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valentine’s surprise A Rose for Miss Lupe true stories of hope and inspiration

February 2011 •

Patricia Heaton

The Role of Her Life A Daughter’s Forgiveness Quilt p. 54 The Power of Thank You Communities in Action

They Call Him “G”

Take a Trip to the Holy Lands p. 40

plus! comfort food

The Family Soup Pot

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•a in g y m o • if p u ta o s •a •a fo li m s • if a C •b y • if u T o o •a c h b ta • if c m w s • if w • if p b

® GUIDEPOSTS is a monthly inspirational, interfaith, nonprofit magazine written by people from all walks of life. Its articles help readers achieve their maximum personal and spiritual potential. editor-in-chief

& vice president Edward Grinnan

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Editor’s Note

Love & Forgiveness


Gale Zucker

ast month we began our new editorial series, The Power of Forgiveness, with an incredible story by Laura Hillenbrand, best-selling author of Seabiscuit. It was about an ex-soldier named Louie Zamperini who overcame years of bitterness and rage to forgive the enemy who tortured him so unspeakably in a prisoner-of-war camp. With that act of forgiveness Louie’s life—and faith—began anew. Forgiveness was redemptive and liberating. This month we have an equally remarkable story in our series, from Jill Wolpert, who attempted to recon­ cile with her long-estranged father on his eightieth edward grinnan birthday by making him a beautiful one-of-a-kind quilt Editor-in-Chief whose particular motifs revealed the deeper pattern of love that had always joined them, even when each felt unloved by the other for so many years. They never actually said, “I forgive you,” confesses Jill near the end of her story, a bit wistfully perhaps. But that isn’t really true. The words they did say to each other for the very first time ever were “I love you,” and there is no greater forgiving power than love. Love forgives. Forgiveness is impossible without love. On February 14 we run around saying “I love you” to just about everyone, and that’s good. But maybe I’ll try saying it to some people I haven’t said it to in too long a time. And if I am blessed some long-lost soul from my past will come to me and say, “I love you” and I’ll know what it means.

Join Edward in the Holy Lands. Go to g u i d e p o s t s . o rg


true stories of hope and inspiration

Your Stories 20


Runner Dude

A blogger turns his passion into a profession. by THAD MCLAURIN Greensboro, North Carolina



Double Blessings

Her star rose when she finally let go. by PATRICIA HEATON Los Angeles, California



Fall to Grace

He climbed for his life after nearly falling to his death. by CRAIG DEMARTINO Fort Collins, Colorado


FATHER DAUGHTER REUNION Quilting as an act of forgiveness


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Rediscovering her faith in the Holy Land. by STEPHANIE THOMPSON Edmond, Oklahoma

GUIDEPOSTS, a nonprofit organization, touches millions of lives every day through products and services that inspire, encourage and uplift. Our magazines, books, prayer network and outreach programs help people connect their faith-filled values to their daily lives. To learn more, visit or FEBRUARY 2011 volume 65 issue 12

Cover Photo for Guideposts by Kate Romero; Left: Jeff Schultz; This Page, Top: Brett Kramer; Bottom: Cyndy DeMartino.


44 It Starts with Thank You Good manners are good business. by CHANDRA GREER Chicago, Illinois



A GIFT FOR BUSINESS Inspired entrepreneur

48 “Should You Walk Through Fire”

An author’s crisis of faith. by BO CALDWELL Cupertino, California


54 Patchwork Reunion

A quilt brings healing between father and daughter. by JILL WOLPERT, Soldotna, Alaska


59 A Rose for Miss Lupe

Her first Valentine’s Day alone. by LUPE RUIZ-FLORES San Antonio, Texas


60 Street Priest

Inspiration in the ’hood. by GREGORY BOYLE Los Angeles, California


ROCK ON! A climber’s biggest challenge g u i d e p o s t s . o rg


true stories of hope and inspiration


JOIN US IN THE HOLY LAND A journey of a lifetime

Inspired Kitchen 68


Cook’s Delight Soup for her troops.

by KENDRA DRUMMOND San Antonio, Texas



Mama Chavez’s Cocina

A fiancée’s test of love.


by HARRIETTE CHAVEZ Garland, Texas

KIDS IN THE KITCHEN Young sous chefs



Edamame and Pasta with Feta Grace FOR FEBRUARY by MARY LOU REED

Your Favorites 7 12 13 16

Editor’s Note What’s New on Pass It On The Up Side

27 MYSTERIOUS WAYS More than coincidence 66 What Prayer Can Do 79 Family Room 83 Continued


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Top: Courtesy Stephanie Thompson; Bottom: Mark Greenberg

An easy and colorful side dish.

What’s new on FREE EBOOK

The Power of Creativity and Crafts If Jill Wolpert’s story about the eightieth-birthday quilt she made for her father (page 54) moved you, download our free ebook packed with inspirational stories about quilting, knitting and crocheting! Visit WEB EXCLUSIVE!


HeartShaped World

A Bouquet of Kisses

Think Valentines are limited to cards, candy and flowers? Go to to view amazing images of hearts in nature.

Chocolate roses helped Lupe Ruiz-Flores during a difficult holiday (page 59). Learn how to make this sweet gift. Watch our video at WEB EXCLUSIVE!

Did You Know? One billion Valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second-largest card-sending holiday. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.)

Inspired Home expert Kelee Katillac helps you express your love with a simple project. Go to


Love Stories We asked couples to share how their romances bloomed. You’ll love their stories! Watch the video at


g u i d e p o s t s F E B Rua ry


Top left: Tony Alter/Flickr

A Gift of Love

pass it on

people helping people

Snow Man

2010 © Aaron Leighton/


hen a once-in-a-decade storm dumped more than six inches of ice and snow on our part of Kentucky last winter, my husband, Jim, wasted no time breaking out his tractor and plow. He doesn’t hesitate when it comes to helping, whether it’s family, friends, even strangers. Which is why I wasn’t too worried when I saw him head for our neighbor’s after finishing our driveway. More than an hour later, he still wasn’t back. Did the tractor break down? Was the snow so bad that he couldn’t get through? I peered out the window. I was getting nervous. Another 30 minutes went by before I could finally see his tractor in the distance. “Everything okay?” I asked as Jim trudged through the door, shaking the snow from his coat. “Yeah, but you wouldn’t believe how bad it is out there,” he said. “I knew the Dudecks didn’t have a plow, so I went over and dug them out. Then I remembered the Hillerichs and that couple that moved here from San Diego, so I just kept going…” If Jim hadn’t almost run out of gas I’m sure he’d have plowed clear to the center of town. That’s just who he is— and I love my guy for it! -LISA PREUETT

Taylorsville, Kentucky

Share the Warmth


’ve lived in the Northeast my entire life. You’d think I’d have gotten used to the winters by now. Yet here we are in February and I’m grumbling about still having to pile on sweater, hat, gloves and winter coat. One thing I’m glad about, though— this winter I’ve been able to warm someone else against the bitter cold. That’s because of New York Cares, a volunteer organization here in the city that holds a coat drive every December. You can visit a collection site, leave a coat with a volunteer and know it will go to one of the thousands of people here who can’t afford to buy their own. I don’t have the closet space in my Manhattan apartment to keep extra coats but when I visited my parents in Pennsylvania in December, I went g u i d e p o s t s . o rg


Pass It On

through the stash at their house. I brought an old coat back with me and took a walk to Penn Station one morning to drop it off before work. If you’d like to donate a coat but can’t find a place to drop it off, go to, which has state-by-state lists of sites that accept clean, gently used coats. There’s still plenty of time to share the warmth.

even used red paper lanterns to make the place more festive. “It was the best meal I’ve had in years,” one man said. “We usually don’t get special food like this.” I thought of the variety of foods I take for granted and made a Chinese New Year’s resolution. On February 13, I slipped on my apron and baked dozens of cookies— heart-shaped with sprinkles and icing, old-fashioned chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin too. I dropped them off at a shelter in my town. I’m making Valentine’s cookies for them again this year. You don’t need to wait for a holiday, though. When it comes to reminding others they’re loved, any reason is a good reason! -STEPHANIE THOMPSON

Edmond, Oklahoma


Editorial Assistant

Sweet Idea


ne evening last February a story on the news got my attention. To celebrate the Chinese New Year several Chinese restaurants in Oklahoma City set up a buffet dinner at a mission downtown complete with egg rolls, soup, moo goo gai pan, chicken chow mein and plenty of fortune cookies. The restaurant owners KNOW OF A GOOD ACT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH US? E-mail us at or write to Guideposts, “Pass It On” Department, 16 East 34 Street, New York, NY 10016.


g u i d e p o s t s F E B RUA RY


the up side


quotes from today’s positive thinkers

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” —Annie Dillard, Pulitzer Prize-winning author

“We don’t laugh because we’re happy, we’re happy because we laugh.” —submitted by GUIDEPOSTS reader Dorothy Player of Rockingham, North Carolina

—Olympic champion speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno

Send us an uplifting quote from a newsmaker or yourself. E-mail us at upside@guideposts .org or mail to: Guideposts, The Up Side, 16 East 34 Street, New York, NY 10016.


g u i d e p o s t s F E B RUA RY


“Spirituality isn’t static. It’s an evolving optimism that won’t let hardship get the best of you.” —Judith Orloff, psychiatrist and author of Positive Energy and Emotional Freedom

“Not to employ prayer with my patients was the equivalent of deliberately withholding a potent drug or surgical procedure.” —Larry Dossey, physician, in his book Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine

Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

“Winning does not always mean coming in first… real victory is in arriving at the finish line with no regrets because you know you’ve gone all out.”

The Up Side

“It’s a simple solution… you change one thing, and suddenly you’ve changed everything.”

“Beauty is not generic. Quite often, the thing that makes you memorable is the thing that makes you different.”

—Rebecca Onie, founder of Health Leads, which places student volunteers in urban clinics, assisting patients with housing, food, legal aid and other basic needs

—Laura Mercier, makeup artist and creator of a cosmetics line

—submitted by GUIDEPOSTS reader Robert Albert Wood of Rainbow City, Alabama

—seen on a sign in a frame shop in Boston

“Open your heart.… Open it wide; someone is standing outside.” —Mary Engelbreit, artist and illustrator

“Come back, young man. He needs a booster shot.”


g u i d e p o s t s F E B RUA RY


Copyright Bernard Schoenbaum/The New Yorker Collection/

“In the happy moments, praise God. In the difficult moments, seek God. In the quiet moments, trust God. In every moment, thank God.”

“Today I will be happier than a bird with a French fry.”

A New You

Runner Dude


ne good thing about being unemployed—maybe the only good thing— was I could dress however I liked. No more business casual. That morning in April 2009 I came in from a five-mile run around the neighborhood and plopped down in front of my laptop in my sweaty T-shirt and shorts. My wife, Mitzi, was at work, and the kids were at school. I was the only one with no place I had to be. I checked my email, to see if I’d got-


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ten any responses to the résumés I’d sent out. Nothing. Pretty much the same story since I’d gotten laid off two months earlier, after 13 years with an educational publishing company. I couldn’t even look for work in the same field because I’d signed a non-compete agreement when I was hired. Not that there were jobs available in educational publishing. Or publishing, period. Not in this economy. I’d always believed things happen for a reason, and that in time, God would let

Photos by Grant Halverson


IN STRIDE Running gave Thad structure to his day and led him to a new career.

