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Last week, I watched a TED talk with a psychologist who joked about the tendency medical school students have to think they have whatever illness they are studying.  Specifically, the joked that his brother-in-law believed he had leprosy but that was only after worrying for a week that he had menopause.

The reality is that if we focus on something that is what we are going to find.  So how great a stretch is it to wonder if that is also what we will create?

I’m not saying that we should ignore injustice, poverty and hunger.  Don’t even go there!  We can’t address what we refuse to see.

But to work toward a solution, we have to believe a solution is possible.  We won’t reach for what we believe cannot exist. It is up to those of us who believe in the Light and Love of Christ to let others know what we see, what we believe in, and what we are working for every day.




Yesterday we celebrated my niece’s fifteenth birthday.  The last year of so she seems to really be coming into her own.  She’s on the pom pom squad and a gifted student who loves science.  She’s a budding photographer and spends hours perfecting just the right look with makeup and clothing.

“Oh, she’s so like you.”  That’s what people tell my make-up hound, clothes horse sister.  And to an extent this is true.

But my brother-in-law is also a gifted photographer.

And then there’s that part that is 100% unique to my niece.  Pom poms?  The vast majority of us can barely walk straight and we have the bumps and bruises to prove it.  But she’s doing all kinds of complicated dance routines.  That said, I won’t be shocked when she knocks something over.  She is my niece.

At fifteen she’s struggling with how people expect her to be vs how she envisions herself.

What’s my job as her crazy aunt?  I give out hugs every chance I get.  I tell her she’s amazing and funny and smart.  It doesn’t matter how old you are or how you identify yourself in terms of gender.  God created each of us in love.  Finding ourselves under society’s expectations can be tough.


Photo by Florian Dornauer on Unsplash

I really wish I were one of those people who dreamed at night of traveling to Tuscany, or of dancing on Broadway. Perhaps skydiving into the Grand Canyon. When I dream, it’s fairly jejune (love that word. It’s so fancy, for meaning something so dull!) although I do often receive what I consider to be words from Providence.

Just little reminders of what I already know but haven’t really taken to heart.

Here’s what I read last night:

You don’t plant weeds in your garden on purpose.

You don’t drink poison from a glass.

If you could pour regret into a glass and see it, you’d realize it was poison. You wouldn’t voluntarily drink it if it smelled noxious and tasted worse.

As I thought of something painful from the past just this morning, I realized that my stomach was in a knot. That’s when it occurred to me. Maybe that spare tire we all carry around our midriffs is really something else: Regret Storage. Poisonous pain we were meant to let go of, but held on to, and as a result, it seeped into our souls.

When I realized that thinking of painful things from the past was causing pain in my gut as I was standing there in the kitchen, I stopped thinking about those things. The pain went away. Right away. If only it were always that easy!

But at least I can remind myself that it’s more important to feel good and live well now than to deconstruct the past. I can’t change what happened, but I can decide that I won’t give away my joy to someone or something that has already hurt me once.

That’s why they call the present a gift. You can unwrap it afresh every day.

We’ve all met them.  They are the people who leave you walking a little lighter with a smile on your face.

One woman asks about my dad every time I see her.  She was in the same care facility but only temporarily while she underwent rehab.

A teen at our church changes her hair color on a regular basis.  She’s never content with one color but combines them and greets me every week with a hug.

Human contact.  We all need it and it can really change your day.  I make a point of talking to the checker in the grocery story and the man who picks up the gymnastic mats after yoga.  It is amazing to see the light come into their faces because someone has seen an acknowledged them.

But I’m not spreading just any light.  I’m spreading His Light and Love and Joy.  It is my little way of helping the people I encounter have a bit of hope in their hearts.


I’m an idea person.  Give me a problem, whether you need to find a specific type of story or a solution to a household problem, and I can start pitching out ideas.  I know they aren’t all good, but that’s okay.  Leave the lesser ones behind and choose the good.

But every now and again, I can’t think of an idea to save myself.  Most often, this happens when I’m just barely hungry, or not hungry yet, and someone wants to know what I want to eat.  That’s when I have to honestly answer either “I don’t know” or “I don’t care.”  And if I say I don’t care, trust me.  I don’t.  I care about all kinds of silly things – how the towels are folded, what color you paint the porch, and more.  If I say I don’t care, take it as fact.  I simply don’t care.  Pick something and as long as I’m not allergic to it, I’m along for the ride.

Imagine my surprise the first time I had to deal with a suggestion nay-sayer.  These are the people who consistently say or vote NO.  Your dinner suggestion? Not good enough.  The proposal for how to use the memorial fund?  No.  The idea for a new Bible study?  Ridiculous – no, No, NO.

Sometimes I think they do this simply because the number of ideas an idea person like me can generate overwhelms them.  Sometimes I think they do it because they are genuinely concerned about the situation.  Other times?  I think it is all about power.  It’s a form off passive aggression.

Our society is in a place where we need idea people.  We need people willing to solve energy problems and racial problems.  We need people with ideas about education and feeding people effectively.  We also need people who are good at dealing with the nay-sayers.  This, unfortunately, is not among the talents that God gave me.  Maybe it is one of yours.


