I was blow drying my hair, and blond hair was floating around me like feathers. I feared I would have very little hair left when I was done. I thought about my trip to speak that I was leaving for the next day. What would I do if I washed my hair the morning I was to speak and as I blew it dry it kept flying away until I was left bald? (Good job I retired, not a great confession from a hairdresser)
I had been highlighting my hair for a while, but thought I would blond it all over to an ash blond and see what it looked like. When you lighten from a dark level 5 all the way up to the lightest level 11 or 12, it has the potential to do strange things to hair, but the worst of it was overlapping pieces that had been blonded before. Those were the ones that were flying away. I just wanted enough of it to be left that when I went to speak I wouldn’t look like a half pecked chicken.
For safety measures I stopped at a senior friend’s house on the way through the next town and borrowed a new wig she had just bought. I relaxed a little.
I got up the morning I was to speak, showered, and blew dried my hair. More hair was flying. I took a deep breath and looked in the mirror. There was still enough left. I combed it into the nice little short style I had cut it into the day before and happily left the house.
I was sitting at the head table feeling honored with the position when the special feature was announced. The lady was talking about wigs. Perfect, I thought.
The lady spoke about the wigs and then it was my turn. I started my talk with, “I have never needed or wanted a wig until yesterday.” I told them a short version of the story and everyone laughed. What a great ice breaker.
I have a daughter who I recognized was gluten intolerant when she was five. We struggled with this for years because back when she was young there wasn’t much known about it. One thing that would throw things off was someone new cooking for us. One person cooked the dressing in the turkey and a week later used a new spice in a recipe both times making my daughter retreat to her room for three days. I was baffled at times because we thought we had it figured out and then she would be out of commission again and we wouldn’t know why. I also wasn’t feeling real good myself so I was trying the gluten free diet to see if I could get feeling better.
I arrived at a speaking engagement in Regina and right when I sat down the lady beside me said, “See the lady at the piano, we ask her to come and play for us a lot but she usually can’t, but she’s here tonight. She used to work at the hospital but her job was cut. Then she wrote a book and now she’s been on radio, TV, and in the newspapers and spends a lot of time in the United States.”
“What is her book about?” I asked.
“You know when people can’t eat wheat?” she said.
“Gluten intolerance?” I asked, I’m sure I sounded a little shocked.
“Yes, that’s it.” she said.
“I would love to go and speak with her,” I said.
“Go ahead,” she coaxed.
I walked up to the lady as she finished playing a song and handed her a piece of paper with my phone number on it and said, “I would love it if you would phone me sometime.”
“Are you gluten intolerant?” she asked.
“Possibly,” I said, “but my daughter is for sure.”
She handed me her card. It had a picture of her on one side and her book on the other.
After I was finished speaking this lady came over to me and told me she felt she was supposed to hear me speak because her life was very similar to mine.
A few days later she called me and I learned a lot from her on the phone. I learned that her book had lists of foods and additives that gluten was hidden in. I bought her book within a few weeks. One of the most significant things I learned from this book was that the rice milk we were using was processed with barley (gluten). That was so helpful. Exactly what we needed right when we needed it.
One of my daughters was living in Regina, quite a few years later, and was hunting for a job. She was hoping to work at a gym or a tanning salon. I was hoping not to have to pay another month’s rent. We prayed and agreed that God would find her a job.
Within a few weeks I went to speak in Regina again and the woman sitting across from me owned a gym. She had just sat down from giving her special feature talk when I asked her if she was hiring. She said “No, we have just hired a few ladies.”
After I was finished speaking the woman met me at the door and handed me her card. She said, “Have your daughter send me a resume.”
So I did, and my daughter went to work for her. It wasn’t long and she was moved up into the manager’s position. I read my daughter’s Christmas card from the gym owner a year later. It said, “I’m so glad I met your mother.”
That gave me chills, good ones. I was proud of my daughter and excited because of how it all happened.
As I travel to speak, I often stayed with people who like to write, belong to writer’s groups, or have authors and illustrators as friends who I get to visit with.
One time I needed some help with a legal/financial situation and I ended up staying with a woman who worked for Legal Aid and her husband was an accountant. My situation was resolved very quickly after that. On one trip though the arrangements were meant for someone else.
My friend Julie had traveled with me quite a few times. She had family up in northern Saskatchewan, so she traveled with me on my trips to Prince Albert, Melfort, and Nipawin. She has daughters in Winnipeg and traveled with me there a couple of times as well. One day she called me up and said she felt like God was telling her to be my traveling partner. I said, “I feel that way too.”
She said, “Where are you going next?”
“Bemidji, Minnesota.” I said.
“I would love to go to Minnesota.” she said, “both sets of my grandparents are from there. I don’t even have to go to their hometown, I would just like to see Minnesota.”
I had my map open on my bed when she called. “What is the name of the town? I asked.
“Bagley,” she answered.
“We will drive right through there,” I said.
So Julie went with me to Minnesota. On the way through Bagley, heading for Bemidji, we decided to turn a corner and see if we could find the church Julie’s grandfather helped build. First corner we took, within the first two blocks there it was.
I spoke in three places and we were on our way home through Bagley again two days later. It was 11:00 am. I said, “Do you want to stop here for lunch?”
