Friday, June 22, 2012

Childhood Phantom

We have a guest blogger in my fourteen year old sister, Elisabeth! I came home from work and the laptop was on our bedroom loveseat and she was tip-tapping away, she pushed it towards me. "That's how I feel." So, we talked. The we agreed I would share her words on the blog...

The Phantom of My Childhood
By Elisabeth Feehan

Silently you stand looking out the window

You watch the swing sway in the breeze

The grass

The flowers

The trees

Suddenly you hear your name called

You look to see

But no one is calling

It is the phantom of your childhood calling you back

Walking down a corridor

It is long



Suddenly you feel a chill

And you hear your name being called

You look

To see a little white frock

Disappearing around door frame

It is the phantom of your childhood calling you back

At the dinner table

You sit

And watch those older than you

Talk they say things so peculiar

You cannot understand a single word

Suddenly you hear

Your name being called

You look to see a pair of eyes probing you

From around the door frame

It is the phantom of your childhood calling you back

Lying in bed

You hear creek

A squeak

You take a peek

And dive back under the covers

And suddenly you hear

Your name being called

Through the darkness

You look to see a little hand gripping

Around the door frame

It is the phantom of your childhood calling you back

Looking in the bakery window

See the pastries steaming

Suddenly you hear your name

Being called

And across the street you see

A little head peering

From around the door frame

It is the phantom of your childhood calling you back

Standing in a pretty dress

Clasping a on a pretty watch

You suddenly hear your name

Being called

You turn to look

And see a little child standing

Around the door frame

It is the phantom of your childhood calling you back

It says to you

“Why did you leave?

“Can’t you see we were so good together?

“Why did you ever grow old?

“Don’t go so fast.

“Stay little just a little longer.

“Why do you need to grow old?

“Why should you leave me in the doorway?

“Why can’t you stay with me forever and ever?

“We could live happily ever after.”

You turn your head

You look away

You feel a tug

And look again

The phantom of your childhood

Pleas to you,

“Please never grow old

“Never get tall

“Stay little with me

“We can play with each other

“Forever and ever.”

Suddenly you hear

Your name being called

By the incarnation of teenage years

Saying, “do come quickly”

“We have places to go”

“Things to do”

“A world to see”

You look one last time

And see the final tears in your childhood’s eyes

As it asks

“What have I done to you?

“Why can’t you stay with me?”

Monday, June 11, 2012

Roadtripping with THE Man

Roadtripping with my daddy like I did last week is pretty sweet, even if it is 2090 miles. Here's why.

  • He says adorable things like, "Do you want Starbuck?"
  • I ask "What's that truck for?" He says, "Manure." I say, "Oh, I can smell it." He crunches down and says, "That's my broccoli you smell."
  • He says, "Where's the mint farm?" I say, "It's still just prairie." He says, "I smell mint." I say, "That's my gum." He says, "The five hour piece?" I smoosh down and say, "Yes." I rub my jaw.
  • He says things like. "I'll buy coffee. What you want?"
  • He jerks awake and asks, "You OK? You falling asleep?" I say, "Nope."
  • I jerk awake and ask, "You OK? You want me to drive?" He says, "I'm fine."
  • Then he says, "You want Starbuck?"
And that's it. We don't talk much, unless something major has to be discussed like church infastructure, marriage, family, flora et fauna, creeps, and Dad's first steak. We look outside, we stop sometimes, we laugh at other people, we point out cool stuff, we listen to baseball and acoustic guitar and Pilgrim's Progress.

While driving I decide connected things one after the other like
  • I wonder how many "I90" signs there are in the United States.
  • Parents should not put their children to sleep with books on tape as infants and toddlers, unless they want books on tape to put them asleep as adults.
  • When asleep, mountain passes are most irritating. But when driving, they eliminate the need for coffee.
  • My dad's accent is imminently cute and awesome. (Please see above mention of "Starbuck.")
  • If my driving 15 above the speed limit is too slow for other drivers, they really need to get home as badly as they seem to want to.
  • Home is closer to everywhere the further you drive.
  • I honk the horn more than my dad.
  • The only deer species in the contiguous states whose females have horns are antelope.They are also the fastest. My dad told me that. And he said caribou girls have them.
  • The faster you drive, the harder it is to snap cell phone photos out the window.

