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…