I started running for my health. I didn’t know it would be my future me know what he had in mind for me. So I’d kept busy taking care of things around the house and applying for every position I was remotely qualified for. Mitzi remained confident that I would find something. But now I was getting scared. My severance pay would run out soon and I had no clearer idea of my future than the day I was asked to clear out my office cubicle. What was God waiting for? I really would have sunk into depression if I hadn’t had running to pick me

up. That and the blog I’d started writing about a year before the layoff. Initially it was just a place for me to brag about my running buddies and their racing accomplishments. On our Saturday morning group runs, we’d get to talking about this running trend or that. Sometimes our debates would get lively and I’d go home intrigued enough to dig around online and find out more about the topic. I must be kind of a geek, because I really loved learning everything I could about fitness and nutrition and improving athletic performance. I’d fill everyone in the following Saturday, and I got so into it, my friends nicknamed me Runner Dude, which is what I named my blog. I began posting my findings there. Before I knew it, I was getting comments not just from my friends, but also from people all over the country wanting to know more, even asking my advice. I clicked on my blog. Lately I’d been posting daily. It gave some structure and purpose to my day, and at least for an hour or two, it kept me from worrying. Today I’d post something funny, I decided. Lord knows I could use a laugh. I found a video on YouTube about two guys who go a little nuts training for an ultramarathon. It was so hilarious it had me totally LOL. And boy did it feel good to laugh out loud. Almost as good as running. I started running in college at UNC Chapel Hill. I figured it would be a good way to get fit. Just for fun, I signed up g u i d e p o s t s . o rg


A New You for the 1984 Great Raleigh Road Race, a 10K run. I set out on the cordoned-off street, huffing along with thousands of other racers. I remember the burn in my thighs as I passed the first mile marker. Then I got into a rhythm, and the pain faded. Inhale, four strides, exhale. The next thing I knew I’d crossed the finish line. I wasn’t fast, but man, what a blast! I was hooked. Thirteen years after that race, I ran my first marathon. When Mitzi and I moved to Greensboro, a year later, the thing BUILDING STRENGTH At his studio, RunnerDude’s Fitness, I looked for right after Thad helps one of his clients train for a half marathon. a house and a church was a running route. “Why don’t you en miles is a long way, but it seemed to run with us?” asked Rick, a friend from me as if we covered the distance in no church. His Saturday morning runners’ time at all. group, the BlueLiners, trained on an 11I’ve run with the BlueLiners ever mile greenway trail. since. They’ve become some of my A runners’ group? To me, running closest friends. They trained alongside was a solitary pursuit. I showed up at me when I was working to get back in the park Rick had told me about not shape after a bout of ulcerative colitis quite knowing what to expect. There in 2002 that required surgery. were four or five others in shorts and They were with me after I ran the running shoes. “Hey, everybody,” Rick Honolulu Marathon and fractured my said, “this is Thad.” heel. For three months, I had to stay off The trail was tree-lined and hilly. my feet—doctor’s orders. I did strength After a few miles, we were out in the training at the gym but I knew I needed countryside. We crossed two lakes, more. So I stuck to my routine and still climbed a couple of hills, passed a fam- met the BlueLiners each Saturday. I ily of deer. We chatted as we ran. Elev- walked while they ran. Each week the


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pain receded further and I got stronger until I was running with them again. My commitment to fitness and nutrition, I was convinced, had played a huge part in keeping my colitis under control since my surgery. Running was more than a hobby. It was my ticket back to health. I wrote an introduction to that funny video and posted it. Then, since I didn’t have anything else to do, I scrolled through my blog archive. Maybe it was seeing everything laid out in front of me on my laptop screen that did it. It wasn’t just a list of blog posts. It was a declaration. This goes beyond my health, I thought. This is my passion. This is my future. I didn’t even give Mitzi a chance to put her things down when she walked in the door from work that night. “I know what I want to do,” I said. “I want to become a running coach and personal trainer. This means I’d have to go back to school…” Was she going to tell me I was crazy? Instead, Mitzi looked me in the eye and said, “I was wondering when that would finally dawn on you.” It took me six months to earn my certifications as a personal trainer and a running coach, and then last March I opened my own studio here in Greensboro, called, of course, RunnerDude’s Fitness. It’s not a large place. There’s an elliptical trainer, a treadmill, some dumbbells and medicine balls, and a Smith Rack universal machine for doing squats, bench presses and stretches. I can only train one or two clients at a

time—more if we’re running outdoors. RunnerDude’s isn’t a threat to Gold’s Gym, but maybe one day it will be. My first client was another member of the BlueLiners. I designed a series of full-body workouts for her, with exercises to strengthen her upper body, her lower body and her core. As she went through each routine, I explained what

I believed things happen for a reason and in time God would let me know what he had in mind for me. What was he waiting for? muscle groups she was working and how the training would improve her running fitness. One day she finished a set of dumbbell lunges and stopped for a breather. “You know, before, I’d go the gym and feel lost. For the first time, I feel like I’m on a real program,” she said. “You know what you’re doing, Runner Dude.” I was pumped. Was this my dream job or what? Or maybe I should say it’s the job I never would have dreamed of if I hadn’t gotten laid off. And to think I was wondering what God was waiting for. I’m so grateful he waited for me to see the incredible future he’d laid out for me!

For more stories about life changes, go to g u i d e p o s t s . o rg


mysterious ways more than coincidence

John Grimwade


ere in the Midwest, we’re the kitchen table near it for warmth. used to frigid winters, but that Once I got the kids off to school and I morning seemed colder than got to work, I phoned a furnace repairusual. Maybe it was because my hus- man. “I’ll take a look as soon as I can and band wasn’t sleeping next to me. He call you,” he said. had gone out of town on a long trip. I got a call back a few hours later. It was just me looking after our three “Your furnace has a leak,” the repairman daughters. We lived out in said, in a tone that seemed the country—no neighbors to imply more than just a within shouting distance, minor problem. and I felt vulnerable. At “How soon can you fix night I made sure to lock it?” I asked, dreading anthe doors and I prayed God other freezing night. I woke up would watch over us. “Ma’am, you don’t unI’d woken up shivering, shivering, with derstand,” he said. “Your a pounding with a pounding headache. furnace is leaking carbon It was really cold, even for headache. It was monoxide. That’s the type our 170-year-old house. Did too cold even for of thing you see on the our furnace break down? I news, where an entire famwent downstairs to check. our 170-year-old ily dies in their sleep. I’ll house. That’s when I saw that the install a new furnace tofront door was wide open! morrow. Until then, you’ll I shut it and cranked up the thermostat. need to stay somewhere else.” I’m positive I locked that door last night. Immediately I thought of the front Did someone break in? I dashed upstairs. door. If it hadn’t somehow gotten open The girls were safe in their beds. I looked to let the fresh air in… around. Nothing was missing. That breath of fresh air saved our My teeth chattering, I waited for the lives—and it made an impression on furnace to kick in. It didn’t. The draft my husband too. When he got home, from the door must have blown the pilot he promised never to leave us for so light out. I didn’t know how to relight it. long again. My husband usually took care of things -SHERI BULL like that. Why did he have to be gone East Moline, Illinois for so long? I called the girls down to break- Have your own Mysterious Ways story? fast, turning on the oven and shoving Send it to Check out the Mysterious Ways blog at g u i d e p o s t s . o rg


Cover Story

PLAYFUL SPIRIT A mom of four, Patricia is game for life’s great adventures


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double blessıngs She’s best known for playing TV moms. In real life, it’s her most important role

Photo for Guideposts by Kate Romero


oms. That’s what I’m best known for playing on TV. Maybe you’ve seen me as beleaguered stay-at-home mom Debra Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond or in my current role as Frankie Heck, a Midwestern car saleswoman and mother of three, on The Middle. In real life I’m a mom too, of four boys! I love my family and I’m grateful to be making my living as an actress—both are huge blessings in my life—but there was a time when I wasn’t sure I’d have either. It was 1989 and I’d just moved to Los Angeles after a nineyear stretch of trying to make it as an actress in New York. I was 31 years old (that’s ancient in Hollywood) and was renting the g u i d e p o s t s . o rg


cramped back bedroom of my cousin’s girlfriend’s mother’s house—yup, that’s how low I was on the totem pole. I had gotten engaged—my fiancé, David, was also an actor—and was just barely scraping by, auditioning for every bit part you can imagine. Back in my hometown, Bay Village, Ohio, most of my friends were married, with families, and had homes and steady jobs. I longed for that. Still, I put acting first. It was what I’d always dreamed of doing, a life plan that was somehow meant for me. My dad, a sportswriter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and my mom, a homemaker, instilled in my three sisters, my brother and me a strong sense of faith. We went to church as a family every Sunday. We said grace before meals and read stories from our collection of books on the lives of the saints. God was in everything that we did and we soaked it in. Then, when I was 12, my mother died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. Losing her was the hardest thing I’d ever gone through, but at the same time it cemented my belief in everything I’d been taught. Especially that life is a journey, and it’s short, so we should live for God and do the best we can. Now, though, eking out a living in Los Angeles, I was starting to doubt that. I mean, I was doing the best I could, and here I was still struggling after years of work. Where was my big break? And how would David and I ever support the family we’d dreamed of if I didn’t get a steady job?


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MOM KNOWS BEST Patricia plays a busy working mom in The Middle (above). For 10 years she starred with Ray Romano in Everybody Loves Raymond.

One Sunday, a few weeks after I’d moved, I drove around the city and prayed to God (okay, more like argued) about how I felt. If this is what I’m supposed to be doing, why isn’t there a single door opening? Why, Lord?! What are we doing wrong here? There was no answer. No epiphany. Just silence. Shortly afterward I heard about a mission trip to an orphanage in Mexico through the church we had started going to, First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. The kids at the orphanage didn’t have a lawn to play on, so volunteers were needed to go down there and lay some sod. My parents had always taught us to help someone else whenever we were feeling sorry for ourselves…and this was definitely one of those times! I

Top: ABC/CRAIG SJODIN; Bottom: Courtesy Everett Collection; Right: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Cover Story

called David and told him about it. “I think this’ll be good for us,” I said. I had to admit, it would also be nice to have a few days when I didn’t have to worry about finding work.

inexplicably, had changed inside me. The feeling of remoteness from daily life, the physical labor and those joyful kids had brought me complete fulfillment… and it was fulfillment in something that had nothing to do with me being a successful actress! In fact, it was the complete opposite. It was about being involved in something that wasn’t about me. And to think, if I hadn’t joined the church, I would’ve missed the trip al­ together. Maybe God does know what he’s doing after all, I thought. That night, I knelt down in that little back bedroom I called home and I prayed aloud. “Okay, Lord,” I said. “I’m sorry for arguing with you before. You can have this whole acting thing. I’ve been hanging on to it till it has practically become an idol. I will walk away from it if it’s not what you have in store for me. I will do whatever you want me to do, but you have to make it really, really clear.” As I spoke it hit me that in all my years of praying and going to church, this was the first time that I had relinquished complete control of my life to God. Not long after, I landed a six-episode

avid and I packed up a van full of church members and off we went. A bumpy threehour ride later, we arrived at the Sparrows Gate Orphanage, a collection of humble stucco buildings run by a couple who introduced themselves as Dean and Alba Tinney. “Let’s get to work, guys!” they said nearly the second we got out of the van. We were split into groups—one to help repair broken sewage lines and another to dig into the dry ground to prepare it for the sod. It was my first real exposure to hard physical labor and to Third World living. I didn’t speak Spanish and the kids didn’t speak English, so during breaks we played ball together and just plain ran around, laughing. At night, the volunteers slept in litGANG’S ALL HERE! tle bunkers on cots. There was Patricia with her total technology deprivation—no husband and sons TV or radio or phone. When the project was finished, we threw the kids a party to celebrate. I looked at all their bright, shining faces and felt connected to something much bigger than myself. I might have been only 150 miles from Los Angeles but I felt worlds away. On the drive back I couldn’t stop thinking about the trip. Something,

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Cover Story stint on thirtysomething, a guest ap­ pearance on Matlock, and more audi­ tions than ever before—all without an agent or a manager. And you know what? If I didn’t get a part, I wasn’t devastated.

