30 November 2009

Exciting Possibilities


What a future God must have planned for us! Rejoice with me here today!
James has his first (and wouldn't it be wonderful if he got the job, and it was his last!) interview on Tuesday. It's a company run on Christian principles and we are both excited that he might work there.
The other thing is, that as happens with some regularity at our house, I was talking about foster care. I don't even remember what I was saying, but he expressed a small amount of interest, and I told him that the training was mostly an information gathering, learning experience... that many families went through the training and didn't become active foster parents, but instead served as respite care for other families or just prayed more. He seemed open, so I threw out there that they probably had some training starting up in the new year.
Then, as I thought about what to write today, I went over to the site I frequent, here, and looked for "my" kids. They were still there- the two sibling groups that I fell in love with. And there was 33 pages of teenagers. When I saw that, my eyes just welled up with pain. They were gorgeous! Even the surly ones. Wouldn't it be wonderful if God kept working so clearly in James' life, and one day we were able to offer a home to kids that had none?
My husband is doing so well! He's come to church with us 4 times- and one of those times was an appreciation dinner with silly entertainment that he wouldn't usually like. Lily's Sunday school teachers (a married couple with 4 kids, who homeschools)came and sat with us, and it turned out that they went to grade school together! He's been great with the kids and cooking alot more (yay!) and last night he and a friend and I cleaned and organized and purged the garage.
I spoke with him also about this blog (on our date night!! My MIL came to visit for Thanksgiving and we went on a real restaurant DATE!). He asked his first questions about the blog here (and I started it in MARCH!) and shared his thoughts about what people might think about him because of what I write.... I would love to hear your thoughts on this- be kind and encouraging but honest, please, and tell me how long you've read--
First, I told him no one reads it, anyway, ok maybe 4 people. Then, I told him the one person that reads it for sure, my aunt, is like a Christian cop of respectfulness and good wife behavior, and she said I'm not disrespectful to him. Then I said that I don't talk about our fights or his lack or whatever. I told him I try not to talk even about me- I know I do, but I want it to be about God's hand, God's mercy, God's plan- about GOD. I told him how a few non believers who read it thought it was depressing, and how the believers I asked disagreed, and how discouraging that was. I want to be a witness, but like I said last time, what is foolishness to the world makes perfect sense to God. Thanks for any comments!! I love 'em!

26 November 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!


Here's praying that we all have a pleasant and drama-free holiday! Enjoy the time with your family!

25 November 2009

Foolishness

"Today, I watched a freshman fall down the stairs, and then land with an air guitar and a knee slide, and walk away like nothing happened. That kid is going places. MLIA."

Man, I want to be like that. Aren't there benefits of acting like nothing happened? Don't you seem composed and on top of it? Think of the sayings:

Like water off a duck's back, roll with the punches, take it in stride...

Where are the ones commending the people who DON'T do so well? I guess there's the 'heart on her sleeve' one.

I have been struggling with an person who shall remain nameless lately. It's someone who knew me before I became a believer. It seems that this person thinks I was doing better before I came to know the Gospel. I seemed more confident, sure, capable, determined, goal-oriented, and man, I had plans! I was going places! I guess now I seem to be content with too little, door-mat like, unsure, and... and... not unmotivated, but I seem to be a cork on the water of my marriage. I am too undemanding, perhaps.

This does not adhere to the scientific method, of course.

Then:
- unmarried
- young and ignorant
- tried to be a "good person"
- life ahead of me
- boyfriend has me on a pedestal
- brought up in feminist and worldly outlook

Now:
- married 11+ years, 4 kids
- older, more experienced, lived some
- realize that "but for the grace of God, there go I"
- been there and back in my marriage
- husband has his own struggles
- cultivated a Biblical worldview

1 Corinthians 1:18, 21-25

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

24 November 2009

Civil Disobedience

I'm praying for the unborn and the nation... soon a decision will be made that will tell us whether or not we have to pay for the abortions of neighbors and strangers. What will our choices be?

1. We can pay to participate in the national health care plan that emphasizes death.

2. We can fund death (through fines) and not receive health care through the national plan, and then pay for other care in addition.

3. We can fund death (through fines) and not receive health care through the national plan, and not participate in any other plan either, but set aside money for medical care.

4. We could refuse to pay for the plan in any way- not paying for the care or the fines.

5. We can choose apathy... merely allow ourselves to be signed up and authorize payment from automatic withdrawal from our paychecks, and never think about it or what we're participating in.

