PRAYER WARRIOR: SPIRITUAL STRENGTH TRAINING ~ 2nd Cup of Coffee, 7/20/22 –

A Prayer For The Holy Spirit’s Daily Presence

Loving Heavenly Father, I approach You through the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. I desire to obey Your will by being invincibly strong through Your Holy Spirit’s enabling and energizing power. I praise You for your goodness in providing the Holy Spirit for my benefit and strengthening. Thank you for the day when the Holy Spirit convicted me of my need of Your salvation; I praise You that He enabled me to open my heart to the Lordship of Jesus and Your saving grace.

Holy Spirit, I acknowledge You directly as God, the third person of the Trinity, and I welcome Your presence in my heart and life right now. It is with expectancy that today I receive Your peace, comfort, and illumination of my mind, enabling me to understand the Holy Scriptures You inspired men to write. I greatly rejoice in Your identifying work, by which You show in my life the unmistakable marks of a follower of Jesus Christ. I confidently rest in the assurance that You are always by my side as I walk by faith in God and obey His Word. I praise You, Holy Spirit, that You have brought me to spiritual life, and that one day Your power will raise me, just as it did my Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.

As I pray, Holy Spirit of Heaven, I am increasingly aware of my need of Your intercession in me, through me, and for me. I thank You for the privilege of interceding with You for others in accordance with your direction [Romans 8:26-27]. Instruct me as I practice Your personal presence. May my thoughts and words be directed by You. Holy Spirit, carry my needs into the presence of the Father, because You have perfect understanding of my real needs, and of God’s will for me.

I acknowledge Your plan and desire to fill and direct me daily, Holy Spirit. Help me develop an increasing sensitivity to Your voice. I desire never to grieve You. Enable me to receive more perfectly the victory You have provided for me to walk above sin, spiritual failure, and defeat. Should I foolishly or unwittingly allow spiritual weakness to the point of sin, Holy Spirit, bring me quickly to an awareness of that sin. Help me see it for what it is, admit it, and immediately repent of it, so God through Christ can forgive and cleanse me [1 John 1:5-9]. I do not want to quench You or your work in me by any reluctance to submit fully to Your working in my life. Holy Spirit, it’s my constant desire to walk in Your presence and live according to Your guidance. Help me walk in Your purity and holiness today.

Though it may hurt and embarrass me, expose to me my tendency to rationalize or justify my habits, stubborn attitudes, and secret, selfish desires that wage constant war against my spirit [1 Peter 2:11]. I ask You, Holy Spirit, to answer my deepest needs right now with Your holy refining fire. I seek deliverance from anything You want to remove You know isn’t good for me whether it makes sense to me or not, and I submit to Your purifying search to expose and convict of that which is displeasing to God. I ask You now, Holy Spirit, to fill me with Your energizing power that You might be glorified in me today. When others look at me, I want them to sense Your personal Presence in me. In the name of Jesus, AMEN.

Categories: Inspirational | Leave a comment

PRAYER WARRIOR: SPIRITUAL STRENGTH TRAINING ~ 2nd Cup of Coffee, 7/8/22

Claiming My Position With Christ

-3-

Loving Heavenly Father, I’ve come to see that it is Your will that I be invincibly strong in spiritual warfare. I praise You that You have placed me “in Christ” [Eph. 1:3]. By faith I express my desire to abide in the protection and blessing of the mighty name of the Lord Jesus Christ [Psa. 91:1]. I pray the omnipotence of His name over my family and the plan You have for my life. I pray the name of the Lord Jesus against Satan and all that his kingdom wants to do to hinder Your plan for my life.

I focus my prayer on my union with Christ in His physical appearing. I joyfully confess Jesus Christ has come in human flesh to win my victory for me. I pray all the triumphs the Lord Jesus achieved in His humanity against all Satan’s subtle tricks and deceit. I pray the victories of His physical appearing over all areas of my life today.

I praise You, O God, for the cross and death of my Lord Jesus Christ, desiring all the benefits of His death and resurrection to focus on my life, my family, and His working through me. I affirm that my death with Christ can defeat the control and rule of sin, of death, and of Satan [Rom. 6:8-11]. I desire the shed blood of Jesus Christ to be against all that Satan is doing to hinder me.

I hunger to learn more deeply what it means to experience the power of His resurrection [Phil. 3:10-11]. Just as I desire to be dead to sin’s reign, so I long to live with the truth that I am alive unto God through the power of Jesus’s resurrection. In that limitless power that raised up Christ from death, enable me to walk in the newness of life available to me.

Heavenly Father, it will always remain a marvel to me that You have seated me with Christ in the Heavenly realm, far above ALL spiritual powers [Eph. 1:18-21, 2:6]. I use the authority of my union with Christ to pull down all of Satan’s plans formed against me, against my family, and against all his evil schemes formed to oppose Your appointed plan for my life.

Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ, that in Your glorified position at God’s right hand, You are leading Your church and shepherding Your sheep. I deliberately submit to Your Lordship over my life. I acknowledge that everything that is good about my life, my home, and my relationships is because of Your Lordship and gracious blessing. By faith I claim my right to be invincibly strong and victorious in Your complete salvation [Rom. 8:31-39]. I refuse to be discouraged any longer than it takes for You through Your Holy Spirit to remind of Who You are, and who I am in You. I reject all emotions that make me feel defeated. I choose to live as one who is more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ my Lord.

In His name I pray these things with thanksgiving. AMEN.

Categories: Encouragement, Inspirational | Leave a comment

PRAYER WARRIOR: SPIRITUAL STRENGTH TRAINING ~ 2nd Cup of Coffee, 6/24/22

Focused On God

-2-

Loving Heavenly Father, enable me to keep all things within the perspective of Your Sovereignty. Grant to me the wisdom to know the fierceness of the battle is NOT evidence of defeat. Help me to thank and praise You for Your purpose in every phase of the battle. Use all of it to refine me, strengthen me, and to build my faith in You.

