Anne Peterson

I write stories and goosebump poetry

“Stay on the Phone.”

I’ve spent a lot of my life in the in-between.

I should have a Master’s degree in waiting. My sister disappeared in 1982. We are still  waiting for some answers.

And though I’ve read books on the subject of waiting, none have taught me the value of it. Until now.

In his book, In-Between, Jeff Goins shows us how to wait. Not with 5 steps, or 21 days of how to, or even a checklist to follow.

No. He does it with stories. Stories he’s lived.

I love stories. So, little by little I followed him into his illustrations. I sat quietly and didn’t mind at all. I was on a quest. I wanted to learn how to wait well.

And funny thing. I learned more than I bargained for. I learned something I didn’t even know I needed. How to be thankful for the in-between.

But how he got me there is truly brilliant.

Jeff got me to see value in something I previously saw as insignificant, mundane or even painful at times.

I’ve tasted staying in the “now” moments. Moments we’re to savor where we are, and what we’re doing, or NOT doing.

Like the time I was on the phone with Shirley, an elderly woman. Shirley called looking for a Pete Peterson. While I apologized for not knowing him, I heard a nudge. A voice which simply said,

“Stay on the phone.”

I’ve learned to listen to those nudges. Because the one who gives them knows a lot. He knows everything.

Shirley was calling every Peterson in the phone book, one by one. Then she got me. And I listened.

Shirley wanted to invite Pete to her husband’s 85th birthday party. It was to be a surprise. Through the years they had lost contact with their friend.

My heartstrings were tugged as Shirley shared this might be her husband’s last birthday. Cancer had intruded their lives. The same cancer which had stolen my dad, cousin, and brother.

I prayed on the phone for Shirley. She started crying.

Our 10-15 minute phone call became a mission I chose to accept. Mission impossible.
Yet, impossibilities are God’s specialty. The party was in one week.

Days later, I shared the story while talking with a friend. She responded, “Oh, I know a Pete Peterson.”

Though our spellings differed, I still asked for his number.

Dialing I hoped he was the one. And talking to Pete, he thanked me over and over. God reunited three friends.

It all happened because I stayed in the moment.

Jeff Goins tells how he came to appreciate those waiting times, those “in-betweens.”

And now you have a choice.

You can keep white-knuckling those times of waiting. Keep enduring them when they come. Notice I said “when.” Or like me, you can learn another way.

As for me. I’m going to reread his book. Something I rarely do.

Now it’s your turn.

This book can change your thinking. You can learn to see the value in the here and now.

Order In-Between. You’ll be so glad you did.

I know I am.

About Anne Peterson

I write words you can feel, sometimes they rhyme. If I'm not writing, I'm telling stories from my head, to little ones who call me grandma.

32 Replies

  1. Beautiful tribute to a fantastic writer Anne and I loved the story about the stranger on the phone. Life has a way of working things out if we listen to the in-between messages.

    1. Thanks for reading Kath. I remember how excited I was that she found her Pete. I actually heard from her afterwards and the party was a success. Yay, God.

      I LOVE Jeff’s book. It is a pleasure to share it with others.

  2. Tricia Robertson

    Great job, Anne! LOVE how you shared the ways Jeff’s book spoke to you AND shared a moving personal story. Well done!


    1. Tricia,

      Thanks for reading and for your kind comments.

      1. Funny, I was just thinking of your story again today and came here to make a comment–then realized I already had! I loved your “stay on the phone” anecdote and it came to me again while I was grocery shopping today. You really should think about submitting it to Guideposts for their “Mysterious Ways” column. I love how the Lord works!

        1. Tricia,

          It felt good to know you were still thinking of my story again. Love your idea of submitting it to Guideposts. Thanks for the suggestion. I have been working all day on my book and really made some progress. I’m making sure the pieces are all interlocking correctly and that’s a challenge since I am not a puzzle person. 🙂

  3. Anne you have me in tears. What a touching story and a well done review of Jeff’s book. How many times do we miss an opportunity because of impatience? Thanks for you perspective!

