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I absolutely love the sound of water – rain in the patio roof, water trickling and flowing.  I don’t want to be IN water. I loathe swimming in spite of the fact that my son is a swimmer and life guard.  But the sound of water?  Love it.

Sometimes I wonder if this is something hard-wired into our psyches.  Water is essential for life.  When astronomers study far off planets, the check the temperature and look for signs of water.

The wondrous pitter, patter means life.  That trickling sound means life-giving water.  A gift from God on a rainy day.


At the produce market, I got in line behind a lady holding a single avocado as if it were a precious gem. “Perfectly ripe,” she said lovingly. “Hardly ever happens!”

We started chatting, and I asked her what avocado tastes like. “Never tried it,” I said.

She looked at me, mouth agape. “That’s like saying you’ve never had an apple! You’ve never had an avocado? How can that be?!?”

Amused at her sweet befuddlement, I went on. “And I’ve never tasted guacamole either!”

She was aghast. “Oh, you must try it! It’s so easy to make. And you’ll love it. I promise!”

Now mind you, I’ve been offered guacamole at a party. And I’ve been near avocados, certainly. At the store. At friends’ houses. I mean, I’ve been avocado-adjacent.

I think I made up my mind when I looked at guacamole for the first time: I’m not gonna like that. Its insides are an unsettling shade of green. Chartreuse? Not something I’m intending to ingest.

The same thing with crustaceans. I’ve never had oyster, crab or lobster in my life. I got it into my head that I wouldn’t like the texture.

One day when I suddenly get rich (Might happen. Could happen. Yep.) I’m probably going to HAVE to eat lobster. Probably some kind of rule. That, and caviar. Tiny fish eggs? Yes, but why? Cuz they taste like salt? Why not eat a potato chip instead?

Now, I have to wonder: Have I done that with people I’ve met? Those times where I’ve made a snap judgment about someone based on next to nothing and decided not to trust them. Or maybe the set of someone’s face rubbed me the wrong way. Being aware of this all-too human habit may be a step in the right direction.

My left eye is trying to tell me something. Apparently, I have displeased it. The lid is red and swollen, probably signifying an allergic reaction. Into the trashcan went the mascara; I decided to go nude-faced until the displeasure ceases. Which posed a quandary — can I really go out in public without makeup?

I don’t wear much makeup, but without something on my eyes, my face tends to disappear, especially since I let my hair go “natural” (read: a mixture of brown and — to put it politely — silver). I’m one of those ghost-faced gals who needs a little color. Without makeup, I look old and tired. Not that I’m not old and tired — those are true things — it’s just that it’s not what I want the public to see. For their own sake. Being inordinately tall is one thing; being tall and preternaturally pale is bordering on spooky.

Nonetheless, I went out, makeup-free, and you know what? No one seemed to notice. It’s a funny thing. People look at you a lot less often than you might think. And what they conclude about you from a glance isn’t worth worrying about. In fact, most people are so self-conscious, they are likely not thinking about you at all.

Still, it made me wonder: What kind of mask am I putting on when I face God, and don’t I realize God can see right through it? My naked soul is certainly more frightening than my naked face. I can dress my soul up in formal prayers, modulate my manners and voice (“see, God, I’m being patient!”), yet God sees every wart, scar and defect. It’s like those x-ray specs they used to advertise in the back of comic books, only these actually work. And God’s got the only pair.

I’m a little ashamed that God can see me as I am. Maybe that’s a good thing. Anything that motivates me to improve the actual quality of my soul is a plus. And maybe — like my eye — my soul will become less unsightly with time.

Can I turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse? Unlikely. Luckily for me, God loves sow’s ears. And tall, pale people. Just as they are.

Courage comes in many forms.  There’s the single mother who has the courage to tell the story of her abuse.  There is the depressed woman who tells of her own thoughts of suicide.  Connecting with other people takes courage even if you aren’t revealing your deepest darkest secret.  After all, what if someone else has just told you something this big?  What do you say?

Recently I saw a video with Nadia Bolz-Weber.  In this particular video she was discussing grief.  In case you’ve never seen her or her videos, I’ll include this one below.  In this particular video she explains that when someone is grieving they don’t need Precious Moment platitudes.  They need you to be present.

And I think that’s the case in a lot of tough situations.  Be there.  Admit that the situation is a true horror.  Don’t discuss the greater good or God’s plan.  You and I have very little idea what that is anyway.

Have the courage to show up, to tell them that this truly stinks, but that you are there.  It takes courage but many things worth doing do.


You have to have faith.  Faith that what you are doing matters.  Faith that you will find what you need.  Faith that God will provide.

Otherwise?  Why even try?

I always think of this when I hear the story of the Good Samaritan.