Grant to me the insight and understanding to know my victory. I desire that the roots of my assurance of victory would go down deeply into the essential, great doctrines of Your Word. I want to see myself as being invincibly strong through my union with Jesus Christ, through the Person, work, and total effectiveness of Your Holy Spirit, through the total effectiveness of Your provided armor, and through the equally limitless potency of believing prayer. Teach me how to take for myself MY victory in a practical, daily manner.

These things I ask in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Categories: Encouragement, Inspirational | Leave a comment

PRAYER WARRIOR: SPIRITUAL STRENGTH TRAINING ~ 2nd Cup of Coffee, 6/22/22

Dear Fellow Believer: consider this series of morning exercises a spiritual aerobic session with God. If you read them back to back in one setting, it will take you about 30 minutes to pray and think your way through these paragraphs. Should you choose to focus on one lesson for several days, obviously it will take longer. Whichever you decide, I’m suggesting you first pray your way through the entire series in one sitting to get the progression of them in your mind and spirit. After that, how you use them is up to you. The point is not a strict regimen or grim duty; it’s to use this series of prayer statements of faith to strengthen yours.

I’ve had these in one form or another for over 40 years; I’ve edited and made literary corrections here and there across that time to keep them contemporary and effective. I’ve no idea who the original author was, so have no idea to whom to offer credit. All I know is that in their original form way back when, they were not my work. Therefore, feel free to copy and use them for your own spiritual growth. That was and remains their sole purpose. My prayer for you is that they will be as powerful a stimulus to your personal walk with God as they have been for me.

As you pray each day, you’ll begin to sense a deepening dependence to spend this time every day alone with God. You’ll also find your spiritual power developing, and your ability to intercede for others will grow as well. The power, energy, and promises come from God. The discipline to continue these prayer lessons until they become a habit is up to you.

– 1 –

The Prayer of Victory

Sovereign God, I praise you that Satan is a defeated enemy. I rejoice that his defeat as because of the Lord Jesus Christ in His sinless life, His death, burial and resurrection – and His ascent into Glory. I look forward to the day when the Lord Jesus Christ rules while Satan, the Adversary, is bound in the bottomless pit. I know Satan will ultimately be condemned forever to the lake of fire prepared for him and those angels foolish enough to follow him when he challenged Your ultimate authority. I rejoice that because of my union with the Lord Jesus Christ, You have given me the ability to walk in complete victory over Satan today.

I aggressively enter into my victory and claim my place as more than a conqueror through Him who loves me. I refuse to allow continuing defeat in any area of my life. I am not required to put up with Satan’s bullying. He cannot and will not rule over me. I am dead with Christ to Satan’s influence and rule, and I affirm that the grace and mercy of God rule in all areas of my life through my union with Jesus Christ. Grant to me the grace to affirm Your victory even when experiences of life seem to say otherwise.

I thank You, O God, for the battle I am fighting right now, and for all that You in Your wisdom and design are seeking to accomplish in my life. I accept the battle and rejoice in Your purpose for it. I willingly accept and desire to profit from Your purpose in letting Satan’s kingdom get at me. I reject ALL of Satan’s purposes. Through the victory of my Lord and Savior I stand resolute and strong upon the certainty of my victory. In confidence I look to You, Lord Jesus Christ. You have never failed and never will. When Your purpose for this trial is fulfilled, I know it will fade into the dimness of forgotten battles and a defeated enemy.

Through the precious name of the Lord Jesus Christ, it shall be so. Amen.

Categories: Inspirational | Leave a comment

A Spring 2nd Cup: 8 FIGHTS YOU NEED TO PICK WITH YOUR KIDS – 4/20/22

G’morning; come on in. There’s fresh-brewed Cameron’s Jamaican Blend right there. Help yourself and have a seat. That’s Vince Ingala on sax in the background. Relax a bit with me; I’ve something to run past you.

I recently read again parenting is the last refuge of the rank amateur. Anyone with two or more little ones will vigorously nod. A friend passed something along I feel needs broader reach and I’m including it here.

This was both helpful and challenging. Parenting at the best of times is hard. Especially considering all the butting in from every possible direction over 2020 – 2021 trying to yell in your ears how to raise your children – or just let them do it – parenting is a real challenge.

It seems some days every interaction with your kids turns into a fight. Wise parents soon learn they have to choose their battles. Here are 8 fights worth picking with your kids

8 Fights You Need To Pick And Win With Your Kids


The Reading Fight: Make your kids read. Reading is tied to everything from cognitive development to the ability to focus. Spend any time around a friend who says, “Oh, I’m not a reader.” Observe them. Listen to the level of their conversations and interests. Make sure your little ones see you reading, and often. Make your kids read now, so they’ll want to read later.

The Outside Fight: Make your kids go outside. The natural world teaches us things. Plus, outside there’s sunshine, fresh air, and exercise waiting for them. Take them for neighborhood walks, and to local parks. Do things outside with them. Have them ‘help’ you with outside yardwork, learning by watching and mimicking you. Most importantly, help your kids learn at an early age nature is full of things in short supply in our world: Discovery, wonder, peace, and joy.

The Work Fight: Make your kids work. Make your kids WORK. I’m saddened by how many parents don’t require their kids to lift a finger at home. There are priceless life principles you can only learn with a cleaning rag, a mop, a shovel, or a lawnmower in your hand. Let sweat be their teacher. Of course they’ll balk. No kid wants to do chores, even the ones wanting to please and suck up to you. Again, let them see you doing it, and make it clear: you’re showing them how so they can help. Keep chores age-appropriate, but never, EVER let your kids lay around being electronically-babysat. Always come up with helpful, wholesome ways to reward them for a good job – but only things each child loves, and only if they earn it.

