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This website detailing the spacecraft, Cassini’s, orbit around Saturn really fascinated me. So much time and effort went into the NASA mission, and the pictures are amazing. Now, I’m not a scientist – I just play one on television – so I tend to read technical articles like this from my own perspective.

Interesting Tidbit
Cassini lasted for twenty years in space before running out of fuel.

Cranky-Pants Observation
That means auto manufacturers here on Earth can darn well design a car that you don’t need to fill up with gas every week.

I Did Not Know This
Titan, a moon of Saturn, is covered in lakes of liquid methane.

Potential Cottage Industry
Ron Popeil may consider setting up a Nose-Plug Kiosk at Titan’s front door.

The probe has revealed much about Saturn, and the scientists reminded us, “Data from several instruments might reveal something completely unexpected.”

This is true of life’s trials, too, although it’s hard to see when we’re going through it.

One nugget of truth I learned the hard way is that people in pain just aren’t themselves. Dealing with physical pain or emotional issues can be wearing.

This is a long way to travel to make a point, but next time someone in your life is acting up and it’s out of character, remember: nobody lives in a Steady State all the time. Sometimes they experience a Big Bang of anger or depression. A little patience goes a long way, and there’s space enough for all of us.

This is a brutal time of the year for many people.  Reduced daylight.  The stress of the holidays and seasonal spending which can exacerbate financial woes.  Loneliness and more.

As much as I don’t love the busy-ness, I love Christmas music no matter how insipid my 18-year-old tells me it is.  Lights?  I love a well-lit tree.  Manger scenes?  Stars?  Cookies?  I’m your girl!

But I try to have a care for those around me who are less in love with the holiday season.  I keep my eyes open for people who may not have plans for Christmas day.  Our table seats 8 or 10 if we decide we really  like each other.  And you can always add auxiliary tables.

I do my best to share hope, to reflect light – especially those awesome Christmas lights.  Spread joy.  Fill the world with His Blessings.

–SueBE

 

What choices do you make every day that bring you closer to God?  For me, it is often a matter of spending time out-of-doors and feeling the wind on my face.  I’m not sure what it is about a cold wind that just feels right.

Perhaps you find God when you work with children, cook for a friend, or simply meditate.  Personally I think Heaven is as unique as the person who seeks it.

Take a step back from the hustle and bustle.  Listen for the voice in the wind.  Look for grace.  Feel the warmth of his love.  It is there for those who seek it.

–SueBE

Advent.  Often time we think of this as the season of peace.  But how good are we at seeking out peace?

If you spend any time on social media, you see plenty of evidence that we’d rather be right.  After all, we could scroll on past whatever offends us.  Instead, we stop and pick a fight.  As if anyone’s mind was ever changed by an argument on Facebook.

I’m not saying that we should let injustice go unchecked.  But there’s a huge difference between not picking an argument and enabling injustice.

Maybe just maybe this is a good season to relearn the difference.

–SueBE

The woman looked like she was seeing a ghost. “Joan?” she asked. She shook her head. “No, you can’t be. You must be her daughter.”

We were meeting up with my mother’s best friend outside a local theme park. The two hadn’t seen each other in thirty years, so my mother sent me over to see whether the woman in question really was Rita. That’s when she confirmed, as so many others had and have (before and since) my “remarkable” resemblance to my mother.

Only I have never seen it. I don’t have my mother’s large, deep-set eyes, with brow bones to die for. I don’t have her chiseled cheekbones. I’m a full eight inches taller than she is. She has auburn hair and eyes like polished cherry wood; I have dark brown hair and plain brown eyes. And yet those who have known my mother have always commented on our alikeness.

On our last visit to California, Mom showed me an old photo album: pictures of her mother, her uncles who served in World War One, and finally, her own graduation photo. And there it was. Bam! I saw myself in her at last.

In the last year, there have been a number of people I’ve not wanted to see myself in. I imagine this is true for everyone. It is especially true in recent weeks, with all the press about Roy Moore’s run for Senate. How could anyone support such a person? What was wrong with them? They seemed to me some new species of life form, so divorced from humanity as to be something that ought to be studied under a microscope.

And yet. I’m willing to bet that if I spoke to one of these people — maybe for minutes, maybe for days or weeks or years — I would find our point of commonality. I would see myself in them. Because, at some level, we are all the same. We are human.

I want you to think of a person or group of persons that you feel no kinship with. (Don’t kid yourself; we all have one. Or more.) Think about someone whose values, ideas and life has no intersection with your own, whose thoughts and feelings are as foreign to you as a place on a map so remote, you’ve never heard of it. Ho-Ho-Kus. Penetanguishene. Zwolfaxing.

Now think about this: You are more like this person or persons than you are unlike them. How can we bear ill will toward — essentially — ourselves? How can we refuse to see the similarities between ourselves and others? And, having seen them, how can we reject anyone, anywhere, anywhen?

I think that’s what makes hatred: fear. Fear of seeing ourselves as we look into the eyes of others. Fear of seeing that God made all of us, and we are one. Fear that we’re really not that different.

When my mother first saw me after my birth, she said it was “like looking into a mirror.” This Advent season, let’s challenge ourselves to turn the mirrors in the most unlikeliest of directions. Let’s try to see the junctures, the coinciding points, the commonalities. And if we still don’t like what we see, let’s ask the hard question — what is it in me that I don’t want to see?

When God sent His Son as a small babe into the world, he did it with great intention.  Here was our savior.  Here was the grace that we needed to finally find God.   Approach the manger with the intention of an open heart.  You will find what you need to carry His Love into our broken world.

–SueBE

 

For me, the holidays often seem like a loving time of year.  People are more considerate and think of the needy.  They hold doors open for each other.  They’re civil.

Still, this time of year is difficult for so many.  The invisible.  The unheard.  Those without power.

As you are selecting treats, wrapping gifts, and sending out cards, please take a moment.  Do something for those who have no voice.

That could mean making a small donation to an organization such as Heifer or Habitat.  Or maybe you’d prefer to work a shift at your local food pantry.  That’s a popular one here and slots for volunteers are already full.  But, and this one is really important, kids will be off school. This means that those who normally eat two meals a day at school may be doing without.  Consider putting together a special food offering.

Spare some love for those who have little or no power.  Bless them as God has blessed you.

–SueBE

I’d love to be thinner.  And my house.  I want it to be neat.  Social justice?  The environment?  Yeah, I hope things get better there too.

But the problem is that I realize that change require more than hope.  It requires action and we just can’t act to fix everything.  It just isn’t possible.

So what does change really require?  Desire.  Drive.  Determination.  If we have these things, we will work to make change happen.

This means that my house will probably stay messy but I’ll keep working for social justice.  One of the things that I’m doing is reading a book – Waking Up White by Debby Irving.  As a start to facing racism head on, our presbytery has asked everyone to read this book. And each church needs to host a conversation of some kind.

What kind of event will we host?  I don’t know.  We haven’t gotten that far but we are determined to do something and four of us have started planning our event.  Desire.  We’ve definitely got that.  Fortunately with four of us working together we’ll keep each other moving forward.  We think we can.

Where are your desire, drive, and determination focused?

–SueBE

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