“Sure,” Julie said. To make a long story short, the waitress was a relative of Julies, and Julie was able to talk to the girl’s mother on the phone. They talked about the history book they had both received the summer before and who they were in it.
So how many coincidences equal God? I hope you see what I see.
Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV) A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps
Romans 8:28 (NKJV) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Maggie Mae was not my first nickname but I’m glad it was the first one that stuck. In 1979-80, the Rod Steward song Maggie Mae was being played quite frequently on the radio and I guess the young man I was dating figured Maggie Mae would work better for me than Marjorie because this was his Mother’s name as well. I liked it from the first time he said it.
When naming my hair business in 1984, I was told that naming it with a different name than Marj would be more difficult and cost more, so I went with Marj’s Hairstyling. The people in our area got used to calling me Marj again, except for those closest to me who continued to call me Maggie.
In 2001 my children were eight, twelve, and fifteen and in need of a summer program. Events were happening around me and I could see a plan for a summer youth group unfolding. It included weekly get togethers with a group of lively kids, games, swimming parties, bonfires, singing, and two big events, one including a motorcycle gang (group really, I don’t think they call themselves a gang)
I could see the plan but I wasn’t sure I was supposed to lead it, so I asked God if he wanted me to. The next day I went to church and on the front of the weekly church paper, that was handed to me at the door, sat a motorcycle. I took that as my answer, “Yes.” We got the summer program into full swing.
There is more to this story, it will be called Letting in the Light. Today I want to focus on the name Maggie Mae. So, to continue, in July I was on the phone with the wife of one of the bikers. I was concerned about how many people would show up for the motorcycle event. The lady on the other end of the phone said “Don’t worry. The people God wants to be there will be there.”
After I hung up, I went to church and as I entered the building I was handed one of our weekly church papers. On the front of the paper sat a man and a woman on a motorcycle and above it was written “Maggie’s Love Story” I will add the cover here when I get approval. I knew then, that the lady on the phone was right. God was in charge of who came out to the event. I read the story, Maggie’s Love Story, when I got home, and her life was very similar to mine. Over one hundred and twenty people turned up for our motorcycle event.
A couple of weeks later we went to our sister church in Carnduff, SK to hear a missionary speak. The pastor took me aside after the meeting and told me they had planned to pray for Neil, if he had come, but they wanted to pray for us anyway. Neil had just been diagnosed with leukemia. A group of people gathered, and they went around the circle praying. “I want to pray for strength for Marj and her children and healing for Neil,” and the next would be, “I want to pray for Marj and her family.” When they got to the missionary, he read a bible verse and I felt my faith being lifted and then He said, “I want to pray for strength for Maggie.” I looked up at him. He said, “That is your name isn’t it?” I said, “Yes.” No one had called me that but him. Ladies named Margaret are often called Maggie, but I hadn’t heard anyone other than me with the name Marj being called Maggie. I asked him after, and he didn’t know why he had called me that.
Nearing the middle of August, Neil and I took the girls to Dauphin to the Jesus Manitoba Fest. It was a great weekend, but it was really hot. I was concerned about Neil. I could tell the leukemia, and the heat were wearing him out. Driving home, I began to feel very tired. I looked over at Neil he had finally fallen asleep and I didn’t want to wake him up. I was about to turn the corner to drive the last nine miles when I started feeling really tired. I said this prayer in my head, God please do something to wake me up, and especially that last mile and a half or two when you know your home and you can fall asleep even easier. I added but please don’t make it a deer because I had hit one recently and almost totaled my car.
I rode along trying to concentrate on the road and the radio, my eyes feeling very heavy. (Don’t worry I’m committed to never driving like this now) About two miles from home a song came on the radio. The song had the name Maggie in it multiple times and she lived in a small town and wore a gold cross around her neck. It was uncanny how much the song was about me. I wanted to wake everyone up in the car. But I didn’t. (I will add the lyrics here when I get permission)
When we got home, I told my oldest daughter about the song and in the morning we talked about it again. Her words were “Yeah... but eww... mom.” She took the name of the song and looked it up on the internet for me and printed out the lyrics. (My daughters reaction would be totally the opposite today, it would be more like, well didn’t you expect something like that?)
So I say “God calls me Maggie” and I believe this is part of the reason why he does, there is another Marjorie Holmes, she is a well published Christian author and I can’t use that name as a writer. People will mention her when I go around the country speaking, she is very well known. So my writing name is Maggie Mae Holmes.
Some people would say that I’m very specific about telling God what I want. Yes, I am. The Bible tells us in Mark 11:24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.(There are stipulations of course but Jesus sounds like He wants us to be specific, whatever things you ask.)
It’s pretty hard to believe you receive them if you are not specific about what them is.(I know that is bad grammar.)
Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do super-abundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.
God is not stingy with His love and His help.
Hebrews 11:6 (AMP) But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
One more verse that fits here and then I’m finished I promise. Oops and a bit of commentary.
John 10:3(AMP) The doorkeeper opens [the gate] for this man, and the sheep hear his voice and pay attention to it. And [knowing that they listen] he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out [to pasture].
Yes, it is fine with me that I am His sheep and He is my good shepherd, so to speak. Learning how to be led by God has been a journey in itself but I love the mystery that goes along with it. The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want......