Why a blog from me, someone who has never been a writer, someone who has never been articulate or had a solid grasp of the grammar world. Because God told me to write. Several years ago a life storm invaded my family. God kept telling me to write it all down. I argued, but He would not let up. This went on every day for a couple of weeks until one day out of frustration, (I'd like to say it was out of obedience), I picked up a pen and paper and wrote for 7 hours straight! Do you think maybe I needed therapy and God knew it?

I've been writing ever since and have learned to love it! I started out sharing my stories with friends and family. I've now been published in a Nashville church paper, Our Daily Journey (a devotional site of RBC Ministries), PCCWeb Daily Devotional, Ruby for Women Ezine Magazine, and I am a contributor in the book Alabaster Jars, Life in Abundance Collection 2.

Why Ponderings? During this life storm, God led me to a pond in the woods behind my home. There He met me each time, teaching new lessons, reminding me of old ones, showing His presence and allowing me to feel His love through the surroundings of that pond. I found myself returning over and over to ponder, pray and praise. A healing of my heart took place and out of the experience came my first book, Ponderings From the Pond, then a second book, Ponderings From My Porch, and now a third book is in the works along with a memoir about my storm.

Why am I making myself so vulnerable? Because God has done so much that I cannot keep quiet. I have to share. Jesus's last words to his desciples were, "Go,tell." We are his disciples too and this is just one of my ways of telling.

I'm no scholar but I have heard God's voice in my spirit, experience His love daily, and have a desire for others to experience this also. I would love to share with all who visit and I would love to hear from you. If my sharing gets just one to ponder, to be quiet with the Father, to see and hear from Him or to be reminded of something from Him, then this is worth my vulnerability.

As you visit me, sometimes we will be at the pond, sometimes we will move to the front porch, and sometimes we will just be here, there, and yonder. Thank you for coming and please feel free to come back anytime, you are always welcome here.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19:14


My first book, Ya Know What I'm Say'n, has been released.



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Story of Thanksgiving

I'm glad I'm not eating at their tables. . .no brussel sprouts for me or potato chips in my stuffing.

We received sad news last night. My husband's brother suddenly died and so we will be leaving for Oklahoma to be with family. I am happy I get to be with extended family for the holiday but we are sad that one will be missing. We rejoice in knowing that he is in his heavenly home though. Would you mind saying a prayer for the wife, Jenny and for their son and daughter, Michelle and Brian? Thank you my sweet friends!

I pray your table is full of tasty treats and your chairs are full of family and your hearts are full of gratitude. And I'm sure your bellies will be full so remember to wear elastic waistband pants. . .you'll be sorry if you don't ;)

the Bridgman Family

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Guitar Man

"The transformational journey is a lifelong journey that begins with a change of heart and leads to a changed perspective, a changed leadership process, and changed personal practice. It is lived out on a daily basis, with a sense of purpose and expectancy as the servant leader joins God in the work He is doing in the world. How are you living and leading today in light of eternity?" 

Lead Like Jesus, a Blanchard ministry

When you are dealing with a frustrating person, try to have a ministry mindset and remember that something is bothering them inside which is making them that way. Are they stressed, hurt, grieving, depressed? Think about how to help them turn to Christ to find healing inside. A ministry mindset will melt your anger toward that person, so you don’t explode with fiery words that will wound not just their heart, but yours and God’s. From the Devotional Time With God

November 5, 2013, on a Tuesday I posted this to Facebook. . .

To all who show such an interest in the Bridge Ministry but cannot help, OH, but you can! I believe the backbone of any ministry is prayer. Would you consider making it a habit each Tuesday to pray for this ministry, for the guests who show up and for all the volunteers. That the Lord would do a mighty work in each of us out there and as volunteers, that no matter what the circumstances, we would have the mind of Christ. That the love of Christ would touch whoever out there needs a touch from Him and that we would all be sensitive to that need. And for provisions to be met whether that be monetary or other. Thank you so much sweet people! I'm thanking God for all of you!

This man at the bridge told me last night that he and I have lived two completely different lives. Later in the conversation he told me about a fear. This man used to scare me, I did not like him and I avoided him for weeks. Awhile back, God told me to go talk with him. After I stomped my foot a couple of times, I went. Guitar man and I talked about many things. He said again how different our lives were and I told him the ground is level at the foot of the cross and he teared up on me. He wanted to hear that again, and so I repeated, "The ground is level at the foot of the cross."  He thanked me sincerely and then played for me.