The Meal Fight: Make your kids eat with you as a family. Yes, it’s a discipline, which means you have to do it with them. Our lives are a blur of incessant activity. Meals together are a physical pause to recover a truth so easily sacrificed at the altar of busyness – and, trust me, your busyness, no matter the reason, will ring hollow for both you and your kids once they’re up and gone. Nothing’s more important than family.

The Boredom Fight: Make your kids live with boredom. Don’t show a DVD on each car ride. Kids need unscheduled time. And, odd as it sounds, boredom is a skill. It’s hard as a parent to deal with the assault of boredom complaints. But if you give in and fill up their time with external stimuli, you’ll raise an activity addict. Make them learn more than constant doing; make them learn how to be. This can be addressed along with The Outside Fight.

The “Me First” Fight: Make your kids learn to go last. No – not every time for everything. But teach that lesson enough for them to remember the world doesn’t revolve around them. Again, model this in front of your kids. Take the smallest piece. Give up the remote. Do someone else’s chores, taking the one they hate the most. They won’t like it, but this is a lesson in respect they’ll need throughout life.

The Awkward Conversation Fight: Make your kids have uncomfortable conversations with you. Sex, dating, body image, moral, social, and spiritual values…Your kids will roll their eyes and resist. You will stumble and stutter. That’s normal. Your kids need and want your perspective, the lessons you’ve learned, and wisdom that came through those lessons – good and not so good. Rule of thumb: if your child is capable of asking an intelligent question, they deserve a reasonable, age-and-experience-appropriate answer.

The Limitation Fight: Make your kids learn to set boundaries. Learning to live within limits is a valuable life skill. In fact, many adult problems arise from an inability to accept them. Screen-time limits, dietary limits, activity limits, and schedule limits are all good. Once again, the best way to teach your sons and daughters how to set limits – boundaries – and live by them is for them to observe you doing it. It’s also a great idea to explain why you’ve set those boundaries for yourself, and how they are helping you. Remember: these are lessons for a lifetime.

As a parent, you have to pick your battles – and the sooner you start, the better the outcome. The pros say begin between your kids’ ages of 2-3.

As a parent, you do have to pick your battles. They’re not easy and you must be in it for the long haul, but they’re worth the fight. After all, your kids will one day be frightfully like you.

Give ’em a fighting chance.

© Copyright D. Dean Boone, April 2022

Categories: Inspirational | Leave a comment

THE AYES OF MARCH: An Easter 2nd Cup of Coffee, 3/31/2022

We were singing, “And on the third at break of dawn the Son of Heaven rose again. O trampled death, where is your sting? The angels roar for Christ the King! O PRAISE THE NAME OF THE LORD OUR GOD! O PRAISE HIS NAME FOREVERMORE! FOR ENDLESS DAYS WE WILL SING YOUR PRAISE . . .” (O Praise The Name (Anastasis) lyrics © Hillsong Music Publishing Australia) – Source: Musixmatch

Considering the power and capability of one angel according to Bible accounts, what must it be like to hear them all roaring in praise of their risen King of kings?

Considering the power and capability of one angel according to Bible accounts, what must it be like to hear them all roaring in praise of their risen King of kings? Their Commander-in-chief?

Would it compare to the perfect harmonies of the sky-cramming millions in Heaven’s choir when Jesus first came to Earth? Luke tells us it was a HUGE angelic choir, complete with Universe-filling sound and a light show that would induce stunned awe to any tech team on Earth.

Remember the last time you watched a video of an online megachurch’s worship? Did you notice how, as cameras panned across the congregation, some would be actively engaged in worship, while those around them were spectators until they realized they were on TV? The reactions were varied, yet it seemed plain: those men and women had allowed something to impede their connection with what they were singing and why – or more correctly, to and for Whom.

We’ve all caught ourselves doing that. Life has always had its quirks and challenges, and that’s never been truer than right here on April’s front porch in 2022. This isn’t meant to poke at or shame anyone, for the Church has found itself hard pressed to minister during the last two years of all sorts of conflicting information, edicts, and demands from every direction. Pastors and people alike have been working to keep up with ways to promote Christ’s Gospel and keep getting The Word out where it’s needed.

My purpose for posting these thoughts is simple. From week to week as we gather to worship – especially during this Lenten season – remember why you’re there. It shouldn’t take the baleful, impersonal stare of a videocamera to pull a response from you. And if it did, it wouldn’t be real, would it?

And no–most of us don’t have cameras positioned to pan across the seats of our churches to live-stream ‘out there’. Nor in my opinion should we. It’s one thing to have them showing the backs of those attending. It’s quite another to have them set to be recording from the front. To me, that smacks of nothing more than what we’d experience at ball games.

That doesn’t mean somebody’s not observing us as we gather and worship.

First, your pastoral team who has put in long hours praying over and preparing that week’s services is paying attention. Whether being prayed, preached, sung, or taught, your ministry team notices a lot more than you think they do.

It is of greatest importance that God is also right there with you each week. Remember? He said it only takes two or three. But He captures it ALL: your words, the thoughts and impressions behind them, your heart’s needs, your attitudes, and where your attention is focused.

So maybe this will encourage you: get involved each week as you join with your worshiping family to celebrate what being a Christian is all about. Remind yourself every week – and powerfully so as we move toward Easter’s worship events – that it’s not supposed to be entertainment or a mere spectator sport. That’s not a microwave or a TV up there. Those are real people giving of God’s call and their abilities to help you mature in spirit and beckon you closer to God.