This is something that writers have to do all the time.  If you want to publish and sell you need to know there things – who is your audience, what do they need, how does your writing fill that need.

This isn’t just success that you can put in the bank.  This is success at connecting with others because to know the answers to those questions, you have to know something about other people.  You have to connect. You have to be valuable to them.

Why should you have to be?  Certain segment of society have spent way too long expecting others to want to be like us.  We don’t need to know what you want.  What you need?  Irrelevant.  Judging by the divisions and the vocal animosity in our society, I’d say that path isn’t working.  Instead, we need to learn to be valuable to each other.

We have to be willing to let other people be themselves and still connect with them.  Who are you?  What do you care about? What do you need?


I had to really think about this one.  We all face challenges – slick spots on the road.  There are curves. There are uphill climbs.  And there are, fingers crossed, some smooth, easy driving parts.  The temptation is to think that the difference is the driver.

I’ve made a success of my life because I’ve paid attention to the road.  My success is all about me.

But the reality is something slightly different.  The road is a metaphor for life.  Some roads are truly worse than others.  There are more hardships, more potholes, more obstacles.  The question is whether or not the person has the tools to navigate them.

Some of these tools come with the individual.  Let’s face it – some people are more resilient than others.  I have a friend who is the mother of three.  Within something like 6 weeks, one daughter had to have emergency surgery and her son’s pancreas quit working completely.  But she’s one of the world’s resilient people.  Ask her how she was and things were “good, getting better and better every day.”

But some of us also have more opportunities than others.  Maybe we are born into money.  Or a super helpful extended family.  Or we have the priviledge of race.  Whatever the reason, we have more support and more opportunity to make it past the obstacles life places in the way.

Fortunately those of us who have opportunity can offer a hand to someone who does not.  In doing so, we can provide the roadside assistance that makes the difference between the road to success and the road to failure.  The help you provide may be monetary, it may be societal as you work to change an unfair policy, or it may be personal as you encourage someone along the way.

Success or failure.  Sometimes it all depends on the assistance we receive.



Some things are definitely worth extra effort.  I love doing handwork whether you’re talking embroidery, cross-stitch knitting or crochet.  My mother found embroidery and cross-stitch tedious beyond belief but could sew a man’s suit or a wedding gown.

God has gifted us each with a unique set of talents and interests.  I’d like to encourage each of you to put one of these into use this year.  Maybe you can pick an old pass time back up.  Finish that project on the top shelf of your closet this year.  Or you might want to explore something new like the new type of journaling that I’m working on this week.

Whether your talents are in the areas of making (creation), teaching, observation or something I haven’t considered here, they are gifts.  Celebrate Him gave them to you but doing something well.


This photo reminded me so much of the conversation that Ruth and I have been having about desire and drive.  Not that it is this cold here anymore.  Now we have that delightful combination of wet and border line freezing temperatures.  Is that a puddle or is it ice?  I find it safest to assume ice even if I end up looking silly.

But I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days about the awe inspiring people in my life.  There’s the recent widow who is trying to help her son cope with their loss while coping herself.  There’s a friend whose husband just went into rehab but won’t let anyone take over her tasks at church.  They seem to be giving her something she can actually accomplish.  My yoga teacher drives 30 minutes to teach us all twice a week while coping with her lupus and arthritis.  She also frequently watches her two grandchildren.  Miss Ruth here carries a jazzed up cane to hold herself steady while she looks for inspiring moments to share with all of us.

God definitely helps us find the gumption to keep moving when it would simply be easier to curl up in a ball.

Thank you to all of you amazing people that inspire me every day!  God has truly blessed me and so many others through your example!



I love the way Miss Ruth put this in her post.  Burden and blessing.  Like Ruth, we’ve been having drain issues.  Ours quit working completely.  Burden. But my husband could fix it which saved as a $250 bill to start the new year.  Blessing.

Our area is just coming out of a period of dangerously cold weather.  Our temps were well below freezing between Christmas Eve and yesterday.  I know the wind child dipped below zero.  Many days were between about 8 and 12 degrees.  Water mains and frozen pipes abound.

At the outset of this cold snap we were really worried whether or not anyone would come to Christmas Eve service.  Would people come out on such a freezing cold night?   Looking out at the congregation from my position in the choir loft, I wasn’t surprised by some who chose not to attend.  They’d already messaged me to let me know that the cold was just too much.  The surprising part?  These were many of our younger members.

Sitting in one pew was a man who uses a walker.  Recently widowed, he comes to church to interact with others.

On the other side of the aisle was a gentleman who had recently gotten out of the hospital. He had a bad reaction to some of the medication he is on to fight cancer.  He and three family members took up one pew.

“Why did they bother coming out in this cold?” asked one usher.  The cold – that’s been our recent curse.

So why did they face it?  Because they can.  They are celebrating this ability to get out.  To see and be seen.  That’s a true blessing.

What do you have on your list for today?  I’m rewriting an assignment.  Again.  They brought in a new expert who wants changes, Changes and more CHANGES.  If I let it, that would feel like a curse.  But really, it will make for a much better book and the better the book the more likely it will be to help one of our young readers.  Definitely a blessing.

Thank you, Miss Ruth!


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