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I have a book due today.  Yes, today.  Tuesday 3/20/2018.  The last four chapters are waiting for me in the dining room.

For a wide variety of reasons, this deadline has been a monster.  And I’ve seen it reflected in how often I snap at others.  In all truth, I’m getting more than a bit fed up with myself.

So last night I went to a special choir rehearsal.  Our choir director can’t make it on Thursday and next week is Holy Week. We really can’t skip a rehearsal.  So that meant moving it to Monday, AKA the night before my deadline.

I have to admit that I’m so glad that I went.  Ever since rehearsal, I’ve had three lines from one of the anthems running through my head. Quiet, soothing, constant.

Maybe that’s what prompted me to start my day quietly on the sofa with my Bible instead of rushing in here to work. Stillness, quiet, sanctuary.  They make many things, even ourselves, just a bit more bearable.



I confess – I am a multitasker.  I walk while reading e-mail and row while listening to audio books.

But I also appreciate the joy of slow – fresh-baked bread, a stew that’s bubbled away all day in the crock pot, a prayer that Ruth has taken the time to contemplate.

I have to say that I’m pretty happy that there is a movement towards handmade and slow.  Slow food, made at home even if it takes hours.  Slow crafts, hand knitting and sewing even if a cheaper version could be purchased at Walmart.

When we take our time, I suspect that we are experiencing the moment.  Not looking back, worried.  Not panicking about whether or not we can get five things done in the next ten minutes.

Take some time today.  Write a prayer.  Work in the garden.  Peel an apple. Do it by hand.  Do it slowly.  And live in that moment that God created. The now.


Have you ever had one of those days?  You know the kind I mean – no one can do anything at all to make you happy.  The trash men put your garbage can down behind your car.  The mail was laying all over the porch instead of in the mailbox.  And don’t forget that cup of coffee – the one that was too bitter, than too sweet, too hot and later too cold.  Nothing but nothing is right.

Put the coffee down and take a deep breath.  Nope.  Don’t pick the coffee up.  Now take another deep breath.  You can do it.

And as you breathe so deeply, think about it.  Why are you being such a crank?  Does it have anything to do with the many people you’ve griped at or is it something else?

I know that in my own life, it tends to be someone or something else.  Someone I can’t crab at or something that is entirely out of my control.  When that happens, I put myself in time out.  Adult time outs are very important.  You can do a wide variety of things.  Enjoy a cup of tea.  Read your Bible. Spend some time knitting.  Or you can just breathe.

When you’ve spent some time decompressing, you’ll probably find that you see the world differently and, most likely, the yardstick is a bit more generous.



Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Sometimes in my quiet moments, I feel God is putting words on my heart. Things I’m sure I already know, but just needed that small reminder.

It’s a gift. It’s to help you. It’s to help others. It’s to help you help others. It’s to help others help you.

These words have come to me in many situations recently.

Thinking about my hinky eye, which I now call my “energy eye.” I can’t see you clearly, but I can still feel your energy. Sometimes I feel I can sense more of what you’re not saying when I don’t look at you with my left eye (which is myopic, but can see you) and use my right eye (legally blind, but can still feel you.)

Thinking about my brain, which my neurologist tells me has areas of white lesions. I’ve come to realize that my brain is a train, and it can only ride on one track at a time. When new information is introduced, it takes a minute to sink in. Often, I find I have to back up the train to get to that connecting track. It means I sometimes make mistakes or forget things.

Thinking about my life in general. I don’t seem to be one of those people who sets the world on fire with great accomplishments and new ideas. But maybe people like me, who may only have a kind word to any child of God I meet on the road of life (i.e., everybody), are the ones who form the connective tissue of the universe. We hold things together just by being there and being kind.

What may seem like impediments are sometimes gifts in disguise. I may not quite understand it, but I’ve learned to trust God and always listen to my heart.

You truly understand this quote if you live in a multi-cat household.  They aren’t at war but one of them is sitting on your lap, tensely eye-balling another cat across the room.  There’s one on the back of the sofa, tail twitching.  The third might be oblivious.  Or she might be sitting beside the water bowl. She looks peaceful, but really?  She’ll chase off anything feline that gets too near her water.