We continued to talk as he softly played his beautiful music. He asked me to throw a scripture at him. I did. I asked him to throw one at me. He did. We did this a couple of more times. We laughed. I shared with him what God's Word says about fear. He listened. He nodded.
He put the guitar up as people were starting to leave. He looked far off and then at me and said,
"I wish I could do something for God but. . .I can't do anything." I told guitar man,
"You've been playing beautiful, soothing, peaceful music the whole time we've been talking. You come back here each Tuesday and play for God. That will honor Him and it will bless all of us out here." He stepped back and said, "Really!"
"Yes, Really!"
As we got up to part ways, I turned to him and said sincerely, "Thank you.". He came up to me, touched my arm gently and with tears in his eyes, he said, "No, thank you.". 

It was a wonderful time! I'm so glad I listened to God and not my own fear. The man seemed convicted and very moved. I know I sure was. . .moved AND convicted! I walked away trembling inside and thanking God for making me move when I didn't want to. I asked you all a week or so ago to commit to praying for this ministry on Tuesdays. I could FEEL them this night. Thank you! 

Then LeeAnn, one of our volunteer nurses wrote this to me. . .
  Guitar Man had rubbed me the wrong way for months. I thought he was abrasive, rude to Janice and harsh with other guests. I avoided him a lot. I prayed about my response to him and one of the nights we did the survey- I made a point to go talk to him. He was isolated on the bridge and I spent the most amazing 30 minutes talking to him! He is a passionate believer and a proud vet. Both of those character traits speak to me! We now have a friendship that I treasure- he asked me to sit with him for a few minutes tonight so he could play the guitar. He hugs me and even started coming to our VA clinic! God changed my heart for him- he is a tough guy, with a soft heart- and I love Goliath too. (his dog) 

I found out later from LeeAnn that Guitar Man is a vet and he had lost the love of his life, his wife of 20 years to cancer. The beautiful music he was playing was a song he had written for her.
LeeAnn and I had a changed perspective, a changed heart because we decided to look him in the eyes and look not with our own human retinas but with those of Jesus. It's amazing how things look different through those lenses. 
The next day I was listening to Beth Moore in the car as I was going into town and she made this statement (not about homeless but just people in general). . ."Dignify them by noticing them." I cried out to myself in the car saying, This is what I've been writing about for the last two years. Yes, notice them, talk to them, listen to them, show they are worthy to be heard, share the incredible love we have received with all who God brings into our path, even if they are hard ones to love. Who knows what has hardened them. But Jesus love can soften, melt and dissolve that hardness. Not only can a transformation happen with them, but it can happen for us, just like it did for me and Lee Ann with guitar man, tough guy with a soft heart. The blessings come not only for them, but for you and me who get to watch it happen right in front of our eyes.

Next time God tells me to move towards someone, I will not stomp my foot.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

$4.19 A Day...Could You?

Telling the cold, hard facts. If it sounds tough, please forgive me!
But sometimes we just need to hear. . .and to understand.

The average SNAP (known as food stamps until 2008) allocation per adult in the state of Kentucky is $4.19 a day.  Think about when you go out to lunch or dinner, how much do you spend on your meal, just for yourself.  And think about what you spend if you're paying for your family.  I know, we do it too.

But my mind goes to my friends out there on the streets.  Many of them eat because of SNAP.  Do you think they feel hunger pains?  Do you think they get to have treats like we give ourselves?  If they do have the treats, then they are not getting a good meal.  And a good meal for them would be a bologne sandwich and maybe an apple.  This doesn't sound too bad, but if that's all you got to eat, how would you feel?  Would you get cranky over time?  Would you start to feel bad physically?  Would you be prone to falling into depression?  I know I would just start to really crave a good juicy steak, potato, salad, and bread and tea after awhile.

But most people I befriend out there do not complain.  I have heard a few complaints about the food at the one shelter in town but other than that, only one complaint came from the bridge when we ran out of food and that man apologized later. He was taken care of.  I hear people who have MUCH complain about such silly things, things that do not hurt their comfort, and yet complain, complain, complain.  And then I hear ones who complain about the ones out on the street. . . "if they would just get up and get a job, they wouldn't have it so hard". . .if they would just and on and on and on.