Biblical Instructions When Considering Civil Disobedience

Titus 3:1 says Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good


1 Peter 2:13-14 says Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.


Romans 13:1-2 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.


HOWEVER,

see Exodus 1:15-21:

The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 "When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live." The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, "Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?" The midwives answered Pharaoh, "Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive." So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.

Daniel 3:1-28 says

But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up." Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?" Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. The king's command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?" They replied, "Certainly, O king." He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods." Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!" So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.


What about the Magi, who were ordered to return to Herod and tell him of the infant King they sought? They disobeyed his orders and instead followed the instructions of the angelic messenger. And Rahab was explicitly instructed by the King of Jericho to reveal the spies, and she disobeyed, and was saved- and begat the ancestor of Jesus!



I find it interesting that of these examples of people disobeying authorites over them, half concern saving infants.

"These and other biblical cases of justified civil disobedience seem to have the following factors in common:

(1) the state commands the believer to do something contrary to the Word of God;

(2) the command is disobeyed; and

(3) there is explicit or implicit divine approval of the refusal to obey the state."

This quote is from an interesting website that records a debate about breaking laws to physically prevent women from getting abortions at a given clinic- they seemed to end with the summary that such behavior is not beneficial to the pro-life cause, and I agree. The same website says "They [early Christians] were even to pay their taxes — taxes that were most certainly used in ways not in keeping with Christian morality."



Which is what I discuss today. You know how all this started? I received, mysteriously, a copy of Tortured for Christ in the mail yesterday. It is the autobiographical story of the 14 years spent in Communist prisons of Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of Voice of the Martyrs. An excellent ministry!

He was writing about how willing he was to suffer under the Communists if only one or two of his guards could come to know Jesus (many did). How willing he was to return to jail, to be starved and drugged and beaten and degraded, if that was the price of the Gospel for his fellow Romanians.

!!! And I am discussing the potential consequences of not participating in a health care plan that contributes to someone else's abortion being paid for. How fitting that in this affluent society the "cost" of standing for life because of the Gospel we know is only monetary.

I would love to start a thread on this if any of you have any thoughts.

20 November 2009

Distracted

Well, I was looking over my posts here at New Mercy since the week before Halloween. Eh.

I was cleaning out under the coffee table- all the magazines- and I was going through my Christianity Today's and Christian Counseling Today's and they were all marked up for the first half and then none of the articles even looked familiar, and were unmarked and unfolded... I hadn't finished them. My parents were out of town for three weeks and so I missed my "Writing Tuesdays." (my mom usually takes the kids so I can write) Then this week all my bathroom and dining room walls were getting retextured, and new light fixtures installed... the house was nuts, totally taken apart (white walls! NO!). Then my husband was fired on the 6th of November...

Anyway I wanted to say sorry for being so distracted and bringing poor content lately. I'll try to do better and get back on focus soon. As the holidays approach. *sigh*

18 November 2009

Goofy Joy


SO, on the 6th my husband was laid off.


He had to return his work cell phone and his laptop and his truck, and we're sharing my cell and the van.


We have had a blast.


A few days later, we were laying in bed (fully clothed. daytime.) and laughing our butts off. I had my face in his neck and I was like "why haven't we laughed like this in so long?" Hahhh... the sigh you do after laughing so hard. "dunno."


Don't tell him this, but the first Sunday (OH. PRAISE. GOD!) he came to church with us. Got up and going and out the door to the first service with us. I had my dad's car for some reason, and he drove the van and I followed in my dad's car. He passed right by the church driveway! I had a split second to run in before him and tell the family pastor that he was there! Coming! (Everyone on the prayer team has been praying FOR him but probably couldn't pick him out of a crowd.)


I bolted up the stairs and stood by my kind co-teacher (actually he leads and I throw in some analogies) as he listened to one of our fourth and fifth graders read. Twitching. (me, not the other teacher!)


Only the Sunday before he had asked me, "So, does your husband serve somewhere this hour?" and I answered, for maybe the second time in my life, with nary a tear nor grimace, "No, he doesn't come at all right now." Then, the very next week, I'm standing there and the kid stops reading and he looks up at me- there was an empty chair for me right there, and I was standing- and I'm all "MY HUSBAND IS HERE CAN I GO SIT WITH HIM?!" And he was excited and I just ran out.


