if I pay attention, I can find myself sitting, learning and understanding lessons that were not apparent to me through other means. So it was that morning.

I reflected on the finch doing everything he could to have what another bird had, while completely ignoring what had been designed and supplied just for him. His frustration was evidenced in his loud squawking and increasing pace of hopping from one shelf to the next. He would have what his fellow birds had, no matter what the cost. This would be even if it meant he would go hungry while the other large birds sucked down all the bird seed meant for him too. He had no concern, apparently that he appeared insane in his unsuccessful feeding frenzy.

Just look what he was missing in his pursuit of something not meant for him. Just look what he was bypassing in an attempt to figure out something that had nothing to do with him.

Whoa, wait a minute here. This was one of those moments when I think that although I love the book of life, the actual lab can be a little tough to handle. I’ve been known to try and avoid that part of the class altogether.

Wasn’t I just last week trying to fit into a situation where I did not belong? Wasn’t it me whose beak, not too long ago, had been stuck into something that was none of my business? How many times have I envied another for the gifts given to them and how God has provided in their direction, while blatantly ignoring what He has given to and provided for me? Had I really forgotten the lessons learned, (the hard way) of being spiritually hungry due to my own refusal to take from the hand that always knows what I need? I can’t count the times I have tried to force solutions that I really believed were the right ones for me, or another, just to find I was sometimes performing insane and unproductive (even harmful) antics in my stubborn persistence.

Oh my, there was that laboratory evidence of the book of life’s great lessons. I was amazed, amused and very humbled to think I was so quick to judge this bird for his attempts to secure food in a way not meant for him, when all along God was trying to show me what happens when I try to force solutions to satisfy my own needs and wants.

Now knowing how much God loves me, I laughed out loud. What a brilliant and gentle teacher He is. His examples are never condemning or demeaning. But rather He finds ways to demonstrate what might be going on and what I might want to look at to make my walk with Him richer and my human life more peaceful and fulfilled.

I made another cup of tea and sat to watch as the hummingbirds fed and the red-headed finch moved on to his own feeder. I guess he finally figured out he had no business sticking his beak into something that was not his business, was not meant for him and certainly would never bring a yield for his best interests. And as I ran my finger around the rim of my cup, I mused that the red-headed finch was not the only one that day who learned to keep his beak in his own business.

Copyright July, 2021 Laura L. Padgett, M.A.

Connect with me, Laura Padgett, on Twitter @lauraleepadgett or my Facebook Author Page

Check out the books I have published

“Dolores, Like the River,” available at Westbow Press, Barnes & NobleAmazon and all major online retailers. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page

The award-winning “Jesus in Shorts: Twenty-five Shorts Stories of Life-Changing Jesus Moments,” available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page.

Don’t forget to follow my podcast episodes. You may hear the podcast on any device of your choice and on any platform where you now receive your podcasts. Or you can click on the Podcast Episodes tab on the home page of this website.

Christian insprirational

Granny on the Gridiron

“No way, no thanks. I’ll be the ref. I know the game of football and I can officiate,” I pleaded. But my protest was met by somewhat selective hearing from the twelve-year-old, self-appointed mini NFL general.

Our inter-generational church group was on a mission trip and because we all had worked so hard, we decided to take the kids to a park for a little run and fun. In the park there were several kids from the local community and they were delighted to see more kids arrive. Now they could have a real game of football – with enough participants to make up two teams.

When the appointed captains began to choose sides, it became apparent one team was short by one player. The captain of the less populated team looked at me and said, “Okay Granny you be on our team.”

“Oh no. That is not happening. I’m the ref.” I stated.

“No, we need one more and we just have to settle for you.” He turned his back and walked onto the field to discuss goal selection, coin toss and other details of what was an impending game for them, and an invitation to traction for me. I had no time to be offended by his tone or his assumed authority.

Now I can hear a lot of folks out there saying, “How rude that he would address you as ‘Granny.’” Well, that was not my first, second or third concern. I felt like I had just fallen off a boat into deep water without a life jacket and the realization that I am less than an excellent swimmer.

I directed my panicked stare to one of the other adults in the group, (30+ years my junior) and tried to silently present my case while my head shook and my eyes widened to assume 80% of the real estate that once was my face. He shrugged, smiled and I succumbed to what appeared to be my destiny.

Blessed with a quick mind and fueled by an intense sense of cowardice, I formulated an emergency plan. I would just hang out in the backfield and help guide the guy or gal with the ball handed to them. On the first hike of the ball, the intended runner fumbled the ball right into my hands.

“Run Granny,” he shouted.

It didn’t take long to realize this was great advice as I stared down an advancing wall of little defenders who were between me and the direction of our assigned goal. I can’t remember what came from my mouth but I hauled my 5′ nothing frame in my best moves to maneuver around the string of goal-stealing units.

Okay, spoiler alert. I am a gold medal winning Irish step dancer and ran track with quite a few victories in my earlier days. Note: The latter was in the previous century. It is amazing, however, how muscle memory can be resurrected in a moment when life and/or limbs appear to be in danger and one’s life passes before one’s eyes.

I ran, dodged and sidestepped my way three quarters of the way down the field before I ran out of bounds, leaving not just a few of my teammates and opponents behind. Please know I didn’t give a toss about victory. I just wanted to go home with all the parts I had arrived with. Knowing that this little shenanigan of mine was going to be costly, I chose to end the sprint with a face-saving out-of-bounds exit.

“Man, Granny can run.” The cheers and whistles from the quarterback and my teammates were welcome relief when considering that just moments before I was pretty sure I’d be greeted by a choir of angels crooning, “Welcome home, your race is completed now.”

The rest of the game I did my best to not carry the ball and was successful at it. I also tried to remember where I had seen the closest Walgreens, where I could pack a cart with Advil and Epsom Salts.

The game ended, (Praise God), and my teammates slapped me on the back and thanked me for being a good sport. They kept saying how surprised they were that a woman of my age could run and move so well. I resisted temptation to say, “You think You were surprised?”

That night, after my hour in a hot tub and then an Epsom Salts bath offered to my aging frame in apology, I reflected on the game, and the kids. And even though I was going to be sore for a few days, I decided it was worth it to see their smiling faces. It was beyond precious time to be with a group of kids from different backgrounds, ages, sizes and colors as well as different locations and in some cases different languages. All they wanted was to just be together, live, laugh and have some fun. I wondered if that was a little glimpse of Heaven.

When my husband asked what I was giggling about, I apologized for keeping him awake and told him to go to sleep. I assured him I’d be joining him in Slumber Ville as soon as the Advil kicked in.

This story is dedicated to my dear friend Nathan Heimer, who witnessed the whole thing and we both lived to tell about it.

Copyright June, 2021 Laura L. Padgett, M.A.

Connect with me, Laura Padgett, on Twitter @lauraleepadgett or my Facebook Author Page

Check out the books I have published

“Dolores, Like the River,” available at Westbow Press, Barnes & NobleAmazon and all major online retailers. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page

The award-winning “Jesus in Shorts: Twenty-five Shorts Stories of Life-Changing Jesus Moments,” available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page.

Don’t forget to follow my podcast episodes which will begin on June 9, 2021, my 70th BD. You may hear the podcast on any device of your choice and on any platform where you now receive your podcasts. Or you can click on the Podcast Episodes tab on the home page of this website.