Let them see and hear you appreciate those efforts. After all, what we’re doing here each week is just a warm-up for what awaits us when we’re all Home together!

It’s okay to raise the roof once in awhile!

© D. Dean Boone, March 2022

Categories: Inspirational | Leave a comment

2nd Cup of Coffee for 2/26/22: WHO CRIES FOR UKRAINE?

That could be us.

Ukraine happens to be under bold, brave, conservative leadership; and the Ukrainian people are solidly for maintaining their freedoms. They’ve been senselessly attacked by a much larger aggressor, “led” by a Soviet-style thug tyrant wanting to subject the people and nation of Ukraine to the same drab, lifeless, miserable existence they were forced to experience under the old Soviet regime. Putin seems to be angling to become the new Stalin and revive the Soviet Union.

Exactly – just like happened right on the heels of World War 2. We had military commanders on the ground in Europe at the time who begged Franklin and Eisenhower to let them keep pushing the Russian Army back into its own territory. They could have done it, too. Unfortunately, politics got in the way. We all watched the results, and the Cold War that dragged on until 1991.

We in America do not happen to be under bold, brave, conservative leadership. Our President and every far-Left person he’s been able to tap for high position seems to be currying favor with both Chinese and Russian world leaders who have long since proven they are no friend to American freedoms, our Constitutional Republic, or our ability to defend ourselves. Our leaders care more about what our enemies think than what you and I as citizens of this amazing land believe and want to be happening.

Since I first heard of Russian military attacks against Ukraine and its resilient people, I’ve been praying for them. I pray God’s protection over ‘The Ghost of Kyiv’ and his/her wingmen and ground crews. I pray God tasks Heaven’s warring angels with oversight and miraculous help for this tough little nation and people who just want to be left alone to take care of themselves and their own resources.

I also pray God wakes up the American people to the point we no longer allow into public office these lifelong corrupt, lying men and women who have every intention of grasping all the power and money and influence they can to themselves, ignoring not just their own constituents, but the very oaths they took upon taking office.

As an American veteran, and a citizen of this wonderful, blessed land we call home, I want everyone permanently gone from public life who has in any way been complicit in the past 30-some years of Obama-Clinton-Biden destruction of all we love and cherish – and, yes, the taking down of President Trump when he tried to clean up their mess.

We voted for him for a reason. I voted for him for a reason.

My deepest desire is to see the United States recover from this ‘experiment’ with Socialist/Marxist insanity. It will not, cannot work here, nor was it ever intended to. We were established as a Constitutional Republic. Our founders intended it that way and expected you and I to keep it that way.

We haven’t done a stellar job of that, and I’m encouraging us all to get after it. We know who and what we’re supposed to be, and I think we get the truth we can’t get it done without God.

May He overshadow us as we pray for, support, and love the strong people of Kyiv and Ukraine. For if that nation falls to the Russians, they’ll just be the first of many. Tyrants and bullies never stop on their own.

And that’s true in Europe just as it is here.

Head’s up, people.

© D. Dean Boone, February 2022

Categories: Inspirational | Leave a comment

From 2014 . . .

Original story posted by 2nd Cup of Coffee on February 14, 2014

A Valentine’s Day 2nd Cup Story: I MISS THE YOU I NEVER HAD

“More coffee?”

He looked up from his reading.  “Sure.  Yes, please.  Your coffee is always so good.  And the second cup’s always better than the first.”  He smiled as he spoke, sliding the now-empty aging green-stripe mug closer.

Image result for Old-Fashioned Diner Brown Stripe Mugs

Meg had watched generations come and go from Reggie’s Diner.  It was the only job she’d ever held since high school; she loved the contact with people, enjoyed serving good food to appreciative patrons of the restaurant.  Reggie and his family were accomplished chefs, offering anything from burger favorites to fine cuisine.  Meg knew they saw her as family, and returned that love for them.

Edging toward 65, Meg was comfortable in her running shoes and scrubs she bought at a local outdoor and professional outlet.  Today was Valentine’s Day so she was wearing her Minion top with Carl holding a huge, red heart upside-down that read, “I Love You” on it.

As she made the rounds, automatically registering whose coffee cups and water glasses needed filling, she thought of him.  She’d noticed again those killer dimples and the way laugh lines suddenly appeared.  He has a smiler’s face; it’s just at home there.  Wonder why he doesn’t do more of it?  

As she passed his table, she topped off his cup.  “Thanks, Meg.”  She smiled at him just to draw his own in return.  As she turned to take a newcomer’s order, she noticed how quickly that great smile disappeared again.  Having caught up with refills and orders, she stood leaning against the kitchen doorway, studying him.  He’s some kind of professional.  He’s always well-spoken, courteous and seems to appreciate company.  Yet there’s a quiet assurance about him that makes solitude a friend.  He’s comfortable with himself.  Yeah.  That’s it.  He’s okay with who he is.  He’s not a loner; he’s an individual among. . .  what?  Clones?  Parrots?  

Meg Brannon took care of herself.  Aging was a fact, but she didn’t think ‘old’.  She accepted the aches and wrinkles as the campaign ribbons of her life journey that they were.  She just never let them dictate terms or use them as excuses.  Few women half her age were able to keep up with her and fewer bothered trying.  Meg was an icon at Reggie’s.