The boys like to incorporate prayers for family and friends and whatever’s hap­ pening that week, things like “Lord, let Nana have a safe trip home tonight,” or “Please help my younger brother do well on his test this week.” It’s all very sweet. We’re hoping to take the kids to the Sparrows Gate Orphanage at some point (ever since we could afford to, David and I have been financial supporters of the organization). We want to teach them the importance of the kind of work Dean and Alba do. Last spring my oldest son and I traveled to the African coun­ try of Sierra Leone for a 10-day medical mission. It’s good for the boys, I think, to step outside of L.A. and outside of themselves. Whenever I worry about their fu­ tures, their health and what they’ll do when they grow up (their ideas on that change by the minute, from gamer to musician to actor to guitarist), I pray that they’ll spend their lives in service to others and loving other people, in the knowledge that God created them to do good. One thing I don’t worry about, though, is whose hands their futures are in and who they can turn to when they’re not sure what choice to make. Because when we fully surrender to God, just as I did in that tiny back bed­ room many years ago, he gives us all we need. And sometimes abundantly, more than we can imagine.

“I’ll walk away from acting if that’s what you want me to do,” I prayed. I didn’t torture myself about it. It didn’t seem like the end of the world, because I knew that God had it under control. emember how I said I longed for a fam­ ily too? The following year, 1990, David and I got married. Three years later we had our first son, Sam. Three more boys followed: John, Joseph and Dan­ iel. And then it finally came—my big break on Everybody Loves Raymond. I was able to bring the boys to work with me, something I know was a huge blessing from God, since a lot of moms don’t have that option. Today, the boys are almost all teen­ agers, and I work 12 to 14 hours a day on my new show, The Middle—although they’re so busy with school and extra­ curricular activities I think they hard­ ly notice! I try to instill in them that same faith I had as a child. David and I take them to church every Sunday, and we always say our prayers before bed.

For more on this story, see Family Room.

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Living with Pain

fall to gRACE


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ad,” my daughter, Mayah, called down to me, “are you coming up?” “Up” was the top of a rock face in Shoshone National Forest, near Lander, Wyoming, that I’d long dreamed of climbing, and that my wife, Cyndy, and sixyear-old daughter had just successfully ascended. Just a 45-foot cliff, but its sheer face made it an interesting puzzle to solve. The kind of challenge I used to live for. Now, though, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to live for. Closing my eyes, I tried to close out the pain that still racked my body and summon the words of a devotional that I’d

This rock climber plunged nearly a hundred feet. Incredibly, he survived. Even more incredible was what came next By CRAIG DEMARTINO, FORT COLLINS, COLORADO g u i d e p o s t s . o rg


Living with Pain


say rock climbing was my life, and that’s no exaggeration. I discovered the sport when I was 21. A buddy of mine back east was getting married, and a bunch of us drove to Livezey Rock, a popular rock cliff near Philadelphia, and went climbing for his bachelor party. I had never been an athlete, had never been good at team sports like football or basketball. But climbing I took to right away. For the first time in my life, I could do something physical at a high level. I climbed every chance I got. I’m a professional photographer. I could have landed a full-time job with a newspaper around Philadelphia, but I stayed freelance so I could climb whenever the urge struck. Which was often. At 23 I traveled the country, climbing in Yosemite and Wyoming—all around the lower 48. Two years later I met Cyndy in a Philadelphia climbing gym. She was a student at Colorado State University, a one-hour drive from Rocky Mountain National Park, home to some of America’s highest peaks. “If you ever get out there, call me,” she said, just before heading back to school. “I’ll go climbing with you.” Before I knew it, I had moved there. Colorado is a climber’s paradise. First Cyndy and I climbed ONE STEP AT together. Then we fell in love. A TIME Craig taking hold on a Life was good. I was generally a climb with his new churchgoing man, but on Sunday prosthetic leg mornings, if the weather was per-


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Photos by Cyndy DeMartino

I hadn’t been on a rock face since the fall. Push through the pain, I told myself. Climb beyond it.

read in the rehabilitation facility, a devotional that said God would always be with me in everything. “Dad! Dad!” Mayah’s voice came again from far away. “Are you coming up?”

fect, I went climbing. The way I figured it, the higher I got, the closer I was to God. And then it happened—the fall. I can’t say it was anyone’s fault. I was up the equivalent of a nine-story building on Sundance Buttress, a sheer 1,000-foot rock cliff, perched on a twoinch ledge. My friend Steve was on the ground. “Okay,” I shouted, meaning I was ready for him to belay me back down, so he could take a turn climbing. For some reason, I never checked to make sure he heard me. I slipped into the harness, leaned back and waited for Steve to gently lower me. To my horror, nothing was holding me. I flew through the air, banging against the buttress as I plunged to the ground. I fell so fast, I didn’t even have time to pray. I came to in intensive care. I opened my eyes. They were about the only part of me that moved. I was breathing with a ventilator. Both feet were in casts. Neck and head in a brace. Everything was numb but my fingers. Clearly I had no business being alive. Cyndy was at my side. I tried to talk. “Don’t speak,” she whispered, stroking my cheek. I looked into her eyes and knew that she had thought I wouldn’t wake up. The pain came two weeks later. I had been heavily drugged until then. That morning an aide came to my room. “Craig,” he said, “we’re taking you to an assisted-living center so you can begin physical therapy. We’re going to put you in a wheelchair and wheel you into a van. There might be some pain.” Some? As he sat me up, a bolt of

white-hot pain shot through my feet and back. Unbelievable pain. Pain so intense I wept. “Is this what it’s going to be like?” I asked my doctor. “This is what they make painkillers for,” he said. “For people like you.” Lord, did I cry out for those painkillers during the coming weeks. “I want you to walk to me,” said my physical therapist, standing six feet away. I took a step with my right leg and nearly dropped to the floor. The left one was bad, but this was worse. There was no avoiding the pain, no way around it. I had to go through it. Rehab meant movement, and every movement was torture. And the pain wouldn’t end with rehab. Lying in bed one night, I tried to make sense of my life. I had been a rock climber. When people asked what I did, that’s what I told them. Now I didn’t know who I was. I started keeping a journal, but every entry ended with the same question: What am I supposed to do now? I looked at the stack of books by my bed. Friends sent them. They wanted to help but they didn’t know how so they sent books. I snagged the one on top— the only one I could reach. It was a daily devotional book. I turned to July 21, the day of my accident. The devotional startled me. It was about recognizing God’s presence in your life, in the good and the bad. Especially the bad. I must have read it 50 times. It was like a shock to the system—almost as intense as the physical pain I felt. God is there, inside the pain. Working through the pain, I move closer to God. I felt a

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Living with Pain spark of optimism take light. I can beat this pain, I thought. I can keep it from taking over my life. And if I’m unable to climb again, well, I’ve already scaled more heights than most. When Cyndy came to visit the next day, I showed her the devotional. “I’ve discovered who I really am,” I said, “and what my life means.” Cyndy gave a big if gentle hug. I rededicated myself to rehab, but with a different goal in mind: to make the best out of every day I have. Two months later, the doctors finally said I could go home. I took joy from accompanying Mayah to the movies, sitting in the stands with Cyndy at her soccer games and going out for pizza afterward. I put climbing out of my mind. Not Cyndy. She still went climbing with friends, or with Mayah, and I would hang out with Will, our threeyear-old. I missed being in the outdoors with my family.

I placed my right foot on the rock. Now the pain was so sharp I broke into a sweat. I grimaced, set my teeth and took hold of the rope. Cyndy coached me from up top. “That’s good,” she said. “You’re doing great. Keep going.” The climb seemed to take forever. My heart raced from the effort. I had to pause after every movement, every step. I kept thinking, If God is with me I can do anything. Finally I reached the top and fell into the arms of my family. Breathing hard, I threw my head back and stared up into the dazzling blue sky. “Thank you,” I said. “Thank you.” My struggles weren’t over by any means. There was a lot more therapy in front of me. Surgery, too. In the end, the pain in my right leg grew so bad, doctors persuaded me to have it amputated below the knee. That was eight years ago. I’m back climbing rock cliffs now, wearing a new prosthetic. I’ve scaled El Capitan, a world-class 3,000-foot sheer rock face in Yosemite, and captured two gold medals in the 2007 Extremity Games—an extreme-sports competition for athletes missing limbs. I won in bouldering—scaling large natural boulders without using a safety rope—and rope climbing. The pain is still there. It always will be. But you know what? It’s not a remind­er that I am disabled but that I am alive.

I lifted my face to the dazzling blue sky. “Thank you,” I said.


hen came the trip to Shoshone National Forest, where I found myself standing at the base of that cliff recalling the devotional. Lord, you are with me in all things. I hesitated. I hadn’t been on a rock face since the fall. I took a breath, got a handhold, dug a step on the face. Immediately the pain shot through me. Push through it! I told myself. Climb beyond the pain.


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For more on this story, see Family Room.


