It’s a perfect fall day in the 70s in North Carolina. We do have beautiful falls here. It might seem like any other year, but we all know with aching certainty that it’s not. Our country and world seem to be falling apart. Yet, we have the tiny joys of days in the 70s (while we can get them…), an adorable lizard about an inch and a half long running across my patio table as I write this, pumpkin muffins (with chocolate) fresh from the oven, and many more joys that are abundant if we open our eyes (noses, mouths…)

Anticipation. We’ve lost many of our opportunities for anticipation, sheer excitement, as beloved activities fall away. . . returning to school, parties, group meetings, the Olympics, vacations, festivals, and even simple evenings at a restaurant. (oh, and salsa dancing, don’t forget that!) The many things we need to put on hold this year can obscure (if we let them) the things right in front of us. The things we enjoy right here at arm’s length. We savor them through thankfulness. It takes a moment to sink in as we stop. Look. Feel. And thank God for the little things we still have. In this approaching season, we’re reminded of thankfulness, but it’s a vital muscle to exercise daily all year, in perilous times or not.

I want to share something I’m thankful for. It’s my turn now. You can go in a minute. (smile) My father will be 89 years old on November 7. He probably won’t make it to that date, because he’s in hospice as you read this. He had been declining gradually for the last year or so then about a month ago, his condition took a huge dip. He was in home hospice cared for by his wife of 42 years (my step-mom). Though my step-mom is a believer, my dad spent his whole life indifferent to the Gospel.

One day a few weeks ago, he was in and out of lucidity and was sleeping a lot. His wife’s pastor came over for a visit. On that day, God gave my dad clarity of thought and vision. The pastor asked him, “Would you like to ask Jesus into your life?” He looked at her face, completely lucid, and said, “Yes.” The pastor led him in a prayer and he repeated after her, then he asked her to pray for his friend, Ed, who had colon cancer. Immediate fruit, the only opportunity he’d likely have on this side.

That event clobbered my cynical realism with the glory of the God of the Unlikely. Only God knows what went on in my father’s heart during the 42 years he spent married to a godly woman who lived out her faith but didn’t force it on him. In her quiet way, she spoke without words. And when the time came, he was ready. Since that day, he hasn’t had many lucid moments, but when he needed one, it was there. Then, “That’ll be all”, as faith took over. He hasn’t been lucid for very long since then.

Happy is a weak word for what I experienced that day and since. It isn’t only about that happy event, but about seeing more of the God who made it possible, this unlikely (to my way of thinking) experience. It stretches my belief for everything else in my life and the lives of others. It reminds me who our God is, that he doesn’t give a flying flip for what’s likely.

So, on another topic, I want to share something else with you. You see, I thought bi-monthly newsletters were a good way to stay in touch and give news, yada yada. But you know what? It’s kind of impersonal, sort of like a monthly report, and who likes those? I like a personal touch. I say to myself, no one cares about my personal stuff, but maybe you do and maybe I just want to share it with you. Is that okay? I’d like to hear from you, too.

Here’s my idea. Instead of doing a bi-monthly newsletter (I don’t really even like the sound of that . . .) I’d like to do a quick 3 or 4 times a month post. A short one. It’s a nice way to stay in touch with you without making you read a lot or groan when you see it coming into your inbox. I can give you updates on my books and other stuff going on but also chat about what God is saying, doing, teaching me. I’d like to eventually write some short stories, just for you!

I’ll start that format in November. How does that sound? I hope you enjoy it and we can stay in touch a little better. I’m thankful for you and hope God will show you a million or more things you can be thankful for in the coming months.

Even unlikely things.