Before the Samaritan came along, a priest and a Levite walked by the beaten man.  They walked on by because if he died, they would be unclean.  They would have to pay fees and make sacrifices to once again become clean.  Sure, he might be okay but they didn’t have the Faith needed to take the chance.

The Samaritan? He wasn’t the same culture as the victim.  If the Samaritan tried to help and the man died, his family would probably take revenge on the Samaritan.  After all, wasn’t he the last person seen with the victim?  The Samaritan could take shelter in a city of refuge, but his family would still be at risk, because the victim’s family could seek revenge against a son, brother or nephew. This was much bigger than a simple risk of his ability to perform temple rituals. This could be a matter of life and death.

But it was the right thing to do and the Samaritan helped.  He got involved.  He had faith that it would turn out okay and he did something big.

With faith, we can all do great things.


We’ve all been trapped in a meeting with a Carl.  Loud.  Speaking over everyone else.  The holder of every worthwhile idea.

Obviously, my first experience was with someone named Carl, a fellow student.  Maybe your Carl is actually a Carla because Carl comes in many guises. Carl might be an aunt who monopolizes every conversation.  Or a boss who dismisses the ideas of others as impossible or not how we do it. One factor remains the same, no one but no one else can have a worthwhile idea.  Carl contributes to every conversation and squashes it flat.

When you have a great idea or enthusiasm for a topic, it can be brutally difficult not to be a Carl. Especially when you are eager to help. You want to fill everyone with the same energy that has filled you.  The cause is urgent.  You want everyone to see that.

God knows that.  God knows that when we are filled with the Spirit we want to share it, sometimes more forcefully than is polite.  But that is why God gifts us with more than the Spirit.  We are also given self-discipline and love.  Together, that love can encourage us to draw out others who  may be timid and less confident to speak out.  What is your idea?  Have you observed something that might be helpful?

The power of the spirit enables us to bring change.  Love and self-discipline impact how we do it.  Three gifts braided together can truly be a force to move mountains.


Trees are powerful things.  They take root in our emotions.

A fallen tree makes me sad.  I always want to pat it and try to make it feel better.  “There, there.”

Having to cut down a tree?  If it is sick, I can just barely tolerate the necessity.  If it isn’t . . .  Even if it has to be done for safety purposes, it is simply better if I’m not there.

Maybe this is because trees are slow to grow.  Plant a tree today and you aren’t going to have shade in a week or even a year.  This is an investment of decades.

Not that this should surprise us.  God is a long-term thinker.  It takes time for things to build, to grow, to mature.

Maybe that’s why we so often think that God isn’t listening to us.  Perhaps God is on tree time.   The next time you need to go to God in prayer, find a tree to lean against, sit on a shaded bench, stare up through the branches.  And talk to God who made both trees and human kind.


One of my favorite movies, Jerry Maguire, was on TV the other day. There’s a particular scene that always gets me right here💘. Marcee is on the phone with sports agent Maguire, who tells her that her husband, Rod, has been injured in a football game.

“This family doesn’t work without him, Jerry,” she says. “Just get him home to me.”

That line has some kind of magical quality. It talks directly to my tear duct. Even if I rewind the scene and play it again, knowing it’s coming…I can’t help it. Got me!

To me, that scene is the distillation of the emotion we all feel for a loved one we cherish. We want them to be okay. We expend energy trying to find ways to cover them with love, even from afar.

We care so much about our little tribe that we come at them with “help” that really sounds like anger. “You need to make sure you get that homework done, or you’ll never get that job you want once you graduate!”

Way to pile guilt on top of anxiety! Mother of the year!

How often do religions do this as well? That is, foster fear, guilt and shame that can cause a person’s spirit to break and actually keeps potential converts away. The only true path to grace is leading with love. Any religion — or company, or politician, or human being — who treats people with kindness and means what they say? I’m right there with them.

I got started late this week so I have a Saturday post.  I’m going to let this image speak for itself.  Breathe.  Go slowly.  Take time today to simple be.


Have you noticed that when you act NOW, something gets done.  When you put it off for a better time, things keep getting put off.  Believe me.  I have a truly frightening to-do list.

I’ve been creating these Inaugurate Light messages for about two years now, pairing positive thoughts with images and circulating them in the cyber world.   Lately it just hasn’t been doing it for me.  I need to do something else.  Or something more.

I’ve started writing to someone each week.  That will be fifty-two cards in a year.  I started it in March so I’ve only done three so far.

I got a huge surprise the other day because one of our teens came squealing up to me and grabbed me in a huge hug.  “Thank you for the note!”

Um, okay.  Yeah.  That’s cool.

I was more than a little surprised.  But apparently something that seems small to me can seem pretty big to someone else.  A card.  A smile.  Looking someone in the eye.  It doesn’t have to be big but, to have an impact, you need to do it.  So why not do it now?



Have a Mary Little Christmas

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