The Secret to Meeting the Most Fascinating People

in loving memory of Marie Bobola

susan pic1My friend Susan is a small but spunky, pebble-throwing prayer warrior whose hat collection rivals Princess Diana’s. She often shows up at our Monday prayer meetings colorfully accessorized from head to toe. But as much as I adore Susan’s fashion statements, it’s the statements of her heart that have rippled their way into my blog today.

susan pic5Three words stood out as Susan shared one morning about her recent trip home: purple poker chips. Susan’s 92-year-old mom, Marie, used to love to play bingo. At Marie’s assisted living home, Susan noticed that some residents were playing bingo using special chips. But her mom was playing with generic markers. She made a mental note to buy Marie a set of purple markers, her mom’s favorite color. Later, after hours of searching the internet to find just the right ones for her mom, she purchased a set of purple poker chips. Her mom was overjoyed to have her own set of signature chips to mark her bingo board each day.

During Susan’s time at the assisted living home, two sweet ladies took a very specific interest in her. The hours she spent listening and laughing with Geneva and Madeline left a strong impression—so strong that the retelling of it brought tears to Susan’s eyes. God richly blessed her that day as she soaked in quality time with an often overlooked generation.

Two short weeks after Susan’s visit, Marie took her final earthly breaths. Susan was beyond grateful for the moments she’d spent with her mom and for the seemingly small ripple of her poker chip gift.

waterSmall things done with love matter. They’re what pebble throwing is all about. Gestures of love shown to the next generation—whether that generation is behind us (our children) or ahead of us (our parents and grandparents)—are significant in kingdom terms. Why? Because Jesus said so. He taught His disciples that even a single cup of water given in His name yields kingdom rewards. Perhaps our Savior would say the same about the gift of purple poker chips.

A few weeks ago, I was checking out at Walmart behind a senior couple. The purple poker chips rippled into my mind. I smiled and greeted the husband, who replied with a few pleasantries. The cashier paged a manager for a price check and in the process, we were faced with a wait.

As we killed time chatting, I was struck by the couple’s wit and charm. I discovered that the husband was an author who had published a highly valuable civil war history book. I looked him up on Amazon when I got home and his antique book is currently priced at several hundred dollars!

cell phone

photo credit: Osman Kalkavan

I often forget about the rich tapestry of stories and contributions the older generation holds. I swoosh past fascinating people as I check my twitter feed in the grocery line, while the Susans of the world search high and low for purple poker chips.

Join me in tossing some pebbles with a generation who has treasure to offer if only we’ll slow down long enough to listen. Who knows what holy introduction might occur with a simple smile and hello? The most fascinating people are out there, just waiting to meet you.

If you’ve been a silent reader, thanks for stopping by. Please join our community by leaving a comment below.

1 Big Thing 3 Little Girls Did to Make their Neighbors Talk

Pebble throwers come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Three pint-sized pebble throwers live right around the corner from me. They got busy tossing pebbles that rippled good into their community through a neighborhood library.

freelibrary1My friend, Kim, and her three elementary-school-aged daughters set up a book sharing program right outside their front door. The “Little Free Library” builds community among their neighbors, provides a rewarding family project, and increases the girls’ motivation to read.

Last year, Kim told her neighbor about her dream of building a weatherproof structure to house and share books. As God would have it, her neighbor Cami had a beautifully constructed book shed she wasn’t using and offered it to Kim.

Their conversation extended the ripple effect of a pebble thrown by Cami’s dad.

  • Cami’s father used his gift of woodworking to build a mini library for his daughter’s use.
  • After she finished using the handcrafted bookcase, Cami recycled it by gifting it to her neighbor, Kim.
  • Kim’s passion for reading and community-building rippled into her daughters.

and finally . . .

  • Kim’s daughters shared it with their neighborhood.

Plus, Kim’s family experienced an Ephesians 3:20 wave of blessing when they discovered that the donated library was stocked with Gideon Bibles (from Cami’s dad) and other books for Kim’s girls to share.

freelibrary2croppedKim beams joy at the mention of the mini library. “I love when children and parents visit the library to choose and donate books.  Neighbors hang out and chat while their kids browse.  And the best part is that little hands can manage it.  The girls take turns organizing the books and enjoy discovering new additions others donate. A small collection of children’s books has grown to a larger collection, including an adult shelf and a DVD library.  All seem to truly enjoy it!”

pile-of-booksIf you, or another pebble thrower you know, would like to join in the fun, simply visit The Little Free Library website.  The Little Free Library program was birthed to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide. Did you know that there are over 32,000 Little Free Library book exchanges around the world where more than one million books are shared annually?

That’s a lot of ripples!

Do you know any pint-sized pebble throwers? I’d love to hear your stories of how they are changing the world, one pebble—or book—at a time. Do share with a comment below…