I went to the Holy Land expecting to see the sights. I discovered so much more

Pilgrimage ake the trip or lose the deposit. That was my choice. I’d signed my husband and me up for our church’s tour of the Holy Land secretly hoping it would save our marriage. I thought going together to see places that were so rich with meaning would renew the meaning—and the romance—in our relationship. But we didn’t get that far. A few months before the trip we got divorced. Could I really afford a sightseeing


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junket now? Did I want to travel with a busload of people I hardly even knew? The others were mostly older, longmarried couples, and being with them would only make me feel more alone. But our pastor and his wife practically insisted that I come. “I’d have to have a roommate,” I told them one Sunday, “someone who could share expenses with me.” “We know just the right person,” the pastor’s wife said. They introduced me to Kelly Bass, a petite blonde in her

Top: John Wang/Getty Images



late thirties, just a couple of years older than me. Kelly’s husband had to stay home to run their business, so she was glad to room together. “This trip sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?” she said. Kelly and I sat together on the plane. She had her Bible with her and had done lots of reading about what we would be

seeing: Jerusalem, the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Dead Sea, the Wailing Wall, the Sea of Galilee. I envied her faith, but more than that I envied the way her life had come together. She saw the trip as a pilgrimage, a kind of spiritual preparation for her next adventure, starting a family. “I want to use this g u i d e p o s t s . o rg


Left and top right: Courtesy Stephanie Thompson; Top Middle: Alamy; Bottom Right: Rebecca Sahn

SACRED SITES (clockwise) The Jerusalem skyline; Stephanie rides a camel at the Mount of Olives; the Wailing Wall; and on the banks of the Jordan River


as she fastened the necklace around my neck. Just then Kelly came up and said, “Look what I just bought.” The exact same cross. We wore our matching necklaces to dinner. Afterward, back in our room, we stayed up late talking. I’d forgotten how much fun it was to have a roommate. Each day brought a new marvel. In the Garden of Gethsemane our guide pointed to a gnarled olive tree that botanists believed was two thousand years old. Kelly grabbed my arm. “Jesus might have knelt under this tree,” she whispered. “How he must have anguished here!” It was as if she were reminding me, He understands. He felt alone and abandoned too. But I hadn’t confided my heartache to Kelly… At the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem we crouched to get to the grotto where Jesus was born. In the Dead Sea, Kelly and I were lifted off our feet in the buoyant salty water. We burst out laugh-

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Left and middle: Courtesy Stephanie Thompson; Right: Antoine Gyori/AGP/Corbis

time to really grow in my faith,” she said. I didn’t tell her that my dreams for the trip had already been dashed. Someone so happy with her marriage, so excited about her future, couldn’t possibly understand how hopeless I felt. Our first stop was Jerusalem. Our guide took us to the marketplace downtown. Walking the narrow cobblestone streets, looking at the old buildings awash in the bright Mediterranean sun, I kept thinking about how this was where Jesus and his disciples had walked. A hundred Sunday school lessons seemed to come alive. Was it in a house like that that Jesus had hosted the meal where he broke bread and blessed the wine? Was it down this street that people had waved palms and spread their cloaks before the Messiah? Kelly and I went into a jewelry store and wandered off to separate counters. I bought a small gold cross pendant with a smooth green stone in the center—a Jerusalem cross, the sales clerk told me

TWOSOME Stephanie, with Kelly at Hebrew University (left) and at the Garden Tomb (middle). The Dead Sea (right)

ing. I felt lighter than I had in months. Still, when it came time to write down our prayers and slip the papers between the ancient stones of the Wailing Wall, as is the custom, I couldn’t do it. Kelly went right up and tucked her prayer into a crack in the wall, but I hung back. My prayers for my marriage hadn’t been answered, and I couldn’t quite believe I’d be heard now, even here. That night we stayed at a kibbutz on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The inky darkness settled as Kelly and I lay in our twin beds, and I finally told her how devastated I was at my divorce, how desperately I longed to be a wife and mother and how I didn’t think those dreams would ever come true. “God has something wonderful in store for you,” Kelly said. “This isn’t an ending, Stephanie, this is a beginning. This is why you’re here on this trip. Your soul knows.” Kelly’s words were on my mind when we got to the Jordan River the next day. Was it really true that I’d come here for

a reason? Our pastor read to us from the Bible about Jesus’ baptism along these verdant shores. “Does anyone want to be baptized to reaffirm their faith?” he asked. I hesitated, then stepped forward. He took a handful of water from the river and sprinkled it over my head. “Baptism is the outward sign of an inward change,” he said, making the sign of the cross on my forehead. God, with you I am never alone, I prayed. You know what my dreams are. I trust them to you. I’d come to Israel as a tourist, but I left as a pilgrim, spiritually transformed by the journey. I had taken the Holy Land into my heart. Five years later I met a wonderful man. My now best friend, Kelly, was the matron of honor at our wedding. Nine months later I gave birth to our daughter. I gave her the middle name of Faith because that’s what I rediscovered on my trip to the Holy Land. Take the trip or lose the deposit? It was the best money I’ve ever spent.

Guideposts Inspiration Vacations Come with Us to the Holy Lands! Guideposts, in partnership with Travel with Spirit, invites you to join us on an 11-night cruise to the Holy Lands, October 17-28, 2011. Our editor-in-chief, Edward Grinnan, will be the host for this remarkable journey. You’ll travel round-trip from Istanbul, Turkey, to Israel, Egypt and Greece, visiting some of the most sacred biblical sights. To register or for more information call (888) 518-7571 or (714) 442-9931, or visit Traveling by yourself? Solo travelers are always welcome and can enjoy the affordability and friendship of sharing a room. Don’t delay…our 2010 trip to Oberammergau sold out!

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It Starts With

ThankYou Who doesn’t wish we could all be a little more civil? This Chicago entrepreneur makes it easier by CHANDRA GREER, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

Photos by Brett Kramer


urquoise, lime, fuchsia! Spools of ribbon in every color of the rainbow burst from the open drawers of a vintage card catalog. Handmade cards and letterpress invitations are neatly stacked on a wooden table. Miniature soaps and gift books line the shelves of an antique walnut hutch. And on the old library counter there’s my favorite product—Civilettes, little thank-you notes that you can hand out like business cards. That reminds me…I look around my store, Greer, and say a quick prayer of thanks. After all, this dream wouldn’t have come true without plenty of guidance from above. I started out with no experience in retail or design—just an inexplicable urge and (believe it or not) an overstuffed handbag. Back in 1997 I was climbing the corporate ladder as an advertising executive. But the more I moved up the ranks, the less I felt like myself. I kept daydreaming about starting a new career (doing what, I wasn’t sure) where I could be really creative. So I quit. Just like that. I know, I know. Leaving a decent job with no idea what to do next? Even I thought that was kind of crazy. “You APPRECIATIVE Chandra uses Civilettes “in the event of a kind deed or word from stranger or friend.”

Joy@work followed your heart,” my husband, Steve, assured me. “Now you’ll find a job you really love.” After about a month, I got some freelance marketing work, but no clearer sense of what job I could love. I would ask, Lord, have I just ruined my life? Please guide me in the right direction. One day I was in my favorite store, poking around. Paper from all over the world, brightly colored journals, amazing gifts and the most charming thank-you cards I’d ever seen. I must’ve spent an hour browsing—I couldn’t get enough of the stuff! Maybe that’s because those thank-you notes brought me back to my childhood. Manners were big (big!) in our house. I’m the oldest of three girls and my parents made sure that “please” and “thank you” were part of our vocabulary almost as soon as we could talk. “You’re never too busy to say thanks,” Mom would say. I’d duck into that store between freelancing jobs—in fact, it was usually the highlight of my day. I found myself wondering, Can I make cards too? At least it would get my mind off my career worries. One day in the shop I discovered some thin Japanese paper with a butterfly design. “I’ll take this!” I said. I also bought some ribbon, parchment paper, blank note cards and envelopes. I got home and started experimenting—gluing ribbon down, folding the parchment different ways. Playing, designing—it was so much fun! Now if only I could find that kind of joy in a real job. “You’re a natural,” said Steve, when I


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showed him one of my finished butterfly cards. “You should try to sell them.” “I don’t know…this is a great hobby, but selling them? You think?” “I’m serious,” he said. “You’ve got talent, Chandra.” I gave some cards to friends and they loved them, so I worked up the nerve to take the cards to a few boutiques. Each one turned me away. Great, I thought. You left your job almost a year ago and all you’ve done is play around with paper and ribbons. Way to go, Chandra. Dejected, I made one last appointment—at the paper store that had inspired me. I spread 12 of my little butterfly cards out in front of the owner. She stared at them for a good long while, not saying a word. Lord, is this what you want me to be doing? I asked. I really need to know. The owner looked up at me. “I’ll take them all.” I let out a huge sigh of relief. More orders came in and it hit me: Maybe I should open my own store. It was risky, sure, but I knew what it meant to take a leap of faith. Steve and I had a bit of money saved up that we could use. I started off with a kiosk in the mall. It did well… so well that just a year and a half after I

ALL THE PRETTY THINGS “I want folks to feel happy here,” Chandra says of her store chockful of unique cards and gifts.

left my advertising job, I opened Greer. We’ve been in business for 11 years now, selling everything from stationery and travel journals to picture frames, ribbons, coasters and pillows. Our bestselling product, though, is the Civilette— which has a story of its own. One night in 2006 I closed up the store and walked out to my car. I had my overstuffed black bag slung on one shoulder (don’t bags always seem to be overstuffed?) and a box of envelopes in my hands. Balancing the box on my knee, I tried to unlock my car door. My bag flew off my shoulder and into the middle of the street. Every last thing fell out: lipstick, wallet, comb, gum, my laptop, you name it. A woman ran over. “Let me help you,” she said. Together we picked up everything and put it safely back inside my bag. “Thank you so much,” I said. “Glad to help,” she said, and walked away like it was no big deal. I mentioned her at home that night. “If only I’d gotten her name and address,” I said. “I’d send her a card.” Too

bad I didn’t have a little note that I could’ve handed to her, like a business card except saying thank you. Wait! Why didn’t I have that? That’s how Civilettes were born. They’re small, with “Thank You” printed on the front and “Please reuse” on the back. Each pack has the message “Use in the event of a kind deed or word from stranger or friend.” We’ve sold over 15,000 packs! We’ve also added “I Love You,” “I’m Sorry” and “Good Job” Civilettes. And remember that paper store that inspired me? They’re our number one buyer of Civilettes. I’ve had people from all over tell me they hand them out along with their business cards or give them to hotel employees, store clerks and teachers. Steve and I like to give them to wait­ staff and cabdrivers—even to each other! I think when we let people know how much we appreciate them, it helps us recognize just how blessed we are. Like Mom used to tell me, “You’re never too busy to say thank you.” I do every time I look around my store, because I can’t help but remember the One who led me on my journey here. Thank you. It’s how I start off my day, and how I end it too.

