The Guy with the Sign

Thoughts on Faith in Everyday Life

Terry Pluto


Inspiring short essays on faith in everyday life from Terry Pluto of Plain Dealer. Terry writes about dealing with a troubled adult child. An addict in the family. Coping with cancer. Loneliness. The death of a loved one. Life in a nursing home … topics that affect more people than the culture war issues dominating the news.

Softcover / 236 pages / 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN: 9781598511321


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

From Terry Pluto …

Faith writing is not a part of my job description. I do it because I believe God opened an amazing door in a major media outlet for stories such as the ones in this book. These are some of my favorite “Faith and You” columns from The Plain Dealer /, stories many readers responded to.

This is not a religion column. I don’t write about hot-button issues.

I write about everyday faith, 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. These are my topics, events that impact a lot more people than the culture war issues that dominate the news.

My column has more questions than answers sometimes, and often the answers come from someone other than me. Just like in real life.

From Readers …

“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.” — Elliot 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.

Additional information

Weight.61875 lbs
Dimensions8.5 × 5.5 × .503 in

Softcover, Softcover (Autographed)

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


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