Warm Fuzzies

prayer shawlsWe have a lot of book groups and girlfriend posses through our shop, but on Monday past the women of Hiltons Methodist Church came bearing gifts.

Prayer shawls, and chemo hats and scarves for the community. Made with love and prayers for healing, and yarn in pretty, bright colors.

It was frighteningly easy to get those distributed. Jack and I immediately set aside some for cancer fighters we knew: an elegant executive approaching retirement coping with breast cancer; a buoyant cat rescuer who lets nothing get her down, including chemo; a young mom facing killer lymphoma; one of my most feminine ever friends, a healthy-eating, beautiful, petite woman who has that rare kind of cancer prevalent in men of African descent; and a 12-year-old boy (who got the camouflage lap blanket).

The rest we gave to my friend Leigh Anne – herself fighting cancer, and the director of our local cancer center – to bless those who might have less family and friends around them when they need a warm fuzzy moment.

Of all the things Little Bookstore has done, this might be the nicest: that people bring to our community gifts of love from theirs. When I put out an appeal last summer for postcards, so the Quakers doing prison visits could send them to guys in the federal penitentiary, y’all sent 400 cards, plus the nicest notes, and even sheets of stamps. When my friend and I stared making “spay and neuter afghans” to pay for the cats of Wise County being rendered non-reproductive, people on the West and East coasts and many places in between bought them.

And when I’ve blogged about friends in need–Sue’s bookstore in Wisconsin, the stealing of Elissa’s dog rescue raffle money–responses have been practical, and sweet, and positive. Sure there’s stuff that goes wrong with the world, but while there are women knitting prayer shawls filled with love, how bad can it be?

Stay warm, y’all.

Just Put the Books Away, Wendy….

Ever feel like life suddenly kicked you in the stomach? Yes, of course you have. We all have.

A friend of mine who, ironically enough, isĀ  the director of a cancer center securing services for patients in rural Virginia, has cancer. She and I just finished doing a project together, one that made us both proud. We took six cancer patients into three different regional communities to let them tell the personal stories of their cancer journeys.

Leigh Ann will be making that all-too-personal journey herself, now.

So I walk through my bookstore, picking up boxes that have been sitting around waiting for someone to put them away. Shelving books is a calming activity, like playing intellectual solitaire with your whole body. Your feet walk, your brain processes, your hands move, tuck, tidy.

This in my hand is a mystery. It goes in the mystery room. A western. It goes to the mancave, under Guys with Big Guns. Ah, a history book; these are subcategorized by time period.

Keep walking, and put the books away, Wendy. The world is a random place and everything doesn’t happen for a reason. But when unreasonable things happen, God can make reason out of them. That’s what you know. That’s what being a Christian involves.

Leigh Ann is in God’s hands; these books are in yours. Put the books away, and say your prayers. Order is restored to a tilting universe by the simple daily acts of faith: the many, many people who are praying for Leigh Ann, her husband and her six-year-old daughter; and the hands of all the people who love her, moving through the day, making bread, pulling weeds, shelving books.

Work is prayer. Put the books away, Wendy. Keep order in your tiny corner of the world, and let God create Order in the big, wide, scary one.