For more on this story, see Family Room. g u i d e p o s t s . o rg


Generation to Generation


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Should You Walk Through


I’d been writing a novel based on the lives of my missionary grandparents. I worked hard at imagining my grandfather’s faith but it wasn’t until I faced my own spiritual crisis that it became real to me By BO CALDWELL, CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA

Photos by Rebecca Sahn


n a Friday afternoon in the spring of 2002 I was in my study, working on a novel I’d started a few months earlier. It was set in London in 1953, and it was slowly going nowhere. But as I stared at the sad little paragraphs I’d written, my plan changed. Something inside of me said, Go back to China. I knew what that meant. My first novel was based on the life of an uncle of mine, and much of the story took place in Shanghai. I went downstairs and found the memoir my grandfather had written THE WRITER AT HOME Bo’s novel City of Tranquil Light was inspired by the lives of her maternal grandparents, Peter and Anna Schmidt Kiehn.

for our family, about the work he and my grandmother had done as missionaries in China. For years my mom had told me that her parents’ story would make a wonderful book, but I hadn’t thought their lives were interesting or complex enough for fiction. And the idea of writing about their faith made me uneasy, for I suspected their feelings about God were quite different from my own. When I took my grandfather’s memoir from the bookshelf that afternoon and began reading the typed, singlespaced pages, it was like seeing it for the first time, and I found myself moved by his words. I read about him as a young missionary, witnessing the beheading of three men; about my grandmother saving g u i d e p o s t s . o rg


Generation to Generation

FAMILY HISTORY Bo’s mom gave her these photos from her parents’ years in China. Bo told their story through a character based on her grandfather.

the life of a woman who had overdosed on opium; about the two of them enduring China’s devastating 1921 famine, during which girls were sold at market, men walked hundreds of miles for grain and the dead lay in the city streets. I saw that I’d been wrong about my grandparents. Their lives were marked by conflict, danger and passion as well as faith, and I wanted to tell their story. And so I got to work. I read books on Chinese history, then biographies and autobiographies of other missionaries who’d served in China. I looked at the photographs my mom had given me, black-and-white snapshots from my grandparents’ years in China. One

was from their wedding day, in 1908, both of them solemn and young, and one was of my grandmother tending to a patient, an emaciated woman who had been brought to her on a crude wooden cart. Another, taken during the famine, showed a huge crowd seated in front of a stone wall, and still another was of a young Chinese couple, smiling and holding a baby in their arms. I decided to tell my grandparents’ story through a character based on my grandfather. I worked hard at imagining his faith and who he believed God to be, and although the language was stilted (I used the phrase great blessedness a lot) and the characters weren’t very believ-

Go to for Bo’s tips on writing


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able, I kept at it. By the fall of 2004 I had 80 or so pages of mediocre fiction. Then life intervened. One afternoon that September, my doctor called to tell me that the lump he had removed from my breast three days earlier was not, as we had hoped, benign. I had breast cancer. He didn’t want to have this conversation over the phone; could my husband, Ron, and I come to his office? Twenty minutes later we were in a small exam room with my doctor as he went over my pathology report. I remember the words chemotherapy and radiation but not much else from that surreal conversation. I’d been taught as a child that I was in God’s hands, and I kept telling myself that on the way home from the doctor’s office, but it wasn’t doing the trick. As soon as we got home, I went up to my study and called my friend Nita. Nita is a striking African-American woman, six feet tall, beautiful inside and out, the daughter of two preachers, with a profound and real faith in God. That afternoon she listened as I blurted out my news and my fears, and when she spoke, the sadness and shock in her voice mirrored what I felt. Yet I didn’t hear any fear. “Bo,” she said, “you’re all right. God’s got your back.” She spoke with certainty; she had no doubt. I did. I felt like God had taken his eyes off the road for a second. But that phrase—God’s got your back—comforted me. Nita told me to fall back into his arms, and the image helped me through that night and the next and the weeks and months that followed. I needed all the help I could get, for although we had caught the cancer early, my treatment

was aggressive: six rounds of chemotherapy followed by six weeks of radiation. But Nita and Ron assured me that I’d be all right, no matter what. “No matter what” was a good catchall for chemo and radiation, which are not for the faint of heart. I received two chemo drugs through an IV drip, but the third was a vesicant, meaning it could cause blistering in the surrounding tissue—or on the skin of the person handling it. To protect herself, the nurse wore extra thick, purple rubber gloves as she administered the drug, which was danger-sign red, easing it into my vein through a syringe attached to the IV. She did this slowly; it hurt if it went too fast. It felt cold as it entered my vein, like a potion from a fairy tale. At home in bed after each treatment, I tried not to dwell on the nature of the substances my body had received that day. When the heebie-jeebies got to me anyway, I clung to Isaiah 43, adding some lines of my own: Should you pass through the waters, I shall be with you, or through rivers, they will not swallow you up. Should you walk through fire, you will not suffer, and the flame will not burn you. Should you be injected with poison, it will not harm you. For I am with you; I’ve got your back.


uring chemo my husband and friends were able to stay with me for the three or four hours I was at the treatment center. Radiation was different. Technicians controlled the process from behind a thick glass window, while I lay on the table in the treatment room by myself, listening to a Frank Sinatra CD that g u i d e p o s t s . o rg


Generation to Generation played as the medical linear accelerator lowered itself to my chest and worked its complicated magic. Lying there on that table I felt isolated and alone, and fear seemed very near. But something else was also near, for during those 30 sessions I began to feel God’s love in a way I never had before; it seemed more potent and intense. I’d seen my own children hurt and afraid— my daughter when she’d needed stitches for a cut on the back of her head, my son when he’d had to have his wrist rebroken to reset the bone—and I knew the fierce love those experiences had evoked in me. Now I understood that that was what God felt for me, times infinity. I’d been told I was his child my whole life, but in the treatment room that knowledge became real. I knew that whatever happened, he’d see me through.


had pushed the novel to the back burner when I got my diagnosis, and there it stayed while I was undergoing treatment and for months afterward. The few times I looked at what I’d written were like reading someone else’s work (chemo fog is very real), and I had no idea how to get back to it. Was it even what I should be working on? Was I going to write at all? I’d learned a lot about surrender during treatment, and I was willing to let go of the novel and even of my life as a writer, if that was what God wanted. In September of 2006, nearly two years to the day after my diagnosis, I went to Mexico on vacation with Ron and some friends. The house where we stayed was on the ocean, and one morning everyone else left for a day-


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long fishing excursion. It was hot and humid, inside and out, and I wandered from room to room for a while, restless but grateful for the prospect of a day to myself. Finally I went up to our bedroom. Next to the bed was a small wooden table, and it called to me. I pulled it into the center of the room, directly underneath the ceiling fan. I hauled a creaky wicker chair from downstairs and got out some pencils and a composition book I’d brought with me, then I sat down at the little table, stared out at the glimmering ocean and let the quiet settle over me. And on that muggy day in that house on the water, I went back to China. I thought about my grandfather and how he must have felt, leaving his home and everything he knew. In one of the photographs my mom had given me, he was a young man, newly arrived in China, wearing Chinese dress, gazing tentatively at the camera, as though he was unsure about his future. But there was also determination in his expression; he looked like a man who would not give up, no matter what. I opened my composition book, picked up a pencil and began to write. I found myself working on a section toward the end of the novel, where my elderly narrator talks about his God. The sentences came more easily than they had before, the voice felt more authentic and I knew that something had changed. I had changed. I was no longer writing about my grandfather’s faith. I was writing about my own.

For more on this story, see Family Room.

The Power of Forgiveness

Patchwork Reunion It had been 20 years since Dad and I had fallen out. Now he was turning 80



sat on the sofa, coffee in hand, and flipped on the morning news. Anything to distract myself from the gnawing worry. Or maybe it was sheer disbelief. What on earth was I thinking? A few days earlier I’d impulsively offered to fly all the way across the country to Florida for my dad’s eightieth birthday. Sure, 80 was a milestone, but my dad and I didn’t even like each other. I hadn’t seen him in years. We hadn’t had a heart-to-heart since…well, had we ever had a heart-to-heart? Actually, I knew exactly why I’d offered to fly to Florida. Same old Jill, hoping this time I’d manage to


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d n o ries ec e S aS in A STITCH IN TIME Symbols from her childhood found their way onto Jill’s quilt.

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The Power of Forgiveness

RECONCILED Jill with her dad on his eightieth birthday. “We have a lifetime of love to catch up on,” she says.

bother your father.” He wasn’t tall but he was built like a football player and, boy, did he have a temper! Any time I was bad his thick hand drew back to spank me. When he talked to me it was mostly to correct me. Right after I went off to college he and Mom sold their house (the body shop eventually made money and we moved out of my grandparents’) and decamped to Florida. It was like they couldn’t wait to be done as parents. The final break came when I was 25, pregnant with our son. We’d had a daughter two years before and, just as I’d expected, Mom and Dad didn’t think much of my parenting. “You’re too permissive,” Mom would chide. One day on a visit I dared to disagree and Dad confronted me. “Don’t you ever disrespect

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Previous Page: Jeff Schultz; This Page: Courtesy Jill Wolpert

please him. I was 52 years old, for heaven’s sake! I had a husband and two grown kids of my own. Yet it was as if I’d never left that little house in Bay Shore, New York, where every evening Dad came home grumpy and exhausted from the auto-body shop and I made sure to stay out of his way. I couldn’t honestly say whether he loved me. Every so often I tried some extravagant gesture, only to fail. This time I’d made arrangements to fly to Daytona Beach and surprise him with a fancy dinner out with my mother, my uncle and his wife. Not only had I set myself up for failure, now I was on the hook for a gift! What do you get the man who never wanted anything from you in the first place? I thought back bitterly over the years. All my life the word family meant one thing: stress. When I was very little Dad went into business for himself, opening the auto-body shop. When I was five the shop nearly went bankrupt. We lost our house and moved in with Mom’s parents. Dad worked like crazy to bring the business back and Mom just about went crazy too. She didn’t get along with her mother and there we were, all piled on top of one another. My older sister rebelled and spent all her time with her friends. I was the shy one. I holed up in whatever quiet room I could find and played a little chord organ that we had. Then I got into studying grasshoppers and butterflies. I made a net out of one of Mom’s old stockings and started a collection. The beauty of the butterflies comforted me. The constant refrain of my childhood was Mom warning us, “Don’t

your mother like that!” he thundered. Shaken, I walked out, vowing never to speak to them again. The coffee had grown cold. I swirled it around in the cup and sighed. What was I going to do? I’d already bought the plane ticket. I needed a gift. But what? Go get the quilt. The voice spoke calmly and clearly. Startled, I looked around. The morning news hosts chatted away. California sun shone through the window—we were living in San Jose at the time, close to my husband’s work. Suddenly I remembered. Ages ago, in yet another ill-advised attempt at a peace offering, I’d begun sewing a quilt for Dad. I loved quilting and all things crafty. I’d set the quilt aside pretty quickly. He wouldn’t appreciate it anyway, I’d told myself. “Do I even still have it?” I wondered aloud now. I got up and walked to the bedroom. Deep in the closet were my plastic quiltstorage bins. I rifled through one. My breath caught. There, near the bottom, were several partial sections of quilt. I pulled them out and ran my fingers over them. Was this what the voice meant? Well, I didn’t have any better ideas. What if it was God nudging me to make this quilt? I gathered the pieces and studied them. Gradually it came back to me. I’d decided to make this quilt using a repeating pattern of squares and triangles that ends up looking like rows of open monkey wrenches. Perfect for a mechanic, right? How else could I personalize it? I looked online for embroidery patterns and quickly found one called Mourning Cloak. A butterfly. Mourning cloaks—Nymphalis antiopa—were

the first species I ever collected. They were beautiful—mahogany wings bordered with bright blue dots and a yellow stripe. Suddenly my heart leaped with a memory. I’d brought a mourning cloak caterpillar home and raised it until it turned into a butterfly. That day, totally unexpectedly, Dad took me to meet Augie Schmitt, a professional butterfly collector in a nearby town. I’d ended up working in Augie’s shop. He’d taught me everything I knew about insects. I always considered his shop a refuge from home. And yet—it had been Dad who brought me there! I found another butterfly pattern, Tiger Swallowtail. Another memory en-

