Saving Grace

Sunday mornings I sit in the narthex of my wife’s church building, running the zoom service during the in-person gathering. I’m sitting out there because it currently has the only live outlet to plug in my computer. In this area of the building is the rope pull for the bell in the steeple; I’ve had…

Hello, My Name is Phillip: Chapter Twenty-Four

(This is the serial telling of my book Hello, My Name is Phillip. Available here on Amazon. Search for “Phillip’s Story” on this blog site for the other chapters. Enjoy stepping into this story of a 6 year-old named Phillip.) Kevin meets me at the car every day. He slings his arm over my shoulder,…

Gardens

What’s the benefit of a garden? For me, beyond the beauty, the pleasure of growing living things, the joy of the fruit from it, these are among the gifts it brings into life. The main gift is the intentional pause. I love gardens!

Hello, My Name is Phillip: Chapter Twenty-two

A midnight trip to the hospital opens up the possibility for unexpected miracles. You never know when Jesus might show up. And in this story, he does! Encounter a whole new meaning for the color blue.

Hello, My Name is Phillip: Chapter Nineteen

(This is the serial release of my book Hello, My Name is Phillip. You are welcome to share these posts with friends, and welcome also to buy the book here. The story picks up as Phillip eavesdrops on an important conversation.) It is Mr. Clay, from the church. He stands there, smiling that wide grin…

Moving On…

Sunday afternoon, I met three of our daughters at Michelle’s Pianos in Portland. Susanna had flown in from Boise in order to select and purchase a piano. When she and her husband had married, Collin told her he wanted to her to have a good piano someday. Susanna had been a piano performance major, so…

It was the Right Thing to Do

Taking action because you know it’s the right thing to do is powerful. It benefits others, benefits you, and allows you to participate in something grand. Just take the action. Do the right thing.

Spread light

The stress of this season — COVID, FIRES — can create emotional backlogs which then get expressed against others around us. Instead, be self aware in order to spread light not darkness. Bring peace not discord. Examples of this abound. Spread light.

Be the Neighbor

It was over 11 years ago I first walked into Papa’s Haven, a coffee shop near to where I was pastoring a local church. Dreamed into existence by a guy named Jerry and his wife Jane, as a second career this place was perfect for me. I began to come there for most of my…

Connections Matter

Connections with others and how they happen are mysterious, aren’t they? In BC — Before COVID-19 — (which feels like lightyears ago,  when we could just board planes and travel with relative ease) I flew to London from Los Angeles. Needing to board from the third floor of the terminal because of the height of…

I See You

“I see you!” Those are famous words from the 2009 James Cameron blockbuster movie AVATAR as the heroine, Neytiri, rescues the hero, Jake Sully, in the final scenes. She can see “him,” even though looking into his human not his avatar’s face. To be thus seen is to be seen as who he is, it…

Reaching France

(Last installment of this section of my book, “The Girl who Changed my World.”) The next morning I awakened with a headache after the previous day’s emotions! I rang up Christine, a friend from college who lived in France and had invited me to come stay with them for a week. I told her I…

Learning Anatomy

Amazing how we live in these bodies which are perfectly formed and serve us well for so many years, and can know relatively little about them. Only when there are injuries, or pain, do we learn more. I had friends who had torn their rotator cuffs over the years, but still knew little about this…

Three Carnations

(This is the ongoing love story which has lasted decades…) It was nearly midnight, in Alexandra Park under a black and brilliant, starlit sky, Karen and I walked home from a play. We stopped to behold the beauty above us, then ended up looking at one another as well. She looked more deeply at me, looked…

My God Sighting

Plants burned. Some folk put potatoes in their trunks and baked them. Another guy wired a hot dog to his antenna and it roasted. It was a record-breaking heat wave. I took a four-mile walk with a good friend in the 114F temperatures. I felt like the hot dog! My car was not pleased with…

London at 19

London as a 19-year-old—friends and I hitched rides, visited Brighton, Bath, Salisbury, and Stonehenge. We met in pubs, drank lager, laughed, told stories, and philosophized about life. One friend, Cammy from my university, and I especially took many walks and short trips together.  We had plenty of work on our classes, visited art museums, studied…

God Has Brought You Here

On May 18th, I texted our daughter, “Grace, I just received some info on doctor I was planning to start with, which raised questions about him from interns who had worked with him. Could you pray and give me any guidance you might have?” (Grace is our second daughter.) It was just six days before…

First Stop: Joy.

After a summer knocking on doors, I was full of enthusiasm. I’d been acting enthusiastic all summer, as Southwest Publishing taught us, and now was totally filled with it. Much of my outward expression, my super interest was in order to be liked. But it was not a lie. It was the best way I knew to be myself, and…

“I wanted to punch your lights out!”

1988. My first pastorate in San Jacinto, California. The church statistics in the Annual Conference Journal said there were 166 members. It felt like a daunting step from seminary and my student pastorate into my first church. When I arrived I discovered the difference between stats and reality. The previous pastors had not done an…

The Meeting

I felt shy, self-conscious, and little, but could not resist the draw to meet her. I reached my right hand across the barrier, “Hi, my name is Brian Shimer, what’s yours?”   “Karen Cook” she said, shaking my hand. Later I learned her last name was spelled K.O.C.H    “Good to meet you. Are you seeing…

The New Caste System

I met friends on my walking team on June 6th and arrived first. Val arrived next, saw me standing outside in the cool and rain and waved me over. “Hey Brian,” she said, “Come sit in my car and we can talk while we wait!” I started toward her car and then she stepped out…