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“Have a lovely Thanksgiving.”

I laughed out loud when I read that note from my editor.  We are not lovely Thanksgiving people.  We are more like the Griswold Family and I do mean both sides of the family.

My sister has to do everything with perfection.  No seriously.  She makes Martha Stewart look slapdash.  She is also a vegetarian as is my niece.  Dad, who has dementia, will insist on telling her all about my son’s foray into the woods deer hunting.  The teen knows better but my Dad?  Try to stop him.  And he won’t try to talk to anyone else about it so I know it isn’t entirely accidental. Dad thinks he’s funny.

My sister-in-law?  Also heavily into perfection but there are so many people on that side of the family.  We have engineers, IT people, hipsters, and young professionals.  Then there’s my kid – red neck libertarian?  Yeah, that’s a description he’s appreciate.  It will be loud, it will be rambunctious and something will go slightly askew.

Lovely?  No.  Fun, humorous and full of loud love.  Anyone who goes looking for lovely will be frustrated beyond belief.  But those of us who jump into it will come out the other side grate-filled for the family with which God blessed us.

–SueBE

 

 

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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

 

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

 

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

Do you feel broken by recent events? I hear you. It’s hard to live in the here and now when here is untenable and now is rife with violence, greed and anger. Perspective helps, so let’s go back to the Sermon on the Mount. You know what Jesus said: “Blessed are the peacemakers, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice,” etcetera. Notice what he didn’t say? “…for they will inherit the earth — in twenty minutes!” Nope. All of those rewards Jesus talks about? Those are things that will happen in heaven, in the hereafter — “next life” stuff.

So how do you make it through this life when real justice will only occur in the next? Think long-term. Even the king of the fruit flies only lives 24 hours. Sure, he can buzz as loud as he likes, even assemble a fruit fly army…in the end, he is a nothing in a sea of nothingness. He is a grain of sand. He is a mote, a distraction, a flicker, an afterthought. This life is brief. The next life is eternal. Why waste time on negativity, selfishness or anger when there is so much joy to look forward to?

I’m not asking you to ignore life or to ignore the inequalities and injustice that surround us. Just the opposite. Keep working on it. Don’t give up because of “this world” distractions. Those are just fruit flies. Swat them away. Keep plugging away at justice, mercy, love and hope. Because that’s what will matter in the next life. And next life stuff is awesome. I want to be there for it. Don’t you?

Life is a balancing act.  One of the things Christians in the US spend time trying to balance is finance.  I earned it, I should get to spend it but there is so much need in the world.

This topic came up this morning because last night a friend and I were discussing quilting.  She mentioned that long arm quilting machines (that’s a sewing machine in my mind) cost thousands of dollars.  Thousands.  My brain filled in $4000, maybe $5000 if it is a humdinger.

This morning I saw an ad for a machine.  Buy it and you get $3,600 in free stuff.  Seriously?  I had to see what this machine cost so I clicked through.

$12,999.

It’s a quilting machine.  I don’t think it is a long arm quilter but I don’t know enough to be sure.  But seriously.  13 thousand dollars for a machine that quilts.  That’s 26 cattle through Heifer.  Twenty-six families and communities whose lives could be improved.

That’s the star part of me talking.  And when we are talking luxury sewing machines it is easy for me to be pious.  This isn’t the sort of thing I would consider buying.

But go to far in the “I’m not the kind of person who would buy that gold-plated whats-it” and I become the person who needs the reminder.  Be humble.  You too my braggy daughter are flawed.

Earth stuff and star stuff in one.  That’s me.

–SueBE

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  We’ve heard the advice but how many of us have actually taken it to heart?

This morning I met me friend at yoga.  It’s the last time we’ll be together for almost a month because she’s traveling overseas to see her granddaughter for the first time.

Sure, we mentioned the elections.  Our area lost a long-standing female senator and her supporter, for the most part, are not taking it well.  Several announced social media sabbatical.  There were just too upset to face the world.

Neither my friend or I are happy about who won.  But today is a gorgeous day.  Yes, it is chilly but the sun is shining after two days of rain.  The fall colors are gorgeous and while we chatted we got to watch a hawk soar overhead.

She showed me pictures of baking pies with her four-year-old grandson.  It was too cute.  He was totally involved which is a riot of you know what a bruiser this kid is.  We discussed her upcoming trip.  What excitement to meet a grandchild who lives overseas!  We talked about plans for when she gets back.  How blessed we are to have friends who live nearby.

We are truly blessed in so many ways.  Spend some time contemplating the blessings in your life.  And then tell other people about them. Focus on the Light.

–SueBE

 

I’m late getting to this today because I voted.  It is lunch time here and, dare I say, I’m already really tired of hearing about the elections.  Really tired.  I’m also fed up with politics and people trying to skew facts to suit their politics.

Today a friend posted an article about many Mexicans not having to come to America.  “Maybe because Mexicans are Americans?” That’s something we tend to forget.  While we in the United States are American, so are Mexicans.  And Canadians.  And Guatemalans.  And a whole lot of other people.

But when we get caught up in rhetoric, we forget that.  We forget that our country is not a continent no matter how hard we try to forget that.

Christ was pretty clear on it all.  He ate with tax collectors.  He healed the unclean.  He turned over tables and stepped beyond boundaries.  I’m guessing he might have even talked to both blue and red.

–SueBE

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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