What do you give the man who never wanted anything from you in the first place? gulfed me. I was 12, at home one humid summer day. Dad called from the shop. “Get down here,” he rumbled. I pedaled over in terror on my bike, certain I was going to catch it for something. “Look in my office,” Dad said when I arrived. There, inside a jar on his desk, was a gorgeous tiger swallowtail, a black-andyellow beauty every butterfly collector yearns for. “I found it trapped in a customer’s car,” Dad said gruffly. “Thought you might like it.” g u i d e p o s t s . o rg


The Power of Forgiveness I stitched butterflies onto the quilt —mourning cloak, tiger swallowtail, Papilio ulysses from Australia. My childhood bedroom had been lined with so many lovely butterflies. I’d taken all that beauty with me when I left home. Now I could give some of it back. I embroidered a bee because once, when I was away at college, Dad had actually added a few words in his own handwriting to a letter Mom sent. “Daddy says BEHAVE!” he wrote. That was a joke. Anytime my sister and I left the house he always barked, “Behave!” I didn’t need to add -have to the bee. He’d get it.


inally it was time to choose the quilt’s backing. I drove to the fabric store praying I’d find the right thing. As soon as I saw a big bolt of cotton printed with a sheetmusic pattern I stopped, remembering the one thing I’d been able to do to make Dad happy. As he flopped into his chair exhausted from work I’d sit at my organ and play for him. He never said anything but I knew he liked it. He’d have told me to stop otherwise. I pictured his thickset body, his big, grease-stained hands— and I felt an overwhelming rush of love. Oh, Daddy! I wanted to cry. You did love me. You just never knew how to say it. I went home and finished the quilt, sewing the last stitch the day before my flight. My uncle and I had planned the visit as a total surprise. I arrived in Daytona, drove to my parents’ house and parked outside. I called them on my cell phone to make them think I was still in California, then walked to the front door and knocked. They practically fell over


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when they saw me! “I’m taking you out for dinner,” I said. At the restaurant all I could think about was the quilt. We returned to their house. The big moment had arrived. I could hardly breathe. “Happy birthday, Daddy,” I said, bringing out the quilt. Dad didn’t say a word. Was he surprised? Indifferent? I put the quilt in his calloused hands. He felt the fabric. He peered at the design. I told him what everything meant, how God had led me to each part of the design meant perfectly for him. “Remember the time…?” I kept saying. All the while a smile slowly spread across his face, as if a lifetime were spooling through his mind. He held the quilt close and whispered, “This is mine.” He looked at me a long time, tears trickling down his cheeks. In his same old gruff voice he murmured, “I love you, baby. Thank you.” I wiped away my own tears. “I love you too, Daddy.” The funny thing is, Daddy and I never had to come out and say, “I forgive you.” The quilt did that for us, reminding us both of the love that had always been there between us. I don’t dwell on the lost years or ask what could have been. Instead, Daddy and I talk all the time. I always pour myself a cup of coffee before I call him and I sit on the sofa, making believe we’re right next to each other. There’s so much to say. A lifetime of love to catch up on. I suppose forgiveness is a little like a butterfly. Even when it seems impossible, as lifeless as a dry brown chrysalis, that’s when it’s preparing to burst forth in new and beautiful life.

For more on this story, see Family Room.

Spiritual Notebook

A Rose for Miss Lupe

It would be her first Valentine’s Day without her beloved By LUPE RUIZ-FLORES, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

Rebecca Sahn


ll day at work I watched faces light up as bouquets were delivered, boxes of chocolates opened, cards read. Everyone in the office seemed to get something special. Everyone but me. Not once in 40 years of marriage had my husband forgotten Valentine’s Day. Gilbert always brought me roses and chocolates. But eight months earlier he’d died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. Losing him was a complete shock. Gil­ bert never got sick. We’d recently retired and were looking forward to spending our golden years together traveling, seeing our kids and grandkids. I’d taken this job to distract my­ self from my grief. But now I wished I’d taken the day off. I left as soon as I could and drove home. I had no ap­ petite for dinner so I sat out back on

the patio listening to the wind chimes, remembering all the barbecues Gilbert and I had had out here. I’d never felt so alone. How could Gilbert be gone? The doorbell rang. Probably some salesperson. It rang again. I sighed, got up and peeked out the front window. The kids from across the street, sixyear-old Bridget and her nine-year-old brother, Aaron, stood on the porch. I opened the door. Bridget’s freckled face smiled up at me. “Miss Lupe, we made these in school today. We wanted you to have them.” She and Aaron each held up a long, slender, crooked shape. Roses. The buds were chocolate kisses covered in red cellophane. The stems were wire wrapped in green floral tape. “Thank you,” I said. My voice broke. “We didn’t mean to make you cry, Miss Lupe,” Aaron said worriedly. “Oh, sweetheart, these are happy tears. Thank you so much.” The kids left and I cradled the flow­ ers. Roses and chocolate. On my first Valentine’s Day without my husband, they were a heavenly reminder that I would always be loved. g u i d e p o s t s . o rg


t e e r StPRIEST Communities in Action

Father Flanagan had Boys Town. Father G has Homeboy Industries



e called it Black Thursday. A g ro u p o f u s gathered in my office on a warm spring morning last year at Homeboy Industries, a gang-intervention program started nearly two decades ago in a tiny East Los Angeles church. Crowding the walls was evidence of our work—photos of gang members who’d turned their lives around, drawings and paintings by kids from the projects, even a proclamation from one of East L.A.’s most notorious street gangs thanking us for our “efforts to make our lives and our community better.” Outside my office we saw gang members coming off the street for job training, counseling,


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maybe to apply to work in the bakery and café we run, or to have their tattoos removed by volunteer doctors. The street was desolate, a neglected corner next to a bus storage depot less than half a mile from the Los Angeles Men’s Central Jail. Inside, though, everything hummed with life, with prayers and warm greetings, sometimes with tears of joy. Except today we were meeting to practically shut the whole operation down. The recession had hit hard and much of our funding had dried up. We’d cobbled together the payroll money for the past few months but now the well was dry. We had more than 300 employees, most of them former gang members, counseling addicts, answering phones and teaching

HEAD HOMEBOY Father Gregory Boyle, a Jesuit priest, at Homeboy Industries, the largest gangintervention program in the country

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Communities in Action

TRANSFORMED “Father G” and folks whose lives were changed by Homeboy Industries. At left, removing a tattoo

classes. They’d all have to go. The senior staff would be laid off. I would be laid off, and I’d helped found the place. We talked all morning about what to do. We were desperate for another solution but there seemed to be only one course of action. Finally we stopped for lunch. “We’ll break the bad news this afternoon,” I said. Silently I gave one last frantic prayer for help. When I returned, word had already spread. The parking lot, sidewalk and lobby were mobbed. Huge guys covered in tattoos were sobbing. Homeboy Industries is the largest gang-intervention program in the country and the only operation of its kind in Los Angeles, America’s gang capital. For these guys it was a lifeline. And I was taking it away.


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Worse, I blamed myself. We’d recently built a new headquarters that let us bring all of our programs under one roof. It was paid for but I hadn’t anticipated the increase in costs our expansion would generate. The number of gang members, or “homies,” as they call themselves, coming to us had quadrupled to 12,000 per year. (There are an estimated 100,000 gang members in the L.A. area.) I walked through that swarm of homies in a miserable daze. I thought about all the kids who’d come to us over the years broken down and brokenhearted. That’s the real reason kids join gangs. They’re not naturalborn criminals. They’re just out of options—no jobs in sight, dysfunctional schools and families, no sense of belonging in society. Yet these kids had

Photos by Dan MacMedan

I realizegdaIngcopurlodbnl’tem fight thlee-handedly. sing

taught me so much—more, it sometimes seemed, than I’d ever taught them. I remembered one year in particular, when I was as depressed and anxious as I was that Black Thursday afternoon. It was 1992, six years after I’d been assigned as pastor of Delores Mission Church in East Los Angeles. Delores Mission was the poorest parish in all of L.A., basically two sprawling publichousing projects right next door to each other. The projects were home to eight different warring gangs. Even though I was a middle-class white guy who spoke little Spanish, dealing with those gangs became a major part of my ministry. Mothers and grandmothers in my parish were distraught at the constant shootings, stabbings and drug dealing going on every day right outside their doors. They hated the violence but they loved their children. Maybe, they reasoned, if we made our church a place of love and refuge and helped these kids find jobs and mentors they’d leave the gang life. By fits and starts we put together a program that placed kids in local jobs and taught them basic life skills. We even bought them suits for interviews. We started our own businesses and we hired homies to run them. I wasn’t smart enough to let it all take its own time. Instead I tried to solve the gang problem single-handedly. I never slept. Late at night I’d get on my bicycle and pedal through the projects. If I saw homies with guns drawn I confronted them. I escorted kids to their doors. I pleaded with gang members to leave the life and come to us for counseling. I shooed away drug dealers and even tried to broker truces between rival

gangs. The truces were worse than useless. Gangs never fight about anything real. It’s all turf and posturing and desperate efforts to mask despair and fear. As a Jesuit I was mandated to take a long retreat that year. I spent 30 days in silent prayer and realized that all of my efforts had come to little. The housing projects were more torn up by violence than ever. I was burned out. I returned wondering if I’d ever find a way to make a difference.


hat’s when I met Pedro, a young guy addicted to crack. Every time I saw him in the projects I offered to get him into rehab. “I’m okay, G,” he’d say and slink off. (The homies call me “Father G” or just “G.”) One day, to my total surprise, Pedro said yes. I drove him to a rehab center north of L.A. A month later his younger brother, Jovan, also a gang member, committed suicide. I picked Pedro up from rehab for the funeral. I had no idea what to say but Pedro launched into conversation the minute he got in the car. “It’s a trip, G,” he said. “I had this dream last night and you were in it.” Pedro said he and I were standing in a large, empty, pitch-black room when suddenly I lifted up a flashlight and turned it on, illuminating a light switch on the wall. I didn’t speak, didn’t move, just held the beam steady. “All of a sudden,” said Pedro, “I realized I was the only one who could flip that switch. You couldn’t do it. I had to do it. So I walked over there and I took a breath and I flipped it on. And the room got light.” He paused and I saw he was crying. “And, G,” g u i d e p o s t s . o rg


Communities in Action he choked out, “I realized that the light… everyone showed up, including Pedro, is better…than the darkness.” That was who’s a case manager. Homies went to all. We didn’t say much more. After the Dodger Stadium to collect donations funeral Pedro returned to rehab. His from fans lining up for games. They story, though, flipped a switch in my took to the streets to sell copies of a own mind. I realized what I’d been doing book I’d recently written. They called wrong—I’d been going around trying to newspapers and television stations and turn on lights for everyone in the proj- soon the place was swarming with reects when in fact all I porters. “Your terrific could do was aim the press person, Melissa, flashlight. I couldn’t called us,” a television save those kids. Only cameraman told me. God could save them. He meant a homeMy job was simply to girl who works in the point the way. tattoo-removal clinic My work changed and had never spoken after that. No more to the media before in bike patrols. No more her life. brokering truces. Donations trickled I focused more on in, then snowballed. Homeboy Industries In a few months we’d and made it clear to raised $3.5 million. Los kids that I was ready Angeles County gave to work with them us $1.3 million to serve PLACE OF PEACE HQ is in only when they were kids on probation. It’s a gang-neutral part of L.A. ready to work with still not enough. Our us. We sometimes businesses, staffed joke that our motto (“Nothing stops a almost entirely by homies, are selfbullet like a job”) should be changed to sustaining. But the rest of what we do “You just can’t disappoint us enough.” is slow, expensive work. So far we’ve But that doesn’t mean we let kids off the managed to put about a hundred people hook. If they slack off or drift back into back on the payroll. I have no idea what the life, we send them packing. We pray we’ll do come June, when the county hard they’ll come back. But in the end contract runs out. Still, I don’t despair. that’s their decision. God brought us this far and he’ll carry The day after the layoffs I arrived us along. I may be shining the flashat the office to find the place as noisy light and the homies may be flipping the and busy as ever. “We’re still work- switch. But it’s God who provides the ing,” the staff told me. “Maybe you’ll illumination. On Black Thursday and be able to pay us someday.” Pretty much every day.