The pastor smiled at me as James and I walked into the service. I'm sure I had a mrph face on, you know, the one you give when you are purely willing the person to read your mind. He did a little double take and barely missed a beat and came and said Hi real quick to James. Then later one of the elders said "I was wondering if that was your husband" and I was just praising God that he was there. I just mentioned that he lost his job that Friday and their faces fell, and I was like, gleeful, and said "whatever it takes!" I'm sure I was goofy.


I know they are praying for so many. I know they love to hear of praises and good news. I know it is discouraging to pray for a long time and it seems like nothing is happening. So I was thrilled to encourage them by letting them know HE HAD COME! That Sunday. That was a good day.

16 November 2009

Jantsen's Gift Giveaway

And our winner is... Renee! Congratulations, come on down... and since she's local, she could. I hear coffee perking!

Renee and I started a Contenders club for our sons, and the first meeting is this Wednesday. It's a boys club and ours is open to area homeschoolers. We're excited to get started. Our first lesson features my mother teaching the boys how to carve. They are starting out using a nail file on a bar of Ivory soap. If you have any ideas on manly activities for us to do, tell me.

13 November 2009

More Stuff.



So this morning is your last chance to leave a comment to enter the drawing for this awesome book. Today I wanted to leave you a jewel that the author, Pam Cope, found while her family adjusted their standard of living to reflect what they found most important:

"What changed was our idea of what was essential to us and what was not. I, like many of us, had bought in to the idea that more is better. But after trying to live more simply, I've come to believe that's not the case. More is tiring. Everything you acquire is one more thing to take care of. This decision was one of the most liberating I've ever made."

Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness. -John Rushkin

This weekend I'm at a craft show. Keep an eye on my Etsy shop if you want to send someone a nice Thanksgiving card. If you only have a few Christmas cards to send out, you might consider buying them handmade! Free shipping!

11 November 2009

Peace


I was totally struck on page 55 of Jantsen's Gift: A True Story of Grief, Rescue, and Grace because it could have been written by me- this is practically verbatim the story of how I came to know that God was a real personality, alive today, and interested in me personally. I was 17 years old.

"...I went straight to my bedroom and locked the door. The anger and hopelessness welled inside me, so brawny and muscular it felt like my insides were being beaten to a pulp... The emotions were suffocating... I felt exhausted... I CANNOT LIVE THIS LIFE. I CANNOT FORGE A LIFE OF MEANING FROM THIS SORROW. PLEASE... I WANT TO FEEL SOME PEACE. PLEASE. And immediately a response came... which felt like it was emanating not so much from the sky as from my own heart, was generous and clear, and just like that, it happened. All the rage and sadness were gone, mid-sob. The feeling was so unequivocal, it was as if I could physically sense the panic exiting my body, atom by miserable atom. I took a breath, a long one, and it felt like the first breath I had ever taken in my life. I felt a thousand pounds lighter. I felt released... But the anger and hopelessness had lost its fight."


Phillipians 4:7 says "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." and I know it is not only possible, it is true, because it happened to me, and to Pam Cope.

09 November 2009

Jantsen's Gift by Pam Cope


Jantsen's Gift: A True Story of Grief, Rescue, and Grace, by Pam Cope and Aimmee Molloy is a therapeutic, deeply personal story. However, it's also a greatly inspiring, soul-stirring, question-asking tale that makes its readers inspect their value system to see how it stands when their world is shaken to its core.

Pam Cope had her world toppled when her son died at the age of 15. What she thought was important- stacks of beautiful throw pillows on the couches, her children's new clothes, serving at church, all seems trivial and empty of meaning. She suffered, incapacitated by the most simple of tasks, for months, asking her pre-teen daughter to even do the shopping. Pam resisted the urge to wrap her daughter in her arms and infuse her with love, because she was afraid if she loved her daughter, how could she survive if something happened to her also

This is a story of the power of service to take our eyes off of our own suffering. From start to finish, Pam tells us to look outside of ourselves. Relieving the pain of others lessons our own pain.

Essentially, the purpose of Pam's life unfolds as she and her husband try to determine what to do with the $25,000 that they recieved in lieu of flowers at their teenage son's funeral. A neighborhood playground? New baseball uniforms for his team? Nothing seemed right or lasting.