Badlands National Park in South Dakota
Sunrise over Yellowstone National Park

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Room for Cream

Two months ago, I rushed into the local Starbucks and flipped open my laptop to get some Wifi to send some files for the girl's conference the next morning. Sure enough, it wasn't working. I messed with it valiantly for about ten minutes, while casually observing the people around me, like I always do.

I saw a young man with bold ginger hair, connected to his IPod and a pile of papers on his lap. Everytime he glanced at me like people do at one time or the other, he seemed very proper and polite. So finally, I walked over and asked if he could rescue me from the Monsters of Computer. He pulled out the ear buds and squinted into the depths of my laptop. I appreciated how deliberate he was to give me space and be congenial, without hitting on me. "Now here's a cool guy." I thought to myself.

Actually, he was getting up the nerve to "witness" to me. How excited we both were when we realized that we both wanted to share the Gospel with the other. The papers on his lap was his sermon on the Holy Spirit for Sunday's service. He had just started a church with his wife and family on Easter Sunday, and here I was planning epic girl's ministry. We started talking. We talked for three hours. I never got those files sent over the broken Wifi.

But my day slowed down. I got to see Jesus at work, and hear a powerful testimony of what God can do...and share my own. It was perfect.

Wednesday, I stopped in another coffee shop on my way to work with my free birthday drink coupon. "Make it a Venti, today!" I told my barista, and settled in to just breathe. I know I have to choose to have quietness. I have to seek for those moments of waiting before the Lord in silence, or I miss them. I could hear the texts ringing into my phone, the notifications chiming away on social networks, the clock ticking before I had to be at my desk, and the gmail bringing in mail. I closed my eyes and asked God why He put me here, right now, and if I could just spend the time with Him in one of our favorite places.

When my eyes fluttered open, that red-headed Pastor was striding in the door, to join in with a group of men that I earlier deducted were also Pastors. But as he began to sit down in the leather armchair, he shot back up with a grin. "Well, hello there!" He called out to me. He crossed through the busy web of patrons and sat down across from me.  He told me what God has been doing through his family's ministry, and I shared a recent experience of God's power. He told me to be a bit less like Paul, and bit more like Barnabas and slow down life a little. We were both encouraged. He grabbed my hand and prayed for God to heal my body, and we prayed for him. Again, it was perfect. I don't even remember his name, but I gave him my card and the link to the girl's conference website.

When I leave room for cream in my life, God fills my cup to overflowing. He's trying to bless you, too.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Part III -- The Impossible Phone Call

Hold music twinkled through and I couldn't wait for the answer. The receiver lifted and a cheery voice sung out, "Thank you for calling ______, this is Mary! How may I assist you today?"

"Well, my name is Johanna, and I was calling to request some books for a girls conference next month!"

"Certainly, let me take your order. Let's get started."

I felt God's push and blurted out, "Well, Mary, actually God needs you to give me 100 copies of your book ____ for me to actually give away to the girls. I know the books don't belong to you, so I know you can't give them to me, but if you could put me through to talk to the person who can give them away, I know God would appreciate it."

There was a brief silence, and then Mary said, "Um, well, ok. That's pretty unusual, but I'll let you talk to my supervisor, for sure." Some time went by and finally the phone was picked up again. I half felt like I was definitely sunk, and my bigger half felt like I was on the top of the world and just getting started.

"Hello, this is Pattie." A solemn voice spoke to me.

"Hi there!" I called out, boldly, loudly, cheerfully mustering as much enthusiasm as God gives. "God would like you to give me 100 copies of the book _____ for a girls conference next month! The website for our conference is and we know God is going to amazing things and that He wants you to be a part of it! Will you join with us?"

There was silence. So I dived in again, since I was already in the deep end. "I understand if the books don't belong to you to give away, but since God asked me to ask for them, I am willing to talk to whoever they belong to about getting them shipped out, ASAP!"

"Well, you're right. I don't--I mean, we don't give books away here. Have we talked before? I don't remember anything about this. This has to run through our Board, you know. I'll have to talk to them. And-yeah..."

"Pattie, I will talk to them since God has given me the vision, I don't want that burden to be on you if it is not your vision also."

There was another silence and then, suddenly, miraculously, and sparkling, "Johanna, now I have the vision, too. I will call you back in ten minutes."

I sat back into the chair, thanking the Lord for boldness to do whatever He asks. Seven minutes later, the ringer and vibration began to bounce my cell phone across the desk. I jumped and grabbed for it, answering as quickly as humanly possible.