As she welcomed another couple and seated them, she thought back on the few times she’d engaged him in conversation.  No, he is his own man.  He’s no pushover.  He’s sometimes here with his wife and one or the other of his adult son or daughters.  But he’s just as often here alone, only he never seems lonely.  Huh…

Anna had just clocked in and Meg stepped in the back, clocking out.  Musing, instead of turning left toward the door leading to the parking lot, Meg turned back into the warmth and great smells of the restaurant’s interior.  She was hoping he was—-

Still there.  Head down, either studying or thinking about something.  His face in repose seemed almost melancholy, a pensive sadness there as noticeable as it was odd.  This guy’s working through some serious stuff, here.  Maybe he doesn’t need—

His eyes were on her.  “Meg?”

“I don’t mean to bother you, Joe.  It is Joe, right?”

“It is.”

There.  There’s that smile.  “Meg, you’re no bother.  Do you have time to sit down and share some of this great coffee?” He stood and held her chair, helping her scoot closer to the table before being seated again.  Whoa.  Who does that any more?  An honest-to-John gentleman?  

Suddenly self-conscious, Meg was only too aware of her tired feet, wrinkled face and unruly hair.  She knew she smelled like the kitchen.  At least I remembered the mint.  I wouldn’t inflict buzzard breath on my worst—- 

She felt his gaze again, this time quizzical.  “You seem to have something on your mind.  I don’t know you at all, but I’ve been coming into Reggie’s for over a year, now.  And I’m a good listener.”

She sat for a few seconds.  “Yes, I think you would be.  Joe, I couldn’t help but notice that all the time you’ve been here today, you’ve been very serious, even sad about something.  I mean, you’re normally quiet and usually reading or writing while you eat and– here she chuckled–drink gallons of our coffee.  Today seems different.  Not trying to pry, here, but I’ve been known to do a mean listen, myself.”

“Yeah, I’ve watched you, Meg.  You’ve got a way with the folks who come in here.  You really seem to care about them all.”

Embarrassed, Meg huffed through her nose.  “Aw, g’wan.  So–what’s up?”

Wordlessly, he slid a pale pink envelope across the table that had a card sticking out.  She raised an eyebrow, looking at the card, then at him.  “Why, Joe–you shouldn’t have.”  They both knew she was trying to ease  the sudden tension.

“Please.  Read what’s inside.”  His face had become utterly still, an unfathomable depth in his eyes signaling a private door was being ever-so-slightly opened.  She’d never seen a man usually so self-assured so vulnerable.

Out of habit she flipped the envelope over.  No return address.  Just “To Joe” written in a feminine hand.  Meg paused again…  This is a big deal to him.  Why me?  He was so quiet, so still she unconsciously glanced up to be sure he hadn’t vaporized or been transported to Detroit.

Slowly turning the envelope back over, she slid the card out.  It was a generic-seeming Valentine’s Day card.  Opening it, she saw a folded piece of stationery.  Unfolding it, she saw the same handwriting  as she’d noticed on the envelope.

Joe, I should have written this a long time ago.  I knew you were serious about me back when.  Real serious. I was just so young and so—I don’t know.  I didn’t know what I wanted out of life, but I did know I wanted out of that little town.  I wanted to see the world, have fun, be my own person.  And I did.  I won’t bore you with messy facts.  

I read something you wrote one time, “We are all the sum of our own choices.”  That’s me.  The sum of a few lousy choices that seem to have overshadowed the good ones.  I didn’t know I cared so much about you until I saw where you’d written your first book.  I read it and suddenly realized how close  you’d come to leaving us.  

The words were small but neatly legible as if written by a strong, take-no-prisoners personality.  Meg read on:

It was a shock when I realized I didn’t want you to leave me.  Not ‘us’, but me.  Fast forward to Reality, huh? Like they say, Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.  It sure happened to me.  Anyway, Joe, just want you to know I think I messed up when I decided you were too boring, too nice, too–whatever.  I’m sending this anonymously because I know you have a great life, a good wife and family.  I’m not here to get in your way.  I just wanted to let you know I’m out here, I admire who you’ve become, and I miss the you I never had.

Love, Diane. 

As she slowly refolded the paper, Meg glanced at the right side of the card where people usually add last-minute remarks.  There it was again, this time in all caps:

I MISS THE YOU I NEVER HAD.

Meg quietly slid the card back in its envelope.  Tears were coursing down her lined cheeks and as she raised her brimming eyes she saw that Joe had quietly been crying as men do:  gritting his teeth,  looking down and doing his best to not show the keenness of emotion he surely felt.

Taking a sip of coffee, she made a face.  Cold coffee does not go with old friends. . .  She’d retrieved the coffee carafe, refilled it with hot coffee and brought it back to Joe’s table, refilling their cups before it caught up with her:  Joe and I aren’t old friends. . .  Her brow wrinkled as it hit her.

No.  Joe and I aren’t.  But he reminds me of Alan. . .

Blowing her nose rather undaintily into a napkin, she wadded it up and stuck it in the pocket of her scrubs.  It looked like Carl was munching on it.

“Joe, you gonna be okay, here?  I got somethin’ I gotta go do.” He nodded, a knowing expression on his face.

Off her feet, shoes and socks tossed aside, Meg opened the Valentine’s Day card she’d bought from Walgreens on the way home.  She’d even bought a stupid pink pen.  WHAT is WRONG with me?  

Concentrating and trying to remember what she’d read that so gripped her, she began to write.

Alan, I should have written this a long time ago. . .

As she wrote, trying to compress 40-some years of living into a few pink-tinged paragraphs, her tears flowed freely again.  She recalled something she’d recently read:  Remembering can be its own private hell. It had been in a lesson at church about that rich guy and Lazarus. . .

Meg was as honest as the phantom Diane had been.  When she finished, she signed off with the same stunning words:

I’m out here, I admire who you’ve become, and I miss the you I never had.

Love, Meg

As she folded the cut-down piece of stationery, she paused, looking at the right side of the card.  Picking up the pink pen once more, she struggled with the capital letters she’d never been able to write:

I REALLY DO MISS THE YOU I NEVER HAD.