    1. Tammy,

      Thanks so much for reading and for your comments. I was in tears too, when Pete became the best gift Shirley gave her husband.

  4. So touching, moving, Anne.

    I wish you could find some answers about your sister. I can’t imagine how painful that must be.

    God bless you and thank you for writing!

  5. Bryan,

    Thanks for reading it Bryan. I think we’ve pretty much accepted we have all the answers we’re going to get for now. We believe she’s dead. And we’re thankful that we have a relationship with her sons. I know she would have liked that. I will always miss her. Which goes without saying, but I wanted to say it anyhow. Now two of my brothers are enjoying her in heaven. And I will too, one day.

  6. Anne – don’t you love those nudges from the Lord. Wonderful post.

    1. Ian,

      Thanks for reading. Yes, I do love those nudges. They are such a reminder that he truly does have his eye on us. Some of the most remarkable things happen just because we are in tune with his Spirit.

  7. What a wonderful story, Anne. Thank you for reminding us how important the nudges are. And may God continue to give you peace in the midst of a waiting none of us can imagine.

    1. Kathy,

      Thanks for reading my piece. And thank you for your comments. If it wasn’t for the Lord, I wouldn’t have peace. Only God can give peace that passes understanding.

  8. The pic is terrific! What an added thrill to be able to use your own daughter’s pic. So happy for you and Jessica.

    This is an outstanding example of hearing the voice, responding to it, and bringing the Kingdom of God into our midst. Well-done and well-written, Anne. Thanks for the blessings you brought to me.

    1. Brad,

      Thanks so much for reading, and for your thoughtful comments. There is nothing like hearing God’s voice and responding to his nudges.

  9. Those nudges! I have finally learned to pay attention and act accordingly.
    What a delightful story! I love how God used you to bring those folks together. Thanks for bringing more joy into my day!

    1. Kim,

      Thanks for reading and I’m so glad you liked the story. It is one of my favorites to tell. We never know what is on the other side of those nudges, but He does.

  10. Anne, thank you for sharing your story. It is a good reminder to listen to the nudges in life.

    1. Pamela,

      Thanks for reading. If only we would be quiet enough to hear the nudges.

  11. “Stay on the phone…” love the title. At first I hopped that you were going to say it was news about Peggy. But bringing strangers together, I expect nothing less from a kind person as you, Anne. Did you go to the b-day party too?

    1. Patricia,

      Thanks for reading and your comment. I thought I had replied, but it doesn’t look like I did. In answer to your question, “no.” I might have gone if invited, but that wasn’t to be. Shirley did meet with me at a McDonalds a week or two afterwards. She wanted to give me a gift. A beautiful, expensive statuette of an angel, it’s what she called me.

  12. lornafaith

    Anne…love your own beautiful story of waiting on the phone. We never know do we what might happen in what seems like ‘insignificant’ waiting moments? I’ve experienced some of those myself…and was glad I listened to the ‘nudge.’ Awesome post!

    1. Lorna,
      Thanks for reading it. And you’re right, we never do know what might happen. Glad to hear you’ve also experienced some of those God nudging times. They really excite me. Thanks for your encouragement.

  13. Wow, sounds like a great book. I enjoyed his other book so I might have to check this one out too. Thanks for the great story and recommendation!

    1. Caleb,

      Thanks for reading. Truly, In-Between is one of my favorite books of all times. It will resonate with everyone because all of us have to wait. We just choose how we’re going to. I am telling everyone I know about this book.

  14. I’m so glad you listened to that still, small voice. What a wonderful example of how God allows us to participate in the most beautiful stories of all.

    1. Tracy,

      Thanks for reading. Every time I respond to that still, small voice I’m glad. Every time. I totally agree, it’s a privilege to be able to participate in one of His stories.

  15. Wonderful in-between story, Anne! I already want to re-read Jeff’s book, too. I imagine we can keep learning since life is filled with waiting.

  16. Laura,
    Thanks for reading. I know I’ll be rereading his book for sure. Thanks for your comment too.

  17. Kathleen,

    Loved how you included everyone in your post. And thanks for all the kind words.

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