frozen wave against sunlight
Inspirational Writings

Don’t Ignore God’s Nudge

We’ve all had them. You know the ones. Those times we feel compelled to do something or call someone, and we don’t understand why. I call them “God’s Nudges,” and I never took them seriously until five years ago this week.

This particular nudge was one of the most significant nudges I’d ever received, and it made me see life in a whole new way. All because God nudged me to go to Panera for a free bagel. This may sound inconsequential, but trust me, it was a pretty big nudge in my life.

I was so moved about all that had happened in that short two-week span in July five years ago that I wrote a post about it. Once again, I feel the nudge to share this post so that others may act when God nudges them.

Read on, and you’ll see what I mean.

We’ve all heard about intuition and “just having that feeling.” Sometimes we act on this, but more often than not, we ignore it. Then later, we realize we should not have done that because God was trying to tell us something.

Two weeks ago, my husband and I were visiting our family in Ohio. Our extended family lives in Northeast Ohio, so we stopped to see them for a few days before heading down to Columbus to see our daughter and son-in-law. Our parents live about forty-five minutes apart, so we usually spent time with each of them individually.

While I was staying with my parents, I woke up Friday morning to find an email from Panera Bread that I could get a free bagel every day for the entire month of July.  Awesome!  I’d have to take advantage of that when I got back home.

However, as I was getting ready for the day, I kept having “the feeling” that I needed to go to Panera that morning.  My mom had Cheerios and other things I could have had for breakfast, but I felt God “nudging” me toward coffee and my free bagel.  My mom put in an order for a bear claw and cinnamon roll, and off I went to Panera.

I walked into the restaurant and was wonderfully surprised to see my aunt and uncle standing there ordering their breakfast. (I must say here that when we make our quick trips to Ohio, we don’t have the time to see everyone, and this was one of those times.) I called my mom and told her that their breakfast delivery would be a little late because I was going to stay and have breakfast with my aunt and uncle. I hadn’t seen them since my daughter’s wedding in February 2015.

We had a wonderful hour of catching up on how everyone was and what everyone was doing. My uncle has been researching our genealogy and told me we actually had relatives in Canada and Scotland. They talked of how they would like to make a trip to Scotland to meet them someday.  

My aunt had worked for Avon Book Publishing, so I told her how I’ve started writing my first novel. She said most of her contacts were probably retired, but if I needed an editor, she’d be happy to take a look at my book. We talked about how self-publishing was the way to go now, and again she offered her assistance in any way she could to make my dream a reality.

After we finished our breakfast, we had hugs all around and promised to see each other again when we went up to Ohio, or they came down our way.

Fast forward to yesterday, and I didn’t know how much God’s nudge meant until the phone call I received from my mom last night. My aunt passed away yesterday in a car accident.  As I am writing this, I still cannot believe it. We will soon be heading back to Ohio to say goodbye to my aunt and to support my uncle and three cousins left behind. No amount of comfort and words can ease their pain, but we will all gather around them and support them as best we can.

My aunt was the youngest of six children. Two of my uncles had already passed, and she said to me on that Friday that she felt it would be her responsibility to look after all of us cousins and keep us in contact with each other as her older siblings began to pass. I know that most of us will be together to say goodbye to her this week, but I’m sure this “contact” is not what she had in mind.

So, for now, I hold on to the fact that if God had not “nudged” me to go to Panera that day, I would not have had a wonderful breakfast with my aunt and uncle. Rest in Peace, Aunt Jetta, until we meet again.

As you can see, this was a huge nudge that God gave me, even though it didn’t feel like it at the time. If I hadn’t followed through, I would have missed out on that special breakfast with my aunt and uncle.

July 12, 2021, will mark five years since her passing. On the day of her funeral, twenty of the twenty-one cousins were there. She met her goal, just not in the way she’d planned.

I have since gone to complete my Hope Springs Romance Series, and I am now experiencing the nudge from God to alter my plan once again. I’m feeling called to help other up-and-coming authors realize their dream of becoming an indie author through my business, JLSkinnell Editing & Proofing.

Don’t ignore God’s nudges. He does this for a reason.

Inspirational Writings

What Children Can Teach Us About Diversity

NOTE: I published this blog in June 2016 on my other site, The Rambling Quilter, before I began writing travel blogs, and five years later it’s still relevant.

Lessons Adults Can Learn From Children

Another year of preschool is over for many children.  It brought me back to last year when I finished my last year of teaching after nine years.  I let my mind wander over those nine years and what I learned.  I’m sure I learned more from the kids than they learned from me.  I taught three-year-olds.  This was their first experience with school, and for many, it was their first experience away from their parents.

Our school was very diverse in cultures, backgrounds, and languages spoken.  I often wondered how a child must feel leaving their parent(s) for the first time to come to an often unfamiliar place.  And if they couldn’t understand a word the teacher was saying, no matter how comforting, it must have been even scarier.  But I was humbled that the parents thought enough of us to trust us with their little one.

The speech I gave the parents at the beginning of the year was that we would be teaching their children life skills like how to walk in a line, be responsible for their own area, sit and listen to a story quietly, and be respectful of others’ property and feelings.  We also introduced the academics through play and our daily projects.  By the end of the year, most children knew some, if not all letters, could count, could cut with scissors, and were working on writing their own name.

However, some of the most important skills the children learned didn’t come from me or my assistant.  They came from each other.  They learned to tolerate each other’s differences.  Here are some examples.

There Are No Language Barriers With Children

One year we had two little girls who just happened to be the smallest in our class by about a foot!  We called them our little peanuts.  One little girl spoke English and the other spoke Spanish.  They couldn’t understand the other’s language.  But somehow, over the course of the year, they were able to communicate with each other through drawing, playing, and other cues only they understood.  We, and the other children, had no idea what they were communicating to each other, but they did.

Handicaps Don’t Exist With Children

Another year, we had a little boy who had severe spina bifida.  He used a walker to get from class to class, but in the classroom, he was able to move around without it, although he was a little unsteady on his feet. The other children in the room had most likely not seen a child with a walker before.  But that didn’t matter to them.  They helped him if he needed something, got his walker if he needed it, and made sure there was nothing in his way as he moved around the room.  They wanted to make sure he didn’t fall.  He moved during Christmas break to another state, and when we all came back to school, they all wanted to know where he was because they missed him. The time he was in our classroom, the children all learned compassion for another who may not be like them.

Children Have Compassion

One year, on the first day, we had a little boy who was having a hard time separating from his mommy.  We tried everything we could to console him and try to take his mind off missing his mommy.  Unfortunately, there was a language barrier, so he couldn’t really understand what we were saying.  One of our little girls, who also didn’t speak his language, asked me why he was crying.  I told her he missed his mommy.  She went over to him and sat beside him.  She started rubbing his arm and quietly told him, “it’s okay, our mommies are going to come back for us.”  She stayed there rubbing his arm until he finally fell asleep on the pillow.  Compassion at its finest.

Children Don’t See Skin Color

We had two little boys in our class who both happened to be of the same skin color.  One of the boys was born here in America, but the other one had been adopted from Uganda.  They hit it off right away and played together most of the time.  One day I was putting up pictures I had taken of the children as they did different activities around the classroom.  One picture I had taken was of these two children helping each other complete a puzzle.  They looked at the picture, and then one said to the other “hey, we have the same color skin!”  They had played together for months, but it took a picture for them to realize this!

The Lesson From The Kids

People are people, no matter what.  Kids get that.  Something we should all think about.