New from TERRY PLUTO …

The Guy with the Sign and Other Thoughts on Faith in Everyday Life by Terry Pluto

The Guy with the Sign

And Other Thoughts on Faith in Everyday Life

From Terry Pluto’s popular “Faith and You” column in The Plain Dealer/

Autographed copies — while supplied last!

What do you do when you see the guy with the sign asking for money on the street corner?

Do you offer to help … or look away, embarrassed? Is that guy worthy of charity … or a con artist? How can we know?

That’s one of many timeless topics Terry Pluto (“the sportswriter who writes about faith”) tackles in this fourth collection of his popular “Faith and You” column.

Terry doesn’t write about religion or the hot-button, culture war topics in the headlines.

He writes about everyday faith.

Things like dealing with “family mess” such as troubled adult children or an addict in the family … Coping with cancer … Coping with strokes …  Loneliness. … The death of a loved one … Dealing with life in a nursing home …

“My column has more questions than answers sometimes,” Terry says. “And often the answers come from someone other than me. Just like in real life.”

“Terry Pluto’s ‘Faith and You’ columns remind me that no matter the struggle we face, we are never alone.” — Neil O.

The Guy with the Sign

And Other Thoughts on Faith in Everyday Life

by Terry Pluto

Paperback book / 233 pages

The Guy with the Sign and Other Thoughts on Faith in Everyday Life by Terry Pluto
Terry Pluto autographs copies of his book "The Guy with the Sign and Other Thoughts on Faith in Everyday Life"

Autographed copies available — while supplies last …

Terry has pre-autographed books for sale via this website. To be sure of an autographed copy before the holidays, please order today.

“Terry is a wonderful sportswriter, but his faith columns are truly inspired. They always make me think about how I can be a better person.”

— Eliot T.
“I love how Terry connects ‘lived’ faith with everyday life using real life stories.”

— Mary D.
“Terry connects with readers and uses real examples about how to live our faith instead of just preaching about it.”

— Jason M.

Table of Contents

The Red Barn, The Super Bowl and My Cellphone

  • A black-and-white lesson from the old Red Barn
  • Does God care who wins the Super Bowl?
  • Does gambling impact the joy of sports?
  • Screaming: ‘Get off your phone!’ But what about me and my phone?

Dealing with the Tough Stuff

  • Did a phone call change your life—and your calling?
  • Should you call a dying friend? Rocky Colavito has some advice
  • It’s easy to get stuck in the ‘you owe me’ rut
  • Is rejection a self-inflicted wound?
  • Do you try to impress the wrong people?
  • All those sports gambling advertisements . . . How dangerous is it?

The Guy with the Sign

  • Is the guy with the sign worthy of charity—or a con artist?
  • That guy with the ‘homeless’ sign? Readers have ideas
  • Why are bad memories vivid, and wonderful ones elusive?
  • Don’t wait until tomorrow to start getting well
  • How can you show your faith at work? Do a good job
  • Things you probably won’t hear in most graduation speeches

Prayer, Heaven, God and You

  • Praying with a stranger on a plane
  • What are you afraid to pray for?
  • Will heaven open its gates for animals?
  • In need of a prayer? How about now?
  • A strange encounter on an early-morning flight

Parents and Us

  • My father did the best he could with what he had Pluto
  • The truth about our parents can be painful
  • Our mothers’ dreams: Joy, pain and a thankful heart
  • My dad and the purple car

Energy Vampires and Other Relationships

  • Feeling tired? Energy Vampires are exhausting.
  • What does a woman want? Ask her
  • How to ‘make up’ for lost time in a relationship
  • Haunted by the ‘What Ifs?’
  • People Pleasers: Before you say ‘Yes,’ consider this
  • Tired of trying to fix someone else’s life? Here’s how to stop.
  • Pets can help us cope

So This is Christmas

  • Christmas with my father at the Waffle House
  • Remember when there was no room at the inn in your life?
  • Ghosts of Christmas past and hoping for a joyous present

Can I Forgive Myself?