Pam was totally and completely depleted by the mere thought of Thanksgiving with her family who seemed to expect her to move on with her life-- hadn't it been a few months already?! They had just approached a friend about giving the fund money to their work in VietNam, who suggested they first come to VietNam in person to see the work in person before they donated it. From her book:

"Vietnam? I knew nothing about the place, other than old stories about the war. It seeeign. It seemed like the farthest place in the world from Neosho, Missouri, and Thanksgiving dinner and birthday celebrations and family expectations... I accepted immediately."
"As I packed our bags and told Crista's school we were pulling her out for two weeks, I couldn't help but wonder if the decision had been too impulsive. But then I'd run to the store for something we needed and get home and realize that not only had I managed to get there and back without collapsing, but I was even feeling a strangely unfamiliar emotion under the sadness: excitement. I know I should have welcomed it after how hopeless I'd been, but I had grown so accustomed to feeling bad that a moment of excitement made me feel a little guilty, like I was being unfaithful to my grief... It was such a relief to be somewhere this mysterious and colorful and new, where Jansten's absence didn't seem as obvious."

After her heart is pricked for the lost, orphaned, unloved and trafficked children of Asia and Africa, she dives headfirst into a new world of visa applications, donated surgeon skills, diptheria shots, fundraising and international travel. Throughout the book are excerpts from letters she wrote to her son, telling him how he has helped her on this journey.

This book had me crying over a dozen times in the first 150 pages. It rocketed up to the top 20 books on my mental list of favorites. If you wish you could do something for the kingdom of God, for the hurting of the world, but don't know how, this book could be the first step. I'm going to write more about it on Wednesday and Friday. There will be a drawing on Friday afternoon to see who recieves a hardcover copy of Jantsen's Gift, valued at $25. So stay tuned for 2 more posts about it! Leave a comment to qualify- if you comment on each of the 3 posts, you get 3 chances. To learn more about this book, to read excerpts, or to join a book group about it with others who have enjoyed it, go to the publisher's website linked below.

This is a review for Mama Buzz. You can see their button in my left sidebar. I recieved 2 free copies of this book (one for me, one for a reader) by Hachette Book Group. I hope you found this review informative!

Christmas Gifts

Here is a video from my new favorite non-profit, Gospel for Asia. Hopefully you find it interesting. The couple in it (the Americans) seem straight out of my part of the country. It's exciting that normal people in America who probably shop at Wal-Mart and have chicken-fried steak with their grandkids can impact the world for Christ. I'm hoping my son's new scout group is going to earn money in the next six weeks to purchase something from this catalog.


06 November 2009

My Mind

Ooh just a jumble of thoughts today.



-Didn't have my coffee until 10:30 today and only a twinge of a headache. Ever since a good friend of mine told me she had given up coffee for a season (her husband identified it as an idol for her), I have been watchful of how much I enjoy it. But I think it is a blessing and it's mornings like today, when I don't have any and hardly notice, that I am reminded of it.

-I was reading today about some czar in D.C. who thought that trees should be legally allowed to sue people or organizations (I assume some kindly person would do the paperwork on its behalf). What?! I don't let the kids carve in tree trunks, because it can kill the tree. I don't let them rip wings off bugs or whatever... I don't buy dogfood at PetCo because they get puppies from puppy mills. I got 2 of my dogs from a rescue center, one off of Craigslist. I am pretty much a financial vegetarian, and I think that animals for food should be raised in a humane way. I'm horrified by what the chickens and cows are eating (mainly because then I'm supposed to eat it). So although I'm not an animal rights activist I definitely think that animals deserve our respect and we should care for them as God instructed Adam.
But for pete's sake, some people go too far! With the amount of kids and adults going to sleep hungry every night in the world, and the orphans near and foreign, how can anyone even be so concerned? Is it just America? I know in the catalogs you can buy a litter of guinea pigs or rabbits that people in Asia raise for food, so it's not totally the same other places. Anyway.

-I'm thinking about getting another tattoo in December with a woman from church. I can't decide on which one. So I made a poll to get your opinions. (If you were in any of my Yahoo! groups you would cringe right there.) So vote in my poll in the top right sidebar. Did you see my first tattoo? Guess and see if you can figure out what it is, then click here. Were you right?!

-On the 10th of November I'm reviewing a book called Jantsen's Gift: A True Story of Grief, Rescue, and Grace. I quoted it briefly here. *I'm also giving away a copy of the hardcover book.* So think about it, and get excited about reading more. You know I love comments. Gotta get 'em somehow

-I called Gospel for Asia, which I wrote about here. I have been giving them $10 and $20 here and there through online billpay. They kept sending me receipts and I called to tell them to quit it. I'm not giving that much, and I don't want all of my donation paying for them to mail me a receipt! They are an AWESOME organization and they want to give you a free book. Get it!

