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This is the kind of quote that cracks my husband up.  I am so not a morning person.

If I could start each day with a positive thought and a cup  of coffee at 9 am, I would be so happy.  So happy.

Oh, well.  It isn’t that I tend to start the day unhappy but I don’t wake up fast.  So more than anything, I start the day out of it.  I realized just how bad I am when we went on a family trip when my nieces were really small.  One of them got me up in the middle of the night to take her to the bathroom.

The next morning, my sister-in-law commented that she couldn’t believe the girls had slept through the night.  “I had to get up with . . . with . . . one of them.”  The funny thing was?  Whichever girl needed help could not remember getting up.  We still don’t know who I got up with.

Me?  I’m grateful every day that God has a soft spot for those of us who awaken only gradually.

–SueBE

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The way I’ve come to look at life is that the the sun is always shining somewhere. This approach helps me through the darker days. Even when it rains, I know the flowers are getting nourished, so there’s always a silver lining.

My son and I had to say farewell to our KitKat this week, so our hearts are heavy. The bright side is, he was here. He was loved. He knew he was loved. Kit had been a stray who found a way to trust a kindly lady who really doesn’t trust easily herself. He made himself at home with us, entertaining us with his 3 AM showing of “Stealth NinjaCat Tears Down Hall, Jumps Onto Bed and Sticks the Landing.”

He’d play mediator when he’d see me walk into my son’s room, remembering those mornings when Cole was in school and I had to raise my voice to wake him up. Everything okay here? KitKat would convey, bumping against my legs.

He’d speak, using the geography of various squares in the house like a Meow Map. If he sat on the bathroom rug, he was saying, Who’s up for a back scratching session? 

If he sat on the small washcloth I’d thrown onto the floor to soothe my aching feet (like John McClane in Die Hard, I’d make “fists with my toes”), he was saying, I’m here to comfort you, but also, you’ve put a square on the floor. You must realize all your base are belong to me. It was only six inches across, so my feet and his whole body would be co-existing on that tiny fabric. I have to believe he knew how much it would amuse me.

These little life forms are really a series of small hinges holding the whole structure of the world together, if you think about it. Micro-bursts of blessings that keep us going. We’re going to miss KitKat, but luckily, I’m one of those people who write blog posts about their pets, so I can always look back at those stories and smile.  Just as I wrote about my beloved dog, Sheena, when I lost her, beautiful times are the ones I’ll remember.

Lori definitely said it yesterday.  God is love.  He loves us and he loves them too.

It seems obvious, but as I work in social justice it is something that I have to continually remind myself. Recognizing what someone else doesn’t know is one thing.  It is easy enough to arm myself with the facts.  And, given my personality, that’s what I tend to do.  Arm myself. I am ready for whatever misinformation they throw at me.

But proceeding with love?  That’s a lot harder at least for me.  I may not be able to condone their perspective. It may be impossible for me to see things from their perspective.

Yet I can see them as a child of God.  Loved, flawed and fallible.

Just like me.

–SueBE

 

They say the wise man knows he knows nothing.
Though I am not wise, what I know could fit
on the width of a dime, on the lean edge
of a knife, on an atom. With careful cursive,
I could inscribe my life’s learning on the tittle
of an i. But what I know, I know boldly, down
to the soft center of my bones, a level so molecular
that the truth runnels into my porous soul
and mingles with my being. The truth is this:
Love is everything. It is quest and craft,
the only answer worth seeking, living and
dying for, chasing into strange lands and
distant ports. It is the only place to pin
your hopes, like stars on the blanket of the sky.
It is both work and worth of a lifetime.
But even greater: God is love.

 

It is all to easy to announce that we are totally okay with change and then start making demands.

Quit being intolerant.

Don’t be prejudiced.

We’ve all had enough of your assumptions. Stop it.

And quit using straws, get a Prius, become vegan … the list goes on.

But the moment that someone asks us to change, what?  I’ve already done this, this and that.  I do NOT need to change any more.  I am just fine the way I am.

