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I’ll admit.  I had to think about this one a bit.  As a leader, you have to have some clue what the crowd is up to.  But truly?  You have to be willing to turn your back on them periodically and do your thing.  That could be conducting the orchestra, creating a new policy, or seeking out ways to make connections with new groups of people.  You can’t do any of these things well if you are constantly trying to be the favorite.  Nope.  You have to be willing to strike out and lead.


Admittedly, it is easiest to get God’s message, and get it right, when He’s super specific.  Give me words and give me the details, Lord!   But there are many times when I get a nudge.  Or something that is oh so subtle and quiet – a feeling.

These messages are just as important but in the business of my life, I wonder how many of them I miss.  I think I’m going to go sit in the other room and finish a knitting project.  Knitting is a great time to sit and listen.


Photo by Marc-Antoine Dépelteau on Unsplash

The headline said that the Pope was going to Latin America to “Build Brides.” Thought it meant he was going there to recruit nuns. Interesting. Wonder how they do that. Not to be sacrilegious, but do they have a holy headhunter there, and interviews? Maybe there’s a signing bonus. Sipped my coffee. Paused a moment.


I read it again.

“Build Bridges.”


That makes more sense.

I’d read it wrong and built an erroneous narrative.

And I thought… do I do that with people too?

Read them wrong, that is. As we all do, I make assumptions based on next to nothing.

I’ll form an opinion based on:

  • Someone I used to know who looked like that
  • The way they pronounce “often” – I prefer silent “T”
  • They’re wearing a choker and I hate stuff tight around my neck
  • Their apparent age in relation to my age

There’s a reason some in our age group emphasize and stretch out the word this way: Millennnnniiiiiallllls… It comes from ambivalence about aging.

The hardest life lesson to learn is that you don’t get higher on the happiness scale by popping someone else’s balloon.

Put-downs don’t lift you up. In fact, they make you appear smaller than you really are.

Come to think of it, we could use a bridge here and there. Between Millennials and older folks. Between people of different religions and political persuasions. Between people with good intentions and those throwing stones because they feel they’re not being heard.

What do you say we build a bridge and meet in the middle?



I’d love to say that I always see the best in people, but it isn’t true.  Fortunately, my yoga class is a constant remember to look for it.  We end each class by wishing each other “namaste.”  Literally translated, the Sanskrit means “I bow to you.”  Liberally translated, it is a greeting to God within your fellows.  Our instructor translates it as “the God light in me recognizes and greets the God light in you.”

Looking for the light of God in others.  That’s a really good way to see the best in them.  And we really do manage to see what we look for so why not look for the best?



Choir was a little painful tonight.  We needed to work or way through four different anthems but we spent quite a bit of time on one.  Why?  Because one section had learned their part wrong.  They had sung it wrong in the past. Our new choir director patiently had them repeat those two measures again and again. She understood that letting go of the wrong way of doing it and relearning the right way is much harder than learning the right way the first time around.

Why take so much time?  Because music is our offering to God.  It is definitely worthwhile to give him the very best we can offer.

What mistakes do you need to root out of your life?  We all have something and, although it may seem difficult, it is worthwhile if it means giving our best.



When I was a kid, time passed slowly. A single day at school — a single math class! — could drag on into eternity. Sure, some things went too quickly — Christmas, summer. But for the most part, time was inexorable: When would I finally be done with school? When would I be a grownup? For Pete’s sake, what is taking so long?

Nowadays, time flies by me in panic-inducing rushes. How is it Thursday already? What happened to October? Wait — what do you mean your little boy is a college graduate? Wasn’t he a baby last week? If I could just reach out and stop time for a minute, just a minute…!

It’s enough to give a girl vertigo. (Or, in this case, a middle-aged woman. But wasn’t I a girl just yesterday?)

A strange old woman
haunts my mirror. I do not know her.
A thief has stolen thirty years of my life.
His crime goes unpunished.
God gave me a bag of time;
I just now noticed it has been leaking.
What to do to stanch the hemorrhage?
Make a mindful moment. And another.
String them like beads. Feel them
with your fingers. Then let go.
God will catch the train as it leaps from the trestle.
On that day, there will finally be enough time.

Human beings are fallible.  We prove that on a daily, or sometimes on hourly, basis.  Yet, we so often choose another human being as our touch stone.  When that person fails us, we feel lost.  We get angry.  We pitch a fit.

I truly think that’s half the reason we feel so shocked when our idols stray.  How dare they mess up when we are looking to them for guidance?

But people stray.  Check out the book of Judges and see how often “the people sinned in the eyes of the Lord.”  I’m always a little surprised that the author didn’t add “again.”  The people sinned in the eyes of the Lord AGAIN.

So why do we keep looking to each other to guidance when we have God?  God who stuck by Israel?  God who hears our prayers?  God who shows us the way if only we will remember to listen?





Years ago, I contemplated the life of a friend. One of her children had just gotten out of the hospital.  I don’t remember why but she’d had to have throat surgery. Her son, who was about six, had been diagnosed diabetic.  And if you managed to get her on the phone, all was good. Me? I’d have probably crawled under the bed and refused to come out.

But she is one of those glass half full kinds of people.  Not only is the glass half full, but she’ll notice if she happens upon something to fill it the rest of the way. She’s got a can-do spirit.

Can do people like my friend see the opportunities.  They spot the possibilities.  And with each one they see, more appear.

What a blessing!   And I’m truly grateful for all of the people God has gifted with a can-do spirit.  These opportunity makers are angels among us. Thank you, God.



Recently, we’ve been working as a congregation to discern God’s plan for us.  Discernment is tricky.

We want our marching orders to involve the things that we consider our strengths.  Studying Judges has brought home for me that that is not how God works.  The people God picks are often too unsure to be military leaders (Gideon), to tangle-tongued to speak publicly (Moses), and just too self-centered to be religious leaders (Mathew the tax collector).

And yet, these are the people God chooses.  From day-to-day they may not have known what the big picture was.  They just knew what God wanted them to do.  Now.  Tomorrow? That wasn’t always entirely clear.

But that’s okay.  Step by step, we can build something grand.  We just have to hear the instructions.



Have a Mary Little Christmas

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