-On a related note, I was totally bummed when Stop Child Trafficking NOW paid $2 to mail me the wrong size t-shirt. I qualified for a free t-shirt at the recent fundraising walk we participated in. They only had big shirts there, so I chose to have them mail me the right size because I really wanted to wear it out and about. They mailed me one so big I can't even sleep in it. Darn! And I didn't want them pay another $2 to mail me the right size, so now I have none.

04 November 2009

Girl Talk by Gigi Garner

Girl Talk: Celebrities and Other Extraordinary Women Share Their Secrets is a compilation of advice from women of all walks of life. It was collected and contributed to by Gigi Garner, (daughter of James Garner) who evidently had many contacts and was friendly with all kinds of women.

Initially upon looking at the semi- sensual woman on the book's cover, and reading the title (including the words extraordinary! and secrets!) I expected something dazzling or on the verge of scandalous, if not just juicy celebrity advice. Then on the back I was very confused by a long passage of what seemed like an ad for an African multi-purpose fabric called a kanga (?). What I found inside was just the completely normal, coffee-klatch, Woman's Day magazine kind of girl talk, and I practically expected one of the ladies to recommend a certain brand of diapers or soap!

The entire book, after a short introduction, is women giving advice. Some quotes stand alone, while others are short anecdotes from someone's life ending in a word of advice, almost like a moral. These women are eager to share what they've learned, and reflect not just celebrities but also the women who support them- the dog trainer, the hair stylist, the friend. Maybe my age is showing, but very few of the names were familiar to me. The book is broken down into sections in which the advice follows a predictable theme such as beauty, children, etc.

Some of the advice is from another era- "use a knee sock as a hair band" (?) and some was timeless- let the kids play in the cardboard box your appliance came in. Peppered with black and white publicity photos of the women who impart their life experience, this is a book ideal for the car or the bathroom, where you can pick it up when you have a minute, and put it back down to come back to later.

I did this product review for Mama Buzz (see my button to their site in the left sidebar). I received this book for free from Five Star Publications. I hope you found this review informative!


02 November 2009

Comment Hog

So, I may have mentioned (eee NY Times!) that I was writing a book... It will be a 90-day devotional aimed at women who are struggling through a separation or who feel alone in their marriage. I went to a writer's conference a few weekends ago and thought of a lot of things... and then when I posted a simple post about my temporal joys I got a bunch (for me and my lonely blog) of kind and interesting comments. So in the interest of writing for my book and getting more interaction and followers, I am going to post more of "my story." Before I get going, if there were any requests, leave your idea.

I wrote a while back about a well-timed chicken salad. So today I wanted to post a little story about a well-timed grilled-cheese sandwich. What? On a blog about growing spiritually? Yes. (although I'm starting to think my love language is food.)

When I was pregnant with my third child, I was just beginning this crummy walk of faith, and I was still in the "Lord, take this cup away from me! Change HIM and make my life easy and fun!" phase (I did that for a year).

I was struggling with the hours my husband was keeping and our finances and living in a no A/C, cockroach and rat-inhabited house. I was only eating five things during that pregnancy: broccoli, cookie dough, Tricuits and cheddar, soymilk, or turkey sandwiches with lots of baby greens. To make this story make sense, I have to divulge a little idiosyncrasy about myself: I like symmetrical food. If I get a sandwich or a burger, even an omelette or something, I rearrange it so that it's symmetrical. That means I have mustard and beef and lettuce and tomato in each bite, and not too much bread in comparison. I actually use the word ratio when James asks me why I leave things out. I know. We all have our quirks, ok?

One night he was home early and the kids were in bed and the house was quiet, and I was tired. He asked me if I wanted anything to eat. He was listing off the foods he could make me from what we had available in the fridge and pantry... I was melancholy, rejecting them one after the other. He said, "I could make you a grilled-cheese sandwich." I perked up a little, but faded as I explained "I like it a certain way..." and he goes "I know how you like it." I expressed some doubt and he listed off, instantly and correctly, just how I like it (It's a lot of detail and symmetry, ok?).

Right away I welled up with grateful tears. He knew? He knew! Hiding in this stranger was a man I used to know. A man who knew me. It gave me a lift of hope that we would find our way to friends again.