How do you decide whether to help someone who stops you on your way into or out of the store or tries to get your attention from the corner while you are stopped for the light?

The sad thing is that you often can't tell those genuinely in need from the ones out there just trying to make a "fast buck."

Sometimes I am moved to help. But when they accost you claiming hunger, while smoking a cigarette, I can't help but wonder just how hungry they really are. And I am reminded of the meal they could have purchased for the price of one pack of smokes.

Yes, it can be hard to quit. I know, because I quit back in '91, way before cigarettes rose in price to what they are today. Even so, I think if I was to have to choose between them and food and was that bad off, I'd choose to eat.

I have, from time to time, helped someone. Some have been genuinely appreciative, while others were not satisfied with what I could offer.

Several years ago, when I was serving on the board of CAN, we started looking into finding a solution, but the obstacles were too great. There has to be a solution, but it seems like anytime you come up with an idea, there is always a blockade. And NIMBY - "Not inMyBack Yard!" is the biggest one.

Got any ideas?

Things will be a bit different at Grace Lutheran Church tomorrow. The contemporary and traditional services will be combined into one service beginning at 10 a.m.

The preschool at Grace will be welcoming a new director in September. Dr. Elloise Carroll comes from the state of Washington, bringing extensive experience with preschools.

And the school is now open for enrollment.

There will be a bake sale Sunday, Sept. 7, following the 10:30 a.m. service at New Life Community Church at 2nd and D.

The floor is in need of refinishing, and it's been there a long time! You may be aware that this church was once the DMV here, so that floor has had a lot of traffic. The ladies of the church have been working to raise funds to accomplish the task.

On Friday evening, Sept. 13, there will be a potluck at the church at 5 p.m. followed by the movie "Gifted Hands" at 6 p.m.

It is the true story of how, as an underprivileged, angry young man, Ben Carson turned his life around to become the well-known, gifted neurosurgeon he is today.

All are welcome - just bring something to share for the meal and enjoy good fellowship and the movie.

School is just about to start, so we need to remember to stay extra alert as we drive about town. Kids don't pay attention as much as they should, so many of them walking along, noses buried in their cell phones, often with earphones, so they are not hearing as well, either. We are just going to have to be the ones watching out for them.

Please continue to keep folks in the Middle East in your prayers. For so many of them, life is literally hanging in the balance.

To contact Martha Williams, call 460-3000, or email