I would like to challenge those abundant complainers to walk in the others shoes for one week and see how they feel. With no shelter, little food, feeling unloved, everything we take for granted stripped away. On top of that, imagine if you had been beaten the years you grew up by people who should have loved you, raped by men who thought only of themselves, parents who thought more about there booze than their child, or parents who didn't even care for you and left you in the foster care system, taking your chances on who got you, having to drop out of school, never graduating because your parents needed you to make money, or you needed money because they weren't taking care of you.  Your self esteem might just be stripped down to the bare bones.  If you had a sense of humor, it just might have fled. If you were considered friendly, you just might change after awhile in these conditions. They pay a pretty high cost for their upbringing.

And yet, these people are resilient.  Some have kept their sense of humor in spite of the former beatings and rapes and other abuses.  They have a toughness about them and a fighting spirit that keeps them going.  Yes, some fell into addictions.  They fell into something they thought would take them away from it all.  Most of them now, after years of this kind of abuse, have gotten away from that or are trying to. If you ask them, how do you do it, more times than not, they will tell you Jesus or point up to Him and smile.  Jesus paid the ultimate cost.  Some of them are starting to believe this. Some who believed as a child and ran away are coming back.  Some still need time. They all need love. And they all go on eating on $4.19 a day and they all still smile at me when I come around and give me hugs.

Could you live for months, years on $4.19 a day?  

Some of our workers have taken the 4.19 challenge. They multiplied 4.19 x 7 and that is all they are eating on for one week. That means they have had to cut out soda, coffee, and tea. They are eating P&J sandwiches, lots of eggs, drinking water. They have been getting headaches, cravings, and are missing the things they like to have on a daily basis. I bet after awhile, they just might get cranky. But after a week, they can go back to their regular way of eating.

Next time you go out for a meal, give thanks, and then please, pray for the homeless and hungry. And if you would like to take it a step further, please donate food to the food banks in your community.  In ours, two of those places would be HOTEL INC and Hope House. A little compassion goes a long way.

Thank you!
When I was hungry, you gave me food. . .
Matthew 25:35

Written by one who had the church bring her food when she was a little girl. Written by one who had a glimpse long, long ago.
Now she sees others and shares their stories.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The One Thing

I've been asked by some why I do what I do. They think working with the homeless is too hard, not rewarding, that you're not appreciated.  First of all, for the most part, that is not a true statement. I would like to share the story of one of our bridge guests from a year ago written by the director of HOTEL, INC. Rhondell, a friend of mine who asked if I would like to start a Bridge Ministry to which I said yes. The first winter at the bridge, we met Michael. I will let Rhondell tell the rest. . .

My walk with Michael began in September 2012 at our Homeless Outreach. Michael was struggling with addiction, trying to find work and sharing a tent with a friend.

He began attending AA meetings and working the 12 Steps of Recovery. Through AA, he met his current wife. I lost touch with him over the summer which caused me great concern.  Just last week he dropped by HOTEL, INC. to see me; a wonderful surprise. I could tell things were going well for him. He had put on some much needed weight and had a big smile on his face. Mike wanted to share with me how much God had blessed him over the past year. He, his wife and stepson, now own a small farm in the country.  They are both working full time and she is also a student at WKU.
He shared how at the Homeless Outreach, he saw the goodness of people; people emulating Christ to him and others. He said, "I began to try to emulate that in my life to others and God began to pour out an over abundance of blessings.  The blessing of a family, jobs, homeownership, recovery. . .he shared how he is overwhelmed each morning with how his life has changed in the past year. Mike and his wife own a small mobile home in town and he asked me if I knew someone he could offer this home to while they were getting on their feet again. Today, someone who would have been homeless is living in the mobile home. Mike left by saying, "Who knew-from homeless to homeowner in a year!!!"
Emulating Christ. . .the words rang in my ears. As director of HOTEL, INC, I am so blessed to see this daily through our volunteers, staff, and many of our clients.
This is one of the reasons we do what we do. We are to share the love of Christ with whoever God puts in our path. And when one makes it, succeeds in getting his life back, we rejoice! And we continue to love on the others and let the Lord do His work. It can be hard, it can be frustrating at times, and we get weary at times. We are weak but HE is strong. It can be a learning experience for us which just makes us stronger in many ways . . .stronger in grace. . .something we all need to experience and this is experienced at the bridge and it can make a difference and that makes it all worthwhile. When we were thirsty, we were given grace. We should not withhold it from those who still thirst. Why do I and the others do this? Because Someone came down and gave us that ever quenching gift and never let us go. There there are those out there who need this touch, this drink of Grace.