Hmm.  When we talk like this, it sounds like we are claiming perfection in spite of the fact that, like all people, we are flawed.

If I want someone to change, I have to show them that I too am willing to change.  I know this.  Really I do.  But it is definitely something I need to work on because it is not the habit it should be.

–SueBE

Some quotes pull me in because it is something I need to remember.  “All things are passing.”

Yesterday was a day that really brought that home. Stan Lee passed away.  While he wasn’t a personal friend, his death has impacted our household.  My husband is a serious superhero fan.  He and our son go to Comic Con. He and I even took an online class from the Smithsonian, The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Pop Culture.  Lectures were pre-recorded and there was a series given by Stan Lee.  It was an amazing class.  The flawed hero?  That’s a Stan Lee creation, my friends.  Heroes who like other human beings are flawed.

Ever since I took that class, I’ve been playing around with graphic novel ideas.  When hero who has taken up residence in my head is based on a Mayan god.  I’d also like to write something for young Christian readers.  This is something my minister and I discuss.  We think the book of Judges would make an excellent graphic novel.  But I’d also like to engineer a Christian hero.

It may be time to rewatch those lectures.

–SueBE

Do you recognize the fruit in the photo?  If not, those are persimmon, the American version that you pick wild, not the version you find in Asian markets.  Pop an unripe fruit into your mouth and you will discover the most bitter, horrid taste on this planet.  It will pucker you up like nothing else.

But find a branch like this after the first frost?  They are truly amazing.  They have a full rich taste, a lot like an apricot but not quite.  Think of them as sunshine on a tree.

Why did I pick persimmon to illustrate this quote?  Sometimes our spirits are bitter and tough even when all around us is sunshine and green grass.  At other times, things may be cold but our spirits are sweet.  Like the persimmon, we need to spend time in the Light to reach this moment of sweet perfection.

–SueBE

 

Today is Veterans Day, a day to honor all those who have served in the military. I’ve always appreciated veterans, despite my doubts that it’s possible to bring about peace through war. It almost seems quaint to believe that noble ideals still define this nation, but one of the most important is being able to speak one’s mind freely.

When I read an article about a US navy ship being menaced by a Chinese destroyer recently, I thought, Uh-oh. They’re trying to provoke us into a war! Then I read between the lines:  “The U.S. Navy will continue patrolling the disputed South China Sea, a top Navy official said Monday, after a Chinese destroyer came dangerously close to an American Navy ship during a ‘freedom of navigation’ sail-by near a Chinese-occupied reef.”

Hmm. “Freedom-of-navigation sail-by” must be military-speak for, we’re going to buzz by your claimed territory and say You’re not the boss of me!

If the military is fighting to protect our way of life, maybe we can fight for them as well by questioning authority. They’re fighting for my right to say that I’m concerned for the safety of those soldiers and I wonder if it’s worth it.

As China continues to build its own islands to establish yet another military base, it makes me wonder. Are they doing this because we keep poking at them? Or are we poking at them because they keep adding to their arsenal?

A country, a company, a cause – all are strengthened when people have a right to speak freely. To me, that’s what this holiday signifies. We can speak up because they stood up. And for that, we owe them a debt of gratitude.

Yesterday, I watched a really interesting Ted Talk with Ozlem Cekic.  Cekic is the first Muslim woman to win a seat on the Danish Parliament. After a comment from a friend, she quit ignoring the racist e-mails she received.  She looked through them, having saved them in case something happened to her, and contacted the person who had written her the most often.  “Let’s get together for coffee.”

She intended to let him get to know her.  Her idea was that he wouldn’t hate her once he knew her.

And she was right but she received a surprise as well.  He was funny.  He was friendly.  He had a nice home.  He and his wife had the same coffee service her parents had.  She liked him.  He wasn’t anything like she expected.  In addition to broadening his limited beliefs, she got to broaden her own as well.

Today I find myself looking around and wondering.  How are my own beliefs about the people around  me limiting what I see?  How am I missing out on seeing that spark of God’s light simply because what I expect to see is something else?

–SueBE

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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