Dealing With Lost Opportunities

It was a rough morning …

We arrived at church and my husband set out to locate our friend Howard. Not finding him in the chair he usually gravitated to in the coffee area, Sonny asked someone if he knew how Howard was doing.

We were heartbroken to not only learn that he’d passed away the previous weekend while we were out of town, but that we’d missed the funeral held only the day before. We hadn’t received any notice of his death or the celebration of his life.

Howard and his wife had been of the first couples to welcome us to the church when we decided to find a place closer to home. During the two years we’d attended there, they’d greeted us with warm smiles and hugs, and theyd checked in on our lives.

The two men found common ground, and over the past year started to develop a friendship. They met for an occasional breakfast, and Howard helped us with some remodeling projects in our home.

But you see, over that course of time, we discovered that Howard was battling cancer. For awhile, his health continued to improve. His color came back and he had a lot more energy. He looked and acted like the man we first met. But things took a turn, and we knew they weren’t going to get any better.

Sonny and Howard talked about getting together for ice cream and some “guy time.” But life got busy, and several weeks went by without setting a date.

Only now, it was too late for that ice cream.

A “missed opportunity” means there might be another chance. But we experienced a “lost opportunity.” There are no more options.

Our friend loved Jesus, and we know he’s basking in the Lord’s presence now. But until we can join Howard there, we’ll miss seeing him here. My husband can’t go back and share another breakfast with his friend. We won’t have another chance to be at his funeral to say good-bye and be a support that day to his wife.

This experience has been a reminder that we can’t put off spending time with people who are important to us because we think tasks need to be checked off our “to-do” list. And when we say we’re going to do something—we need to follow through to the best of our abilities.

I don’t want to live a life of regret and lost opportunities . . .

How about you? Is there something in your life today that you need to do?


Book Review of Kept by Sally Bradley

About the book . . .

Miska Tomlinson is a freelance editor in Chicago who is accustomed to drawing attention for her stunning looks. Though she’s hoping her affair with a married sports star will end in happily-ever-after, she’s also secretly spending time with another sports figure who is willing to pay big bucks for her time.

Dillan Foster, a young and handsome pastor, moves in with his brother next door to Miska. The pastor is attracted to her, but he’s waiting for the right woman to come along—a woman who is a Christian with the same beliefs. But Dillan—and his brother and fiancĂ© (Garrett and Tracy)—become friends with Miska, and when her secret life is exposed, their lives become entangled in ways that change them all.

My review . . .

This contemporary story is different and refreshing. The author gives us a convincing portrayal of a young woman searching for love in all the wrong places—who doesn’t understand why or how her choices are hindering the happiness she pursues. Miska’s lifestyle is shared without getting graphic. I appreciated the honesty in which the book includes Christians who are judgmental toward people who have not been exposed to the Bible and authentic relationship with God. There’s power in truth-telling, and this novel is filled with it.

KEPT focuses on love and grace. It delves into what “love” can and should mean on so many levels—the love between a man and woman, God’s love, the love shared between friends, and what should exist within families. The kindness that Tracy offers Miska, and the sweet friendship that develops between the two women, will stick with me for a long time.

If readers are more drawn to novels that include subtle spiritual messages woven into the story lines, they might be put off by the overt Christian message and discussions about Bible stories and verses in this book. Others will welcome it with open arms and embrace it.

Sally Bradley writes big-city fiction with real issues and real hope.

A Chicagoan since age five, Sally has been fascinated by all things Chicago (except for the crime, politics, and traffic) for almost as long. She now lives in the Kansas City area with her family, but they get back to Chicago from time to time for important things, like good pizza and a White Sox game.

Review of The Yuletide Angel by Sandra Ardoin

About the book . . .

It’s soon Christmas, and people of Meadowmead are unaware that their Yuletide Angel is Violet Madison. No one that is, until her neighbor, Hugh Barnes, happens to see her slip out into the evening to secretly leave packages for the needy. Without telling Violet, he keeps watch over the quiet, young woman who draws him in by her kindness.

Violet is attracted to the handsome grocer, but believes the confirmed bachelor would never be interested in her. Besides, now that her brother is marrying, Violet feels she must find a way to make a support herself. Only, it’s the 1890s, and it’s not common for women to run their own businesses. Violet’s predicament forces her to turn to Hugh for help. But with Christmas fast approaching, Violet and Hugh are faced with challenges that will either bring them closer together or tear them apart.

My review …

The Yuletide Angle is a sweet romance. Hugh and Violet seem to be a perfect match. Violet is a strong, independent woman—someone to emulate.  Hugh is a handsome, successful, and humble man. While he could court any single woman in town, he chooses Violet —not only because he finds her beautiful, but because he sees and appreciates the kind of person she is inside.

Readers will be able to relate to these characters and the internal and external struggles they experience. Most of us want to be generous people, but how often do we examine our motives? Most of us desire to find purpose in our lives, but where do we find it? Just as Violet experiences a few road blocks in business, women today still battle assumptions because of their gender. The author did a wonderful job of weaving these situations into the story and leaving us with a satisfying ending.

If you’re looking for a story that will put you in the Christmas spirit, I highly recommend The Yuletide Angel.

A fan of old westerns growing up, it’s only natural that Sandra Ardoin sets her stories in the days of the horse and buggy. Her Christmas novella The Yuletide Angel is no exception. She is multi-published in short fiction and the author of "Get A Clue," a short story in Family Ties: Thirteen Short Stories. Sandy is the married mother of a young adult and lives in North Carolina.

 photo copyright.jpg
blogger template by envye