Our world is so fractured in its assessment of what is love, especially in a time of contrived viruses and forgotten interpersonal relationships.  Far too often, good people go to their graves never knowing any resolution to a love spanning almost all their lives.

“Well, I don’t know how they’ll take it.”  

How would you receive such a compliment?

Take the chance to tell people who matter to you that you love them; that you care about them and are glad you have known them.  It may or may not make any difference now.  But it might just give them some closure to the sense of loss they felt at one time, and has left barely-healed emotional, even spiritual wounds.  

Years’ passage add experiences to everyone’s story none but their closest family and/or friends may know. It’s not our place to nose around, to poke and prod. True friends don’t need to do that. Yet it may be a paragraph of encouragement, of caring might be just the thing. It might sustain and encourage them as they face something now they’d never dreamed of then.  It might even begin a cycle of forgiveness sought and granted, and restore a friendship the likes of which far too many never know:  a treasured old one.

2nd Cup friend – may your Valentine’s Day of 2022 be memorable.  Use it to reach out and bless somebody else.  They’ll remember you for it.

Original story written in February, 2012

© D. Dean Boone, edited for February, 2022.

Categories: Inspirational | Leave a comment

2nd Cup of Coffee: QTMs for Saturday, 1/22/22

“QTMs” is shorthand for Quiet Time Musings. I spent several years publishing them each Monday morning, then stopped before they became boring. I’ll offer QTMs on Saturday mornings, where once I published a variety of stories, often featuring Granger and friends.

You’ll just have to drop in for some java on a regular basis to keep up with Granger’s adventures, because you’ll never know when or where they’ll appear.

“Think in harmony. Be agreeable.” (2 Corinthians 13:11)

Harmony. Does anyone even know what that means?

If you’re a musician, you understand the term. But thinking and speaking in harmony? It only takes a few minutes of scanning and listening to social media to realize that’s so not happening.

Sit and listen to conversations around you. I don’t encourage eavesdropping. It’s hardly difficult, though, with so many ambling along store aisles, in parking lots, even in restaurants, phones held casually in air, audibly blabbing with whomever. Listen to the level of conversation; the coarse, sloppy speech, the familiarity of profane namecalling.

And those are their friends. I need not belabor the point; you’re ahead of me.

If you and I are discussing a particular matter, we normally offer differing, even opposing points of view. Opinions vary. Depending on the issues, we each may feel deeply about our positions.

Okay. So how do we think and discuss our differences in harmony? We do it as friends who love and respect each other. We do the same thing verbally as musicians do instrumentally or vocally. We each ‘play’ our own part, revealing how well we’ve prepared – practiced, if you will.

We agree that if we need to disagree, we commit ourselves to doing so while remaining agreeable. There’s a reason why choirs and orchestras are tuned prior to performing, right? They don’t just dash in, skid to a halt, plop down in their chairs, and sing or play.

Just calling it ‘harmonizing our thoughts’ won’t make them so unless we’re willing to listen enough to the other’s point of view until we are able to correctly articulate one another’s position, agree or not.

To harmonize, you must sing different parts. No lock step. No rigid adherence to the same melody or part. “Harmony” implies at least two distinctly separate notes retaining their difference while recognizing the individual, distinct parts of each one in a way that compliments both.

In a sense, then, thinking in harmony requires us to voice our differences while doing the same thing. It seems obvious that the results are both of us having not only a better understanding of each other’s position, but a wiser, wider grasp of our own.

© D. Dean Boone, January 2022

Categories: Inspirational | Leave a comment

A Surprise After-Christmas Visit with Granger – 1/8/22

Good morning, 2nd Cup friend. It’s been awhile since Dan spent his early Saturday mornings writing into your life. He’s been making some worthwhile adjustments in his routine since he moved last June, and I had a little discretionary time this morning. I thought I’d spend it with you.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Coffee-Coffee-gif-2.png

Please–come on in.  I’m reasonably sure you like coffee, so I’ve a pot of fresh-ground and -brewed Winter Blend.  Grab one of those cups and I’ll pour.  There’s sugar and cream there if you’d prefer some this morning.  I even have some hot chocolate mix if you happen to like mocha java once in awhile.  It’s what I’m enjoying right now.

Go ahead and fix your coffee; we’re in no hurry.

Pardon?  Oh.  That’s Pandora, and I have Smooth Jazz Christmas Radio playing until after the holiday season is past.  It was one of you who years ago said I should try Pandora, and I’ve had it softly playing in the background almost daily for years, every time I’m here in Granger’s office.  You know who you are, and I’m grateful.  In fact, if I recall, you first steered me to it during holiday season a few years ago.  It’s a true friend’s kind of gift, for it endures over time.  From my heart, I’m appreciative.

I’m blessed to have you stop by.  The chance to visit with, to get to better know Dan’s readers, is a rare treat, for he keeps me and my friends busy.

I’m his principal character.  My goings-on appear in many – actually, most of – his stories.  Because my personality lives in so many of Dan’s writings, I literally have no time to myself.

Why, right now I’m in the middle of a multi-chaptered short story introducing yet another of Dan’s peripheral characters – this time an independent news reporter.  The reason I’ve a bit of breathing room, and time to chat with you, is that Dan’s hesitating in how to progress with my allowing this reporter to interview me.

Oh, you didn’t know about that?  Yes, it’s definitely a first, and likely an only.  You’ll have to go back and read the first two chapters.  I’ve already set the rules by which we’ll proceed, me and Glennis Witherspoon.  Unh-hunh.  Definitely a reporter’s name. I’ve no idea if that’s the name her mom gave her, and it isn’t germane to the story – unless, that is, Dan decides to make it so.

