Tag Archives: Spirit


Her name was Elsie and to be perfectly honest, I don’t remember much more about her except that we lived in the same trailer park carved into the side of the Appalachian mountains running through Franklin, New Jersey.

Her name was Elsie and, to my best recollection, she had to have been in her late 60’s and  sparrow in a treenot much bigger than I was at the age of 9 or… 10.  I know we could see eye to eye.

As far as I could tell, she lived alone in a little single-wide on the side of the mountain that we shared.

I really can’t tell you how I came to spend so much time with Elsie back then, except that I was never in a hurry to get home after school.  “Home” was a place of frightening abuse and lonely uncertainty. So I’d just wander the neighborhood for as long as I could and typically make my way from the bus stop half a mile up that mountain and the 4 rickety steps leading to Elsie’s door.

And while I know it just can’t be true, it seems to the recollection of my little girl mind that Elsie was always at home and I was always welcome inside.

Honestly, I don’t remember a lot about her home. It couldn’t have been much really; just a little trailer and a few rooms furnished with only the necessary items.

But here’s what I remember best of all:

sitting in the center of her kitchen table was the cutest little wooden box shaped like a little loaf of bread and full of little cards. I loved looking at that thing which said “Our Daily Bread” on the side.

I remember thumbing through those cards..not really knowing their value, soft light filtering through thin curtains and Elsie’s calm voice in the background reading some aloud as I looked–occasionally scolding me in an easy tone for talking too much and asking too many questions.

Most clear to me was the overwhelming sense of peace I felt in Elsie’s presence. I had no name for this peace I felt,  but it was something I recognized that was painfully absent from anyplace else in my life. I loved way I could breathe and relax into myself at Elsie’s…a little sanctuary from the storm of my young, hardcore life. 

I  rested in her presence as we shared our day over a plate of sugar cookies and icy lemonade in thin aluminum cups….Elsie’s steady voice and gentle laughter. It was delicious to feel so safe.


And OH! The most wonderful thing of all; there in her tiny living room…an parlor organ! Not every time, but on good days, Elsie would take her seat and shuffle her way through a dogeared book of songs she called “hymns”.  As I stood at her shoulder, she’d play and we’d sing song after song, belting them out with all the joy we could muster!

I never wanted to leave.

But eventually, I’d just have to go. She’d send me out the door, no doubt exhausted from my endless chatter and little girl energy.  I’d wave goodbye till next time watching the door close and with a little bit of happy held in my heart, head home to bravely face whatever lay ahead…till next time.


Gradually, my life deteriorated to the point where I could no longer move about so freely and my visits to Elsie’s house were stopped altogether. I’m sure she must have wondered why I didn’t come anymore and I’m sure she never knew how much I missed her and loved her.

I never knew what became of Elsie only that, after some time, it seemed that someone else lived there instead. But I’ve never forgotten her and now, some 30 + years later, I can still feel and sense those moments so clearly.

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness, Goodness. Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control; the fruit of the Spirit-– this is what I experienced in Elsie’s life. And now that same Spirit within me timelessly testifies to what I saw alive in her then. As far as I can remember, Elsie never preached me a sermon; she simply opened her door, invited me in and showing me Jesus;

she lived me one.

In those visits that couldn’t have lasted more than an hour, sugar cookies and lemonade took on the flavor of communion and as we sang and worshiped in that little trailer on the mountain, we were having CHURCH!

Someday, I will see Elsie again. Someday, I will get to heaven and I know she will be there. I’ve heard we’ll be singing and I’d like to think maybe together we’ll sing one of our favorites; His Eye Is On the Sparrow.  It was then, it is now… “His eye is on the sparrow…and I know He watches me.”

Performance by Selah

In The Beginning….

I hammered my stake into this piece of “Blog Land” 8 full months ago. I remember that day clearly because a door closed in my life–one I could still see through clearly but definitely could not pass through to the other side. What I could not see at the time was that God was flinging open many other doors; but I wasn’t ready.  I don’t know what made me stand here on that day with brokenness in my hand and say, “I will now do THIS.” and not do more than merely unlock this door, stand at the threshold and peer through and think,  but I did and it’s still here…untouched.  I think I’m glad I waited.

And in the midst of Life’s tumble and toss, I have been reluctant to make a beginning post. Why? Partly, I think it’s because I want my first, virginal blog-post to be something beautiful and profound. I want it to be memorable, intoxicating and, to coin a phrase a photographer friend of mine used recently; I want it to be a “second looker”….the kind of thing you just have to come back to and “love on” some more. And if that’s not a little self-revealing, I don’t know what is.

But there’s another, maybe more important reason why: commitment. I realize that in order for this to be more than a half-finished notebook full of half-hearted promises written in the heat of the moment, I’ve got to take the plunge and take it for reals.

I’m at the stage in my life where I’ve been sorting and casting off things I’ve worn way too long. Some of these things I put on in ignorance thinking they’d make me more acceptable and appealing to those around me and other things…I just let people put on me over time and I never took them off; until now. No turning back..no turning back. There’s only forward and I want to live in the awareness that there’s no need to hurry and no need to run. I’m here now.

Where is “Here”? Presently, it feels like a bit of a wilderness but it’s not nearly as desolate as it’s been in recent months past. It’s because God is doing a “new ” thing and much of that has to do with clearing out “old” things; wrong things, wrong thinking and habits along with worn-out, out-grown ideas. “Here” seems to be more a process than a place… a forward destination. And that’s important because I’ve been desperate enough to settle for less along the way and  I’m discovering that God has in mind MORE….a wide-open, limitless and intimate more. So this is my way of opening up the door to that MORE. I’m going to let go and let His Spirit move me as we walk together with no other purpose in mind than to submit to whatever it is He’s intending to do or show me.  I’m going to take the last step towards being transparent for maybe His eyes alone and just let God do and use me however He can for His glory. I’m going to be satisfied and to trust Him to satisfy me…to know me and to be enough…to be my Peace.

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

Sweet peace. This is no saccharin-substitute peace; it’s the real deal. It’s HIS personal peace….it’s the peace Jesus, himself wore and used while here on earth…always fresh and always new. He gives it to me–to all of us who belong to Him– to put on as He’s taking other things off of me and says “Here, wear this.” He never leaves us uncovered but we must choose to wear what He offers. And so I will. This is only the beginning.

So, welcome to my “Here” place, my garden…my sanctuary. Welcome to my crazy, passionate, touchy-feely heart and mind that just never stops but belongs totally to the One who picked me up, wiped my dirty heart clean and calls me His own: Jesus.

And the most important thing about being “Here” (wherever that happens to be along the way) is that it won’t ever be about me; it’s about God and what He’s doing and where we’re going together. Already, I can see His light shining in the darkness…and the darkness has not….can not overcome. (John1:1-5) Ginosko