Grace throws parties for returning prodigals without saying a word about their sins.
Grace pays everybody the same regardless of what time of day they began to work.
Grace restores dignity to whores that everybody else wants to stone.
Grace hugs the diseased leper (or aids patient) that nobody else wants to touch.
Grace looks past a person's behavior and sees the person for who they are in the eyes of God.
Grace is irrational to the thinker.
It is unfair to the judge.
Grace is foolishness to the achiever.
It is a waste to the selfish.
Grace is a mistake to the disciplinarian.
It is a shame to the religionist.
But it is a stream of water to the thirsty.
It's freedom to the imprisoned.
It is life to the dead.
Grace is rest for the tired.
It is another chance to the failed.
It is hope to the despondent.
It is a way out for the lost and a way in for those who can see the door.
Grace. It's not a theological premise.
It's not a doctrine.
It's not a philosophy.
It's not something to be balanced with anything else.
It's not even the most important thing.
It's the ONE THING - The Only Thing.
It's a Person-a Person who has held you in His heart before the first molecule existed and One who will never let you go.
Fielding GoHarvest
That's why.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Ten Things I Don't Do

I love to read other's blogs! People are so interesting! Some are serious, some are funny, many are insightful and inspiring and some just have really good ideas. One out of many ladies I like to read is Amy Sullivan. She is giving, she is funny, she has a real servant's heart and she has fun things on her site. One that inspired me to write this post. She actually got this idea from. . . well, I just let her tell you . . .

One topic Donald Miller talked about at the Storyline Conference was freeing ourselves from unrealistic expectations by making a list of all of the things we don't do.
Why hide our quirks and flaws? Embrace them.

Miller's point to this activity was to get us to accept things we don't do instead of wasting energy fighting them. Good point.

She said to be funny or serious or both, so here I go, just off the top of my head. . .

1)  I don't run. . .because it makes my knees hurt, makes me breathe hard and I'm just not in that big of a hurry to get anywhere.
2)  I don't watch television. (I'll let you guess why on that one;)
3)   I don't drive by myself outside of 50 mile limits. . .because I don't have a GPS and I don't do maps.
4) I don't eat cooked spinach. . .I think that is self explanatory.
5)   I don't chew gum. . .because it makes my jaws pop and snap which makes them hurt and when I was little, while chewing gum, someone told me I looked like a cow chewing cud. Well. . .a cow is not what I want to resemble!

6)  I don't smoke. . .because it smells bad, is expensive, yellows
the teeth, and ages the skin. (I don't need any more help with aging, thank you very much)

7)  I don't talk politics. (I pray about it and I vote, but I just don't want to be in those conversations)

8)  I don't watch football.  ("WHY?" I hear you asking. Because I don't get it and I have no desire to learn. Please don't hate me!)

9)  I don't memorize (I used to but the memory chips in my brain have all burned out)

10)  I don't tell jokes. . .because I will always crack up before telling the punch line. (Not good for joke telling)

11) I'm going to throw in an extra just because I can. I don't apologize for being weird. I might have in the past, but I have matured. Yes, you can be mature and weird at the same time.

There you have it. Ten, oops, eleven quirks and flaws of mine I used to not like admitting, but I embrace them now as just being a part of me. My quirks may make me weird. I like to think unique is a better description, but I can go with weird, because remember, I have matured;)

Yes, God can change us and make us stronger and He has with me in many areas.
But I do not believe being a football fan would make me any more pleasing in His sight and I am not ashamed anymore to say this. I embrace it.

I know we can love each other with the love of Jesus in spite of this ;)

SO, do you want to share with me some of your quirks?
Oh go on, let's not hide. Embrace them!

Monday, November 4, 2013

God Came To The Post Office

As many of you know, I have spent the last two years writing a book. I was never a writer, but God said to so I did.