"Hi! This is Pattie! The board wants to give you the books and you have our blessing to give them away to the girls. What's your address? I'll ship 100 books to you today."

I sang for the rest of that day. Our God does impossible things when He wants us to. And I thought you should know that. He is bold when I am not. He is downright impossible, and you can't ignore Him. What is He asking you to do?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Part II -- The Impossible Phone Call

I was glad I got the boldness up to make this call. As I Googled the phone number, and prayed aloud for the words to speak, I was reminded of another day...When I didn't do what God asked me to do.

"Dad, seriously, Johanna is the only person in the entire world who I feel actually loves or even cares about me when it gets down to it! Everything in life is just so messed up and fake!" She sobbed to her adopted father, tears streaming down her face. I wasn't there, but I was told the story. It pricked me through my heart, and I instantly knew I had to invest more time into her troubled life, seek her out, encourage her. She really is such a sweet and precious girl, with so much potential. Her smile lights up a room like Rachel McAdams, I always told her.

I moved away. I knew I should call her, keep in touch, write her, invite her to come and visit me in my new place...But I never did more than once. I was"too busy." Sadly, I confess to you that my young friend ran away from her adopted family, got involved with several addictions, bad association, terrible situations, and finally: jail time. Now, every time I hear of another painful stab into her young life, I feel it in mine. I could have been there for her. I should have made the phone calls I felt I should have: worse yet, I could have made them. I could have shown her the love she so wanted, needed, and craved from me. But I did not.

Of course it is not my fault what has happened to her, but yet I know I could have been there for her, had I followed the promptings I had in the window when I had a sphere of influence. Now, I can but write to her in jail, and try to find her when she's out to "catch up." Though I care so much about her, our lives are so far apart, I fear she can't hear me now. I missed the chance on a golden platter to change a life.

So, driven by a prompting I couldn't miss,  I dialed the number, and eargerly awaited the answer, bouncing my knees and tapping my free fingers against the desk...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Part I -- The Impossible Phone Call

I scooted my chair up to the keyboard, and then I scooted it back. I reached for the phone, and then I folded my hands. Promptings from the Lord have to be followed and you have to believe what He's telling you. I know that is true. But, I couldn't help be timid, for some reason: for just one second.

Then I remembered the day an elderly gentleman who always stopped by my office shuffled in through the door. He moved so slowly and speaks even slower. To my fast-paced brain and work schedule, the minutes I spent with him felt like an extended warranty on a Nalgene bottle (i.e. "forever"). This time he pulled up the little chair at the other side of my desk, as I meanly thought to myself, "I'm going to have to get rid of that chair. People keep coming and sitting in it." Instead I said aloud, "Mr. G-! How nice to see you!" Because I knew inside, it was indeed good to have his calm presence there.

"I want you to call this girl, Johanna. I don't know why, but here is her number." He spoke slowly, shakily holding out a pink sticky note with his scrawled handwriting and a number. "Ok! I'll give her a call." I said quickly, hoping that would speed the day back up to par. But, I didn't call her. I meant to call her, I just didn't "get a chance." The pink note stuck to my phone for four days and fluttered everytime the fan turned towards it across the busy room. The day before I had to shoot out of town for the conference I had been coordinating in Nashville, I saw the note again and remembered my promise. I heard God's prompting to "do it now."

With a tiny bit of timeline frustration, I picked up the receiver and dialed the number. "Hi there! Is H- available? I don't know her, but I wanted to talk to her today and just tell her how valuable she is--and see if there is anything she needs." I told the motherly voice who had just answered. H-was indeed home. Her mother walked in on her with the phone and told her a random person was calling  who wanted to talk to her specifically. I didn't know anything, but God did. We talked for four hours: laughed, cried, and decided that she would come out to the conference that next day, so we could get together and talk about some more serious things. Her mom called me back that night and told me that her daughter was about to commit suicide when I had called that afternoon. Though tears, she wanted to thank me for saving her daughter's life, by just caring. I swallowed hard and realized how narrowly I didn't make that phone call.  After that, how dare I ever ignore God's direction?

So I scooted back up to the desk and reached for the phone.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Becoming Beautiful!

Visit for information and to register!

You won't want to miss what I'm up to these days. I can't wait to see you there!