“Nothing stops a e bullet li. k a job ”

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what Prayer can do p o w e r i n o u r d ay - t o - d ay l i v e s

Many Ways to Serve


hy couldn’t shop donations, the send-athey have asked me kid-to-camp program, the to do something I hospice support. They ought to know how to do? I thought as I pick a better secretary the next prepared to deliver the opening time, I thought when I handed prayer at my women’s group in my first set of notes. luncheon. I didn’t have much Then they gave me a third experience volunteering. As a job: helping the head cook busy professional I didn’t have prepare the food for our lunch a lot of time, but it seemed like WHAT IT MEANS meetings. That was the biggest I should be doing more for my TO VOLUNTEER challenge yet. I’m all thumbs church. I prayed on it and asked my in the kitchen. friend Jan to also. “Of course,” she said, How do they always manage to assign then added, “Our women’s group always the jobs hardest for me? I thought as I folneeds help.” lowed a recipe for orange gelatin salad. I I’d pictured myself serving meals was nervous when we all took our seats at a soup kitchen or bringing blankets at the table, but to my surprise my salad to homeless shelters. That I could do. didn’t collapse into mush. It looked Instead I wound up with a position as pretty good. It tasted even better. chaplain. Leading people in prayer was “We should have had you in the definitely not my forte. I cleared my kitchen months ago,” Jan said, taking a throat and nervously read out what I’d second helping. prepared. “Dear Lord, bless the work “I’m still not sure how you got me in we do here today…” The other women there at all,” I said. “How did you talk me didn’t seem to notice how dry my mouth into all this volunteering?” was. Or maybe they were just being “I didn’t,” Jan said. “Don’t you repolite. At least I got through it. member? You asked me to pray for God Saying prayers was easy compared to to use you any way he wished.” my next job: taking minutes. I’d never I had completely forgotten about my been any good at that. I combed through prayer. But God hadn’t. old records trying to learn the format -PEGGY EASTMAN and all the details: the church thriftChevy Chase, Maryland GOOD FRIDAY DAY OF PRAYER! Join us on April 22 for our 41st Good Friday Day of Prayer. May we pray for you? Send your prayer requests to Day of Prayer, P.O. Box 5813, Harlan, IA 51593– 1313, by phone at (845) 704–6080, 7:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. EST M–F, or online at


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inspired kitchen every recipe has a story

“To eat and drink and find satisfaction in all your toil—this is the gift of God.” —Ecclesiastes


68 Veggie Beef and Barley Soup


73 New

Mexican Flat Enchiladas abundant table

78 Edamame

Mark Greenberg

and Pasta with Feta

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Family Meals

Cook’s Delight

There’s nothing like soup to bring this military family together


y husband, Scott, is in the military and his career has kept us on the move. It isn’t easy packing up and leaving friends behind. I always pray that I will be able to make our new house a home. There is one thing I look forward to each time we move, and that’s unpacking my soup pot. It was a wedding gift, but I didn’t put it to good use until seven years ago. We were living in Pennsylvania then, 1,100 miles away from our family in Florida. Snow was piling up, I was pregnant with our first child and Scott was in bed with a cold. I wanted to do something to help him. I remembered that Mom always made chicken noodle soup from scratch when we were sick. But the only kind I’d ever made came out of a can. I picked up the phone. “Mom, Scott’s sick. Could you tell me how to make chicken soup?”


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“Sure. It’s easy,” came her reassuring voice. “Take out your big soup pot.” I dug the pot out of a cabinet. “Chop some onion and celery and sauté them in oil,” she said. She talked me through it. Chicken broth, chicken breasts, spices and noodles all followed in order as she finished her instructions. “I think I can do that,” I said. Before I knew it, there on the stove was my own steaming pot of homemade chicken noodle soup. I called Mom again. “Mom! I did it!” I said. She laughed. “Of course you did.” Scott loved the soup. “Thanks, that really was good!” he said. By that night, he was already feeling better. My success with the soup made me brave. I called Mom for more recipes. I started reading cookbooks and experi-

Photos by Mark Greenberg


SOUP FOR THE TROOPS Kendra and her kids stir up a batch of hearty veggie beef barley.

menting in the kitchen. By the following winter, I had become a soup expert. I even made soup for our daughter Ma­ kenna’s first solid food. It was a bowl of veggie beef and barley. “Yum,” I said, spooning a few soft carrots and barley pearls onto the tray table of her high chair. She squealed, devouring every morsel as fast as her chubby little fin­ gers could grab them. Three years later, when it was time for her twin sisters, Gabriella and Mattea, to eat their first

meal, the menu was never in doubt. They delightedly flung around carrots and barley. The dogs might have eaten more than they did. The same scene repeated itself a few years later when their brother, Caleb, had his first bowl of veggie beef and barley soup. Today when we make soup—which is often—the kids each have their stations. Makenna, seven, the sous chef, peels car­ rots and sautés the vegetables. Gabriella and Mattea, age five, wash the vegetables

Find more great stories and recipes at g u i d e p o s t s . o rg


Family Meals

Veggie Beef and Barley Soup

A hearty and delicious meal for a winter’s night. 2¹/³ cups water Kosher salt 1 cup rinsed pearl barley 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 medium onion, finely chopped 5 carrots, peeled and finely diced 3 stalks celery, finely diced (include leaves) ½ teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon ground black pepper 1½ pounds stew beef or steak cut into bite-size pieces 1 bay leaf 2 32-ounce containers organic beef broth 1 can petite diced tomatoes

This’ll warm you up inside!

Bring water and ¼ teaspoon salt to boil in medium saucepan. Add barley, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook on low heat for 45 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. In a large stockpot, over medium high heat, sauté onion, carrots and celery in oil until onions are translucent. Combine ½ teaspoon salt

with paprika, garlic powder and black pepper. Sprinkle spice mix over meat. Toss to coat. Brown meat in stockpot with vegetables. Pour beef broth into pot and add bay leaf. Bring to slow boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until meat is tender (approximately 30 minutes). Add in cooked barley and diced tomatoes, remove bay leaf and stir to combine. Serves 6 to 8.

and sprinkle spices. Two-year-old Caleb waits impatiently to be our official tastetester. I feel a little bit like a circus ringmaster. Before long the twins are sopping wet and we have food all over the place. It’s as much fun as a trip to the park. Our favorite soups come with their own special memories. Like the time we made Italian wedding soup for a friend deploying to Afghanistan, or for my sister when she brought my nephew home

from the hospital. The kids love to make Grandma Fiorello’s broccoli tomato soup because they enjoy hearing me tell how Gram would feed it to her family. We live so far away that we rarely get to visit Gram. But when we make her soup, it’s as if she’s there in the kitchen with us. See how my old soup pot makes the newest posting feel like home? It’s just one of the ways God fills our lives with blessings, no matter where we are.


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Comfort Food

Mama Chavez’s


Could a biscuits-andgravy girl find love and happiness with a tortillas-and-chilepeppers guy? By HARRIETTE CHAVEZ, GARLAND, TEXAS

Photos by Manny Rodriguez

credits go here like this


lorinda Chavez stared at me intently from her chair in the living room. She came from a New Mexican family with proud Spanish roots, and had some Old World formality about her. She’d raised seven children with her husband, Cristobal. I was about to marry their youngest, Frank. This was our first visit to his parents’ house since our engagement, and I tried to hide my nervousness. In the car earlier, I’d rehearsed answers to all the things Mr. and Mrs. Chavez could possibly ask. Now my future motherin-law leaned toward me. “How much do you love my son?” she asked. ¡MUY BUENO! Harriette and her husband, Frank, with his favorite dish g u i d e p o s t s . o rg


Comfort Food “I love him a whole lot,” I said. “Enough to marry him.” “Do you love him enough to give me one week of your life?” she asked. “Stay with me here. I will teach you how to cook his favorite dishes, and I’ll teach you about our family. Are you willing to do that before you marry my son?”


ow. I didn’t see that coming! Was this some kind of test? The few times I’d met his family, I could sense I wasn’t the girl they’d imagined him bringing home. I was a Southern California girl by way of Oklahoma and Mississippi, and didn’t speak a lick of Spanish. Frank wasn’t bothered at all by our different backgrounds. We’d become fast friends at work. Our relationship had deepened one night at an amusement park, when the roller coaster we were riding broke down. We were stuck at the top and I was terrified…until Frank kissed me. From then on, I hadn’t feared a thing with Frank at my side—except his parents. I wanted so badly for them to accept me. But living with them for a week? Was that really necessary? “Uh…sure,” I stammered. “I’d love for you to teach me to cook.” But I already know how to cook—good old Southern cooking taught by my mother and grandmother. What could I learn from his mom that I couldn’t from a cookbook? A few weeks later, Frank and I drove to his parents’ house again. Clorinda put Frank in his old room and set up the spare room for me.

I awoke the next morning to voices. Peaceful, poetic sounding…but way too early. I looked at the clock: 6 A.M. The voices came from Frank’s parents’ bedroom. I sat up. The walls were thin, so it wasn’t hard to make out the words. Frank’s father was reading a psalm. He finished and the two of them began praying for each member of their family. I heard the names of their adult children, their sons and daughters-in-law, their grandchildren. Would I soon join that prayer list? Depends how I do with the cooking, I joked to myself nervously. I got dressed and headed to the kitchen. “Ready for your first lesson?” Clorinda asked, pouring me a cup of coffee. On the counter were some potatoes and spices. “Today we make papas fritas,” she said. “Potatoes fried with onion, gar­ lic, chile powder, and salt and pepper.” With Clorinda, it was always a dash of this, a pinch of that. She’d been making these dishes for so long, she didn’t need a written recipe. It was hard to keep things straight. Still, the more we cooked, the more I learned. She showed me how to cook the best refried beans I’d ever had—a recipe passed down from her mother. She taught me how to make the tamales that were a family Christmas tradition. Next up were New Mexican “flat” enchiladas with a sauce made from dried chile pods—Frank’s favorite. I was lucky to have Frank, his mother said, because he was the only male in her house who ever helped in the kitchen. One day I bought a set of measuring cups and spoons, so I could translate

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New Mexican Flat Enchiladas

This traditional dish can be as spicy or as mild as you like. Enchilada Sauce ¹/³ cup chile powder (New Mexican, if possible) 1 cup cold water 1 16-ounce can tomato sauce 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped ½ teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon coriander 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon salt

Put all ingredients in large saucepan and stir until well mixed. Simmer on low for 15 minutes. Adding more tomato sauce will give a milder flavor. Note: For more traditional sauce, use 12 cascabel chile pods instead of the chile powder. Remove stems and some of the seeds. (The more seeds you leave in the pods, the hotter the sauce will be.) Place pods in saucepan with 6 cups boiling water and 1 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 1 hour. Blend softened chiles and balance of ingredients on high in blender for 5 minutes. Enchiladas 1 pound tender steak, pork or chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes 4 tablespoons cooking oil for frying 1 clove garlic, minced Salt and pepper to taste Enchilada sauce 1 dozen white corn tortillas ½ pound Mexican blend grated cheese ½ head lettuce, shredded 1 onion, finely chopped (optional) 4 eggs

A fried egg is the finishing touch to a “flat” enchilada.