Anyway, I made it clear that I’m a very private guy, and the only way I’d agree to her interviewing me is if the entire thing’s off the record.

My calling, my ministry, if you will, is to be a professional encourager of those God sends across my path.  It sounds mundane until you begin going back through the various stories Dan’s written about my intervention, directly or indirectly, in those individuals’ lives. 

 

You probably feel a bit awkward interacting with a writer’s fictional character. I understand that. Think how I feel . . . I’m almost always connected to one of Dan’s stories. Since my dialog with other characters is always directed by him, I don’t get the chance to sit with you, his readers, getting to observe and know you better.

Dan first started his 2nd Cup stories back in 2012-13, and the early ones didn’t identify me by name.  Once you read the story, though, you could catch the scent of my favorite cologne back then, Burberry Weekend, wafting through the sentences and phrasing–well, that and the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee.  Dan doesn’t add the Divine mystique in all my adventures; yet the inexplicable, the “No Way!” stuff, shows up just often enough to remind all of you who follow me:  I’m God’s.  It’s Him working in and through me, Who makes things work out as they do. 

Mystical or not, they are all meant to help you grow, to draw you closer to those you love, and ultimately to God.

Hmm? What’s it like being the principal character in a lot of Dan’s writing? Well, if you’ve spent any time at all reading his stories, you know a lot about me. I won’t bore you with details, since you have access to Dan’s archived 2nd Cup of Coffee posts that started back in early 2013. They’re in the drop-down box on the right side of his blog site. I guess you could say that’s where I, Arlough, Sparks, Raven Wing, and all sorts of intriguing guest characters live . . .

Mmm. That’s the New York Jazz Trio doing The Christmas Song. 

I never shut down any particular season’s music immediately after that holiday’s past. And where Christmas is concerned, those twelve days begin on December 25th, so I’m relaxing in the aural flow of Beegie Adair’s styling of Rudolph – with the sound level at 8. I’ve long loved smooth, easy jazz playing in the background just loud enough to hear but not intrude. And though I don’t often frequent live jazz venues in Dan’s stories, I’m a bit of a musical rebel in that I’ve always felt creative freedom and been at ease around smoky, warm jazz renditions of all sorts of music genres. 

 As Granger, I’m not a young man; and though my past, early life is only hinted at, there are clues scattered here and there – enough so if you’re a fan and read back through previous posts, you catch on I’ve been and done a lot of things that enable me to be the man, the friend, the confidante I am. To reach out and touch lives as Dan always has me doing. Thus, though time does pass in my stories and adventures, it, like the music, moves easily, smoothly, and slowly, giving you and I plenty of time to spend together.

Okay, one more question . . .  Yeah – way over there.

Could I slip back into character and start a story for old times’ sake? Well, I’ll need Dan’s help here. He’s my Jim Henson. Hey, Dan? Put the coffee down; you’re gonna need both hands, because a fan wants a Saturday-morning style story like you used to do, back when. So, whaddya got, there?

Oh-h-h… Hey, this will be good.

 

Amanda stood there in her USAF hoodie and jeans, scanning the warm interior of High Plains Diner in Bennett, Colorado, hoping to find a vacant table where she could sit with her 6-year-old son, Preston, until the winter storm abated. She’d pulled off I-70 into the sprawling Love’s Travel Stop to gas up her car and give her eyes a rest from squinting through the blowing snow. Wanting a hot breakfast somewhere a bit safer and more inviting than a truck stop, she’d been directed a couple of miles up the road to the diner by a helpful attendant.

She wasn’t the only traveler with that idea. Though cheery, the diner was busy and every table was taken. Amanda had zero desire to go back out into the swirling, icy storm, so she sat down in the only vacant chair left just inside the door. She wadded up both their winter coats and stuffed them down beside the chair, patting her lap for her tired son to sit with her. They weren’t going anywhere in a hurry, and it wasn’t like she had anywhere pressing to be or anything.

As she sat absorbing the warmth, her mind traveled back to the Utah town that had been their first cool little home until her husband, Rick, decided single life surrounding his being stationed at Creech AFB in Nevada would be more fun than driving back to boring little St. George, UT and his sensible, small home, wife, and son.

They’d started out with both the promise of Rick’s income and a sizeable wedding gift from her dad’s estate, earmarked for her before his passing. They’d scaled down honeymoon plans, choosing to spend those days and nights in Kayenta, Arizona at a Hampton Inn operated on an Indian reservation a friend had told them about. She’d done her best to make the little house a home, and had worked hard to be responsible with their money. She’d always kept herself attractive, walking several times each week and keeping her auburn hair clean and presentable. Preston liked his school and had a lot of friends, and she thought life was good – until it wasn’t. And she didn’t even know he’d—-

Amanda dropped her head, shaking it. “Oh, please, God–I do NOT want to sink back down into that swamp of depression and self-pity. I made my decision to start over, I’ve got a beautiful, smart, funny son to think about, and that’s that. I’m claiming Proverbs 3:1-10 again. You know I’ve made that passage totally mine, I’m gonna live by it, and I know You’re going to see me and Preston through this! And, Lord? We’re both tired and hungry, and it’d sure be great if—-“

“Excuse me, ma’am. I don’t mean to intrude, but I noticed you and the boy come in. You look like you’ve been on the road awhile and need to warm up and get some good food in you.”

Startled, Amanda looked up to see a man standing several feet away, looking at her, with a gentle look on his face. He was older with beautiful silver hair, dressed in casual khaki slacks, a red plaid flannel shirt, and a British tan leather jacket. He wore a wedding ring, and his face had laugh-lines framing the crow’s feet beside each eye.