Peace is most definitely not the opposite of war.  But just what peace is can vary by person and by situation.

Sometimes peace is quiet, serene.  It is a moment to simply be.

Sometimes peace is a lull.  It is the time it takes to sip a cup of coffee while you gather yourself for the day.

Sometimes peace is more active.  It is working to provide a place of safety for those who have known violence and strife. It requires creating balance and seeking justice.

Peace. It seems like such a simple word and sometimes it is simple, but not always.  What does it mean to you?


Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

In years past, when I had extra, I found many creative ways to spend it… on things I didn’t even want or enjoy. I’ve been on three cruises in my life. Yet. I don’t swim, I can’t be in the heat due to my medical issues, and I hate crowds. Complained the whole time. Spent a boatload (see what I did there?) of money. Didn’t like it one bit. Well, the food was good. Overall? I could have, and probably should have, stayed home and socked that money away for a rainy day.

Tell you what’s true: it’s been raining lately. Money’s been tight, but we persevere, and wait/pray for better days to come. We all need certain staples to live on, but sometimes, there’s just not enough to buy some of the basics.

When “enough” returned, I actually said out loud to my son, “This is the best slice of toast I have ever had in my life!” Toast. Just made me do a happy dance. Although I did have other food in the house, I was out of bread and there just wasn’t enough in the budget as medical co-pays and deductibles came up early in the year. When a simple piece of buttered toast finally came back to my plate, I was over the moon!

Tell you what’s true: when I had too much I used too much; still, I wasn’t satisfied. Now when I have just enough, it’s manna. I’m content, though eager (if Someone upstairs is on the line listening) for the next batch of bread from heaven! I feel God’s saying, Do what you can. It gets better, and there’s more than “enough” on the way. Grace is always right on time, and that’s good enough for me.

This is something that I’m struggling with this week.  I think that part of the problem is that the person I butted-heads with is an old friend.  To my knowledge, she has never admitted that she was wrong.  Ever.  She’s used to people being angry with her.  No worries.  They can just deal with it.

How can I forgive someone who doesn’t compromise?  When I know she will do this again?

This is today’s struggle.



There’s a difference between forgiveness and being a victim. Being a victim means that we let people do the same things to us again and again.

Forgiveness?  You put down the anger.  You toss away the rage.  You don’t give it space in your head 24-7.  It doesn’t mean that you forget, but you let go of the rage.

Instead you look for a spark of light.   That becomes your focus and what you show the world.  Not the rage.  Not the anger.  The light that pushes back darkness.


Helping people can be tricky.  We see someone with a problem.  We know, just know, how to help them.  So we do.

The problem was theirs.The solution was ours.  And there are times that all is well and good.

But what if they had another solution in mind?  A better solution?  A solution that didn’t create an us with power and a them without?

When we help someone, we need to do it with love which is what makes helping people tricky. Love listens.  Love opens up to new ways of doing things.   Love doesn’t assume that there is only one way, our way.

Love, like Christ, moves among those in need, getting to know them, seeing them, speaking to them, sitting beside them.   Only then does love act.



There’s been a lot of talk about hope lately. SueBe neatly defined it as a way of thinking positively about life. I gave it some thought and came up with a wild variety of metaphors…and maybe a little insight.

You can live on hope, if you need to.
You can eat it like bread, portion it out
to last, like pemmican, (or whatever it was
Lewis and Clark ate while Sacagawea took them
on a tour of places she already knew), only better-tasting.
The point being, hope is at least as good as a native guide,
even if it can’t tell you where you’re going. It can, however,
sustain. Hope is the rail on the stairway, the boy scout
who helps you cross a busy street, the friendly cop
on the corner. It is a safe place to land. Miss Emily
called it feathered, though, I think it less flighty
than the image deserves. It persists like plastic.
It stands in the desert, against the wind blowing
and doesn’t lose its nose, the way the Sphinx
did. It is a hearty breakfast: toast, eggs, bacon.
It cannot be spent, only abandoned. And even
then, it returns, nudging you with its wet nose
like a cat who has decided to stay. You might
as well keep it. The comfort of it will warm you,
some dark night, and make its care and feeding
worth your while.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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