Brown meat in 1 tablespoon oil with garlic, salt and pepper. Reheat enchilada sauce if necessary and add cooked meat to sauce. Heat remaining oil and fry all tortillas about a minute each side (tortillas should be soft, not crisp). Drain on paper towels. Fry eggs over easy. Layer one tortilla, about ¼ cup sauce and some shredded cheese; repeat with second layer. For top layer add tortilla, sauce, shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, chopped onion (if desired) and top with egg. Serves 4. Note: The enchilada sauce can stain counters, clothing, plastic bowls, so be careful with spills. g u i d e p o s t s . o rg


Comfort Food Clorinda’s memorized amounts. The teacup she used for dry ingredients was equal to seven-eighths of a cup. Her pinch of baking soda was one teaspoon. I was getting the hang of things…but had I won her over yet? “Today we make tortillas,” she announced one morning. Tortillas were as important as biscuits are to Southern cuisine. Mixing the dough was easy. Then she took a ball of it in her hands and rolled it out into a perfectly round tortilla. Seemed simple enough. I copied her motions…and came out with an oblong. I tried again. Even worse—this one looked like a map of the United States! I looked up sheepishly at her. Clorinda laughed. “Honey,” she said, putting her arm around me, “the only way you’re ever going to get round tortillas is to roll out the dough, put a saucer on top and cut around it with a knife!” Now I laughed too. “I think you’re right,” I said. By the end of the week I could make all of Frank’s favorites. Clorinda even opened up about how she and Chris started their mornings. “It’s important to cover your family every day with prayers,” she said. “It helps you worry less about them.” Now her family included me. Clorinda only expected one thing from the girl Frank brought home: that she’d be willing to continue the traditions his family held dear. And I have. I taught my children Clorinda’s recipes. I’ve taught my daughters-in-law also. Not just her recipe for enchiladas, but for a happy marriage too. g u i d e p o s t s . o rg


abundant table


h e a lt h y f o o d f o r b o dy a n d s ou l

“Thank you, Lord, for your blessings, this food and your ever-constant love.”

Edamame and Pasta with Feta Easy to prepare, delicious to eat and diabetes-friendly!

4 ounces uncooked whole-grain penne or rotini pasta 8 ounces fresh or frozen shelled edamame 1½ cups sweet grape tomatoes, quartered 16 pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves, or 2 teaspoons dried ½ teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crumbled (optional) 1 medium clove of garlic, minced ¹/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (optional) 1 medium lemon, halved (optional) 2 ounces crumbled reduced-fat feta


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ook pasta according to package directions, omitting any salt or fats and adding the edamame during the last two minutes of cooking time. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, olives, basil, rosemary, garlic and pepper flakes. Toss to blend and set aside. Drain pasta and edamame in a colander, place on serving platter or in pasta bowl, squeeze lemon over all, top with feta, and mound the tomato mixture in the center. Serves 4. (Diabetic exchanges/choices: 2 starch, 1 lean meat, 1 fat)

Reprinted with permission from 15-Minute Diabetic Meals, by Nancy Hughes. Copyright © 2010 by the American Diabetes Association

–From Mary Lou Reed, Torrance, California

family room

meet the people in our pages

DEMARTINO Craig and his family on the Cache La Poudre River in Colorado

George Parrish


raig DeMartino is still climbing despite his Fall to Grace (page 34). Six months after doctors amputated his right leg below the knee, Craig became the first amputee to scale El Capitan in California’s Yosemite National Park—and he did it in less than 24 hours! “I’m climbing at levels equal to or even better than before the accident,” he says. Craig has also produced a DVD, The Gripping Point: Six Sessions on Finding Hope in Times of Pain, and has been giving speeches across the country to help others find ways to manage their pain. “Remember: The pain you are in today is just that—today. It’s not the rest of

your life. It will pass,” he says. “It’s also important to keep moving. The more active I am, the better I feel, and I think God made us that way.” The entire DeMartino family likes to stay active in the great outdoors. Craig, his wife, Cyndy, and their two children, Mayah, 12, and Will, 10, often go climbing and camping together. “One of our favorite places is Avalon in Boulder Canyon, Colorado,” says Craig. “There’s one spot where you have to cross the river on a rope that’s suspended above the water—the kids never tire of it.” Learn more about Craig and order his DVD The Gripping Point at grippingpoint. g u i d e p o s t s . o rg


Family Room he Emmy Awardas long as there’s a sense w i n n i n g a c t re s s of love and togetherness Patricia Heaton (Double in your home.” Patricia, Blessings, page 28) stars who has four sons with as a Midwestern mom her husband, actor Daof three on the family vid Hunt, says her key to comedy The Middle, and juggling work and famit’s a role that’s close to ily is to keep laughing. home, literally. She grew “Things can go wrong up in Bay Village, Ohio. every day despite all “I’m thrilled about the your best-laid plans, so show! It represents hardit’s essential to keep your working middle-class sense of humor about people,” she says. “It also HEATON Patricia and David everything.” Associate focuses on the fact that Editor Nicole Lorimer you can’t burden yourself with the idea met up with Patricia in Los Angeles. “She that everything has to be perfect. It’s couldn’t have been more gracious,” says not whether you have planned the most Nicole. “She even invited me to church amazing dinner or always look fabulous, with her, where her oldest son plays guitar in the band—he was fantastic!”

WOLPERT Award-winning craft maker


think I’ve tried just about every craft in existence,” says Jill Wolpert (Patchwork Reunion, page 54). Jill quilts, spins and dyes wool, weaves, sews, knits and crochets. Her spinning has earned


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her a number of awards, including a first place prize from the National Angora Rabbit Breeders Club. (She is also a member of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen.) “I’ve never entered any of my quilts in a competition, but perhaps it’s time.” Jill’s latest interest? Working with stained glass. She recently made a window in the shape of the Tree of Life. “I call it ‘quilting with glass,’” she says. If you enjoy quilting as much as Jill, check out Guideposts Books’ most popular new series, Patchwork Mysteries. It’s about Sarah Hart, a quilter who solves all kinds of mysteries. In the first book, Family Patterns, Sarah discovers an heirloom quilt that may be the answer to a mystery that’s plagued her family for generations. To order Family Patterns visit

LEFT: Top: AP Images / Tammie Arroyo; Bottom: Jeff Schultz; Right: Courtesy Bo Caldwell.


CALDWELL Out on the town with family


o Caldwell’s grandfather left his family a memoir about the time he and her grandmother spent as missionaries in China (Should You Walk Through Fire, page 48). Bo says it was an invaluable resource for her when she wrote her second novel, City of Tranquil Light. The main characters were inspired by her grandparents, and the book reflects their love for one another


hat did stationery designer and maven of manners Chandra Greer (It Starts with Thank You, page 44) do after we contacted her about her story? She sent us a thank-you card, of course! Chandra wrote: “On my journey to founding my company I read Dr. Peale’s books The Power of Positive Thinking and You Can If You Think You Can. I never dreamed I’d be a part of his magazine.” Chandra and her husband, Steve, have two daughters, Maya and Eva, who are creative too. “They make cards for Steve and me to thank us for taking them on trips.” Check out Chandra’s store, Greer, at greer

and their dedication to a foreign country and some of its poorest people in a time of war and famine. “I hope readers see joy in the story,” says Bo. “Even though loss becomes a more frequent companion as we age, we can still live useful and happy lives. God is still good.” Bo, who has been given a clean bill of health, is married to novelist Ron Hansen and has two children, Scotty and Kate, who are in graduate schools on the East Coast. Every morning Bo starts the day by going on a prayer walk with the family’s English lab, Maggie. You can find City of Tranquil Light in bookstores.

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Last year more than

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h ow a s t o ry m a d e a d i f f e r e n c e Where the Heart Is


really appreciated Elizabeth Sherrill’s article about the tough time she and her husband had moving out of the house they’d lived in for 50 years (Our House, January 2010) because my husband, John, and I are facing the same dilemma. Our house in Indianapolis has been our home for 43 years. We raised two kids here. Now our children have moved and started families of their own. John and I would like to live closer to our kids and grandkids, but we know that means we’ll have to say goodbye to the place we’ve called home for more than four decades. The thought of leaving not just our house, but also our church and our friends, and especially our beloved Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, has always felt like it would be too much to bear. I finished reading the story and I felt a peace I hadn’t known before. I tore the article from the magazine and tacked it up on my bulletin board. It’s a daily reminder that others are handling similar change with great faith and courage. When the time comes, I’ll reread Our House with my husband and pray for God’s comfort. Then

maybe we can move on as gracefully as the Sherrills did. -PATRICIA WALWORTH WOOD

Indianapolis, Indiana

Get a Lift, Give a Lift


never like to throw away an issue of GUIDEPOSTS. For years, I have been sharing my magazines at my daughter’s occupational-therapy office. My daughter has autism, and like most parents of children with special needs, I have spent countless hours in therapy waiting rooms. I bring my GUIDEPOSTS with me to pass the time and often leave it behind. Caring for a child with special needs can be hard work, and it is easy to get discouraged when you see your child struggling. On bad days, I’ll pick out one Up Side quote to focus on and write it down or put it on my desk at work. It always gives me the extra lift that I need. These days, my daughter doesn’t go to therapy as often, but I still drop my old issues of GUIDEPOSTS at the therapy office. Everyone can use a boost in hope and spirits, and that’s just what GUIDEPOSTS and those Up Side quotes do. -KAREN JACKSON

Norfolk, Virginia

GUIDEPOSTS® invites but cannot be responsible for unsolicited manuscripts. We cannot be responsible for returning manuscripts. Mail to GUIDEPOSTS, 16 East 34 Street, New York, NY 10016. GUIDEPOSTS® (ISSN 0017-5331) is published monthly by Guideposts, 39 Seminary Hill Road, Carmel, NY 10512. Periodical postage paid at Carmel, NY, and additional mailing offices. Canadian mailed under Publications Mail Agreement Number 40010140, Canadian GST #893989236. Copyright © 2010 by Guideposts, all rights reserved. Volume 65, No. 12. Printed in U.S.A. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to Guideposts, P.O. Box 5814, Harlan, IA 51593–1314. CANADA POST: Send address changes to GUIDEPOSTS, P.O. Box 1051, Fort Erie, ON L2A 6C7. GUIDEPOSTS is a registered trademark.

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