Making a rueful face, she nodded. “You’re right, we do. But every table is full.” 

“As it turns out, mine is not. It would be my pleasure for you and–” He raised his eyebrows and looked at Preston, whose eyes were hopeful as he answered, “Preston. I’m Preston.” 

“–and Preston to join me at my table.” At this, he gestured toward a table set for four she hadn’t noticed. Cautious, Amanda hesitated, although there was something reassuring about the man. Preston sealed the deal by locking eyes with the man and saying, “My mom’s name is Amanda Brockings. Can we, Mom? I’m starving!”

The mom in her hesitated. Considering what she’d been through the past several months, men weren’t real high on her list. She scanned the roomful of bustling travelers once more, then eyed the man again. He stepped back and said, “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to bother you. Please forgive m—“

“No–I’m the one who’s sorry. You’re being kind; of course, we’ll join you.”

Sighing through her nose and upset at herself, she told the boy to grab their coats and gathered her purse and the green fabric shopping bag she’d intended to carry some drinks and snacks back to the car with them. The man stood back, again gesturing toward his table. He followed them to it, and grinned as Preston put both coats on chair backs and slid up onto a seat.

He held a chair out to seat Amanda. A young bearded guy hunched over the next table wolfing down his breakfast paused to sneer until he felt the eyes of the silver-haired man on him. As he looked up, his face went slack, then reddened as he focused again on his meal. Amanda noticed none of this, but the six-year-old was seated where he had an uninterrupted view and missed none of it.

Seated once again, the man gestured to a server bussing the next table over, pointing to Amanda and her son. Receiving a nod, he turned back to them. 

“My name is Granger. I’m glad this worked out, for I can tell you’re road-weary and, like all of us, can use the warmth and the rest as well as the good food.”

Amanda was quiet for a few seconds. She’d grown up watching her father always treat her mom like a queen, opening and holding doors, and seating her at tables, including their own at home. It was something Rick never seemed to see as important, so seeing his mom treated nice was new to her son.

“Thank you again, Mr. Granger. I—” 

“Just Granger. And you’re very welcome. I appreciate your caution, too. I’d been watching folks coming in, wanting to let someone share this table if they wanted, but felt restrained. Now I understand why.”

Just then a server whose name tag read BRADLEY stopped by with menus, took her and Preston’s drink orders, and dashed off again. Amanda looked at food and prices, checking on the kids’ menu, mentally thinking what they could spend and still get to Springfield, Missouri where her sister and husband lived. As if reading her mind, Granger said, “Your meals have been paid for; order anything in whatever sizes you want – and that includes whatever you need to take with you.”

Stunned, she stared at him. “What? How– I mean, when—“

“When I first sat down and ordered, I told Bradley whoever joined me at this table would need a good meal, could have all they wanted, and to put it all on my check. Please . . . order whatever you both want.”

The History Of Cheese Curds | Buy Wholesale Cheese Online ...

“Woah! Even cheese curds?” Preston’s eyes were round with excitement. Chuckling, Granger nodded.

“Especially cheese curds. They’re my favorite, too!”

Their food came, and they were quiet as they both ate as only hungry people do. Motioning at her mouth with her own napkin, she got Preston’s attention: “Ketchup.” He wiped his mouth and just as they were putting their disposable dishes together, the extra food they’d ordered came in take-out bags. Amanda hesitated, looking at the table.

“I’ll clean up. It looks like the weather’s calmed down and the plows are out again. You should be able to make pretty good time.” Standing, he stepped around the table and held her coat as she stood up and slid out her chair. Preston was on his feet, too, and was watching. Granger picked up his coat, too, and held it for the boy to put on.

It was Amanda’s turn to watch. Preston looked up and said, “Mr. Granger, sir? Thank you for taking care of me and my mom. I know you’re old and stuff, but whenever I get another dad, I sure hope he’s like you.” Embarrassed, the boy whirled, grabbed the shopping bag full of snacks, and headed for the exit. Taking a deep breath, Amanda hugged Granger as she tearfully said, “Thank you. You don’t know how much this means.”

Granger held her embrace for an extra beat or two, saying, “I’m sorry life with Rick didn’t work out; but you’ll like Springfield. I know things are going to be better. Now, you’d better catch up with that boy.” 

Amanda hustled outside and caught Preston halfway to their car. She’d unlocked it and was finishing putting his coat and the bag in the back seat when she suddenly stopped. “How’d he know Rick’s name? And I never told him we were going to Spr—” Telling Preston to stay in the car and keep it locked, she ran back inside the High Plains Diner and looked at his table. Only it wasn’t his; there was another family there, seemingly halfway through their meal. 

Catching the eye of the server who’d brought their food, she asked about Granger. 

Bradley: “I’d never seen him before, ma’am.”

“Well, did you see where he went when he left?”

Bradley said he never saw Granger leave. He was there, and the next time Bradley looked up, Granger was gone. “The only thing I know for sure about that man is that he tips real good!” With that, the young server disappeared back into the swirl of hungry travelers.

They were back on I-70, nearing the Colorado-Kansas border, when Amanda recalled a Bible verse she’d read as part of her devotions just that morning before she and Preston left St. George for the last time. She couldn’t recall the chapter and verse, but it was something about entertaining angels without knowing it.

With her brow furrowed in thought, she said, “Lord? Is that who Granger is? Was? I mean—“

 

Well, 2nd Cup friend, I’ve got to really get back in character. It’s been great relaxing a bit with you. I hope to see more of you. The more you read after Dan, the more you’ll get to know me and this amazing band of unforgettable people who live in his mind and imagination. Take care, now. 

G’night.

© D Dean Boone, January 2022

 

 

Categories: Inspirational | Leave a comment