From Bleachers, to Balls, to Bibles (What’s a Word-Loving Mama to Do?)

Silver metal bleachers shine in the sun, and tap hollow staccatos with each step. Moms and dads in sunglasses call kids closer, and one mom races to scoop a preschooler down from his high perch.

“That’s not safe,” she says, slipping her hands under a flower-eye-patched blonde boy’s arm pits, his head and shoulders leaning ponderously over the high chain link fence.

Green turfed soccer field lies fifteen feet below us. Fifty-sixty students, from six years old to high school, are being divided by ages and then led off to different corners of the field, their soccer balls tucked under an arm or dribbled alongside. Daniel’s sleeveless navy and red shirt gets further away, and I can just make out his whitening brown head and red zebra striped soccer ball. His shoulders look relaxed and I take my leave.

Nodding and smiling at strangers, I trip down metal steps, catching myself awkwardly, thankfully, in a flash. A slight breeze rattles and clanks the flag pole, and the sunlight feels warm, happy, on my face. 

Dew-dripped grass sparkles, and then turns soggy, heavy, in the ditch from the weekend’s rains. Tall maple and oak trees throw shade across the lot. Two rows of silver SUVs and minivans look like a row of round metal beetle butts, and I grin to myself.

Twisting my car’s ignition floods the car with a rasping pirate’s summary of a blockade battle. They reload muskets and stack cutlasses before I can click pause to save the story for when my son is in the car with me. Louis’s Treasure Island freezes mid-battle.

My loud muffler rumbles accompaniment past university buildings, a radio tower, and nursing homes, before coughing to silence in a small coffee shop lot. Hot coffee, and a smooth rolling pen. A Bible and note paper.

Three tall Franke black and chrome machines burr six canisters of coffee beans. Grinding, pulsing and the rhythmic thump, thump, thump of an espresso tamper being knocked out are soothing music to the right of me. Hot sunshine bathes square honey-colored tables in heat, and I shed green jacket, and soon uncoil long brown scarf, pushing up sleeves.

Hi, God, thank you for sunshine, for spring’s beauty, for this time away. Please teach me? Unzipping red Bible case, I slide coffee cup over, and pull open God’s word.

Just this last Saturday? My daughter and I in opposite corners of the house had been reading our Bibles and talking to God, scrawling pens across journals. Not long after, Morgan had raced up the stairs to find me.

“Can I tell you what I learned?!” she had asked, air still catching up in her lungs from excitement and the two flights of stairs.


She spoke of olive trees, the details bubbling out of her, and spiritual analogies from time in God’s word leaking all over.

“Wait! I’ve been reading about a tree in God’s word too,” I said. “Look!”

“What?! Me too!” Morgan exclaimed. Pointing to our journals and to God’s word, we had chattered and spoken over each other.

“Wow, thanks, God,” we’d both said aloud in stereo timing, and then we had laughed self-consciously.

Today in a bustling coffee shop, I grin again, remembering, and pull my Bible closer, curious to see what God will do today.

Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power…” 

I copy the verses across lined paper, grinning at God.  “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” 

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  1. Helen on May 22, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    I love this. Good to hear from you again.

  2. Jennifer Dougan on May 22, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    Hi Helen,

    Thanks for stopping by. How are you?

    Jennifer Dougan

  3. Bill (cycleguy) on May 23, 2019 at 11:10 am

    I echo Helen's comment jennifer. I had actually taken you out of my Feedly because I thought you were done blogging. So glad you came by my Cycleguy's Spin site. Busy family huh? But not too busy to hear from God and His Word. So glad that has not changed. Hope you and the family are doing well. I know it has been a tough season for you emotionally but I pray God has been sufficient for all your needs. As for me, I'm going well. Staying extremely busy but loving it. Still cycling (when it isn't raining as it is right now and has been for I think 40 days and 40 nights). Slight exaggeration. 🙂 I do have another blog I am writing in daily. It is a devotional one called Living in the Shadow. Anyway, glad to hear you are doing well. It is good to have you back. And I have put you back in my Feedly so I will always get your new posts. 🙂

  4. Lisa notes... on May 24, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord." Sounds like you and your household are doing this, Jennifer. Good to see you back!

  5. floyd on May 25, 2019 at 2:49 am

    Your life stories always read like poetry and us, the readers, peaking over your shoulder. It's a beautiful life. And I appreciate how you count the big and small victories along the way.

    Blessings to you and yours.

  6. Cheryl Barker on May 31, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    Jennifer, so cool when God does something like that, isn't it? And super cool that you and your daughter are sharing a love for God's Word together. What a blessing!

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