  • God may have forgiven her, but she still can’t forgive herself
  • Regrets are powerful, but so is forgiveness
  • Should we ‘cancel’ someone when we disagree?
  • Can we really forgive and forget something so painful?

Family Mess: We All Have It

  • Are you agonizing over your troubled child?
  • Instead of their last words, think of the life your loved one lived
  • Parents, read this regardless of your kids’ ages
  • Are we playing the parent blame game?
  • When a crisis brings healing

The Civil War and Us

  • In a roadside grave, a mystery about a Confederate soldier
  • Crossing Antietam Creek: Bridges to devastation as well as to recovery and forgiveness
  • The Fourth of July, a search for shoes and the Civil War

Special Places

  • Sunsets, God and Lake Erie
  • Finding answers in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
  • Far from home but closer to God
  • A scouting trip to the hills, a rushed wedding, a life lesson
  • A place that God created to remind us who’s in control

Special People

  • John Adams’s funeral and looking for the ‘Power of Today’
  • A teacher can change your life
  • Meet the Wayne Dawson you don’t know
  • A voice from the grave: ‘Be not afraid!’
  • The Arizona desert, Springsteen and experiencing God away from the concrete

Terry Pluto

Terry Pluto is a faith columnist and sports columnist for The Plain Dealer / and author of more than 30 books. He was named Best Sports Columnist in the National Headliner Awards in 2020 and the runner-up in 2022. He has been Ohio Sportswriter of the Year 11 times. He has also won an Amy award for his faith writing. He and his wife, Roberta, do volunteer work at Haven of Rest City Mission in Akron.

Terry Pluto, sports columnist and author of more than 30 books

Read an Excerpt …

Regrets are powerful, but so is forgiveness

It is easier to say ‘my tooth is aching’ than to say ‘My heart is broken.’” 

C.S. Lewis wrote that in his book The Problem of Pain.

When I have spoken in jails and elsewhere, I’ve often asked, “Do we learn more from pleasure or pain?”

The answer comes back quickly—pain.

I wrote about the March 10, 2021 death of Joe Tait, the Cavs’ broadcaster and one of my closest friends. Joe was in a lot of pain as he dealt with bladder and colon cancer, a major blood clot in his leg and kidney failure. He’d occasionally joke how he wondered what malady “would get me first.”

Most people don’t die of one thing unless there is an accident or tragedy. It’s a combination. Just as most of us don’t really lose our temper over one comment or incident. It’s a product of what happened during the day.

“Death by a thousand paper cuts,” is a phrase that comes to mind.

Or a thousand frustrations, even if it’s a few that repeat over and over.


When Joe and I talked about death, life and time running out, he insisted more than once, “I’m not afraid to die.”

It wasn’t a defiant statement. It wasn’t designed to sound spiritual because Joe said he wasn’t sure about God or an afterlife. It was almost as if he was reading the final score of a Cavs game as he was signing off his broadcast.

But part of what ached his heart was leaving behind his wife, Jean. She had been in an Alzheimer’s unit for more than five years. It’s been longer than that since she called him by name.

“Sometimes, she’d say ‘husband,’” said Joe. “But mostly, I was some guy who showed up every day at dinner time to help feed her.”

But even that was taken away when COVID-19 hit and visitors were kept out of extended senior living facilities. Most of us believe Joe kept Jean in his home for a few years longer than it was wise. He knew she was slipping away mentally and feared it would be worse if he wasn’t always there for her.

Joe was very thankful for his family and good friends. But there are always things we wish we hadn’t done or said. We talked about that in our lives. One of the subjects was how many parents beat themselves up emotionally for not always having “been there” for their kids. At times, that’s true.

But parents sometimes forget those children grow up and make their own decisions. We can’t “make” them do anything. …

The Guy with the Sign and Other Thoughts on Faith in Everyday Life by Terry Pluto

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