After two years, I finished and mailed it off to the publishers. It never reached them. It was lost out there somewhere. I freaked out, for just a minute. Then I asked my prayer warriors to pray. They did. Peace came over me. I thought to myself, God is bigger than the postal service.

This book is His, not mine. He has directed this from day one. OH, the stories I could tell about that! But I will wait until another day. Because today God met me in the post office and I have to share.

I packaged up the book again along with all papers required by the publishing company and went into the post office again. This is a little post office run by one young woman. When she came into this position, I felt drawn to her and decided to try and have tiny chats each time I went in. This day she told me about her mother being sick and going into the hospital. I could see tears though they never fell. I told her about my mother and I could see the love this girl had for hers. I told her I would pray. I did.

As I had my hand on the door to leave, a gentleman walked in and looked right into my eyes and asked if I was a neighbor. I smiled, telling him I just lived up the road. Then he spied my envelope on the desk and asked about it. I told him what was inside. He seemed very interested, asking me all about it. I told him all about it, the book that started this whole journey for me, the ministries,  the writing, Greg, alcoholism. I could see tears even though they never fell. He shared with me that his dad had been an alcoholic.

He then preceeded to say a lot of nice things to me and then asked if he could pray for me. The young girl bowed her head too. I began to tremble inside as I knew this was a God moment. The gentleman took my hands and began to pray for me, for the ministries, for the book, for it's safe arrival and to be a blessing to all. The whole time I was there, no one else ever walked in.

He and I were complete strangers, yet he took the time to look me in the eye as he walked in and talked with me. He listened. He prayed. When I left I knew we were not strangers anymore. And neither was the young woman behind the counter. This pastor that walked in the door was her pastor and the Lord united the three of us right there in the post office. It was a holy moment.

I didn't want to write in the beginning but the Lord would not leave me alone until I obeyed. After stepping out in obedience, His desire became my desire. I have learned to trust Him at every step, every corner, every path of this book journey He has taken me on and it has deepened my relationship with Him even more than it had been. My hearts desire is for this book to be published. But if God had other reasons for me to write it than for it to be published, I will be ok with that, because He has blessed me so many times with incidents, people, prayers, with God moments galore, and has deepened my intimacy with Him, that all of this would be enough.

When I left the post office and got into my car, there were tears, and these tears fell. I was so grateful, so thankful for what God had just done. And for the fact that He loves me enough to see me in this journey and walk with me through it, even into a post office. As for my package, I have a good feeling it is going to make it's rightful destination this time.

I wondered last night about why would my first package have gotten lost. The address was correct, the postage was all correct. Today I ponder, hhmmm, I wonder if God delayed it so I would walk back into that post office this morning so I could find out about the young lady's mother and pray and so I would run into the pastor.  Maybe it was a test He was giving me, to see how I would react, to see if I would fall apart or would I lean into Him, giving it all to Him, because after all, it is His.

You just never know what or how God will show up. But I do know that we need to be always having our eyes and ears open, to not be so busy that we don't focus on others, to grow in our relationship with Christ each and every day so we will not miss those awesome God moments. Experiencing God on a daily basis is how we can grow stronger, grow stronger in our faith, grow stronger in our relationship with Him, grow stronger in life. Experiencing God on a daily basis, whether it's a great big God moment or a tiny one. . .with Him each encounter is a blessing, whether it's in our quiet time, whether it's in a church building or out in the world at a bridge, in the grocery store, in our back yards, or in a post office.

Lord, thank you for meeting us anywhere and everywhere. No matter where we are, there You are. May our eyes and ears always be open, always be in tune with You for experiencing You Father God, in the ultimate experience that we get to have every day. May we never miss a moment. And thank you Father, for loving us so, that you would give us You, give us Your son Jesus Christ, give us Your Holy Spirit, give us those holy moments and intimate moments. Thank you for letting us experience You....God.
In Jesus Name,

just a side note. . .A week ago my husband and I went for an evening walk down the street and around the corner, walking down to the end of that street. There is a little, white church there that we pass all the time. As usual, I had my camera with me and felt drawn to take a picture of the steeple. I smiled when the pastor in the post office today told me the name of his church. It is this one that I mention. And this is the steeple.
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