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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.


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.

Doesn’t that just about sum it all up?  I’m not saying you need to build a bridge or a library or cure a disease on a daily basis. Although, in all truth, those would be some marvelous things to do.

But as Miss Ruth pointed out in her post, toast with butter is a pretty amazing thing. Often it is the little things that touch our souls.

As you go through the next twenty-four hours, keep your eyes open.  Where can you hold open a door, smile and make eye contact, or simply thank someone?  Big things are great but little things can, like individual drops of water, combine into something as vast as the sea.

Where can you try to make a difference today?


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.

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.

Coming off even a hard few days, there are things we can do to repair ourselves and repair the world.

  1.  Take time off.  That’s what I did yesterday.  I spent time reading.  I puttered around here in my office.  My husband and I put up new lights on the patio.  We went out for ice cream.  Your prescription will vary according to what recharges you emotionally and spiritually.
  2. Spend time with God.  Sometimes we need to do this alone.  Time spent in nature works for me.  So does uplifting music.  So I’ll be heading off to church in about an hour.
  3. Reading scripture.  I currently reading the Bible chronologically.  At this point in time, I’m in Genesis 26?  28?  Something around in there.
  4. Smile. This is an easy one but I’ve been paying attention and realize how seldom we do it unless we know the person we encounter.  Smile because it helps you …
  5. Connect.  As you go through your day, pay attention to those you encounter.  Look the clerk in the eye.  When she tells you to have a good day, respond.

This is my plan for today.  I’ll be reading another chapter in the mystery I started yesterday.  I’m going to visit Dad.  But first, I’m going to church for song and scripture and prayer.


Sometimes I think: Wouldn’t it be nice to squirrel myself away in some comfy little hole and turn exclusively to prayer? Then I remember: As much as the hermit lifestyle appeals, it is not practical. Not only are comfy little holes hard to come by, they are seldom free of charge. And there’s the niggling problem of needing to eat. But that’s not the biggest problem.

The biggest problem is this: You can’t pray for the world if you’re hiding from it. You have to know what’s going on. You have to be a part of things. Otherwise, you’re just praying for yourself, and doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

It can be very painful to make yourself aware of the world’s troubles. There will always be too many of them to tackle, too many tragedies pulling at your limited heartstrings. You have to choose, but in choosing, you have to deal with the repercussion of guilt. It is a difficult place to live. A comfy hole is so much more congenial, don’t you agree? But it’s no place to linger, not if you have a heart.

Nowadays it’s an insult to be considered sensitive. It connotes a certain weakness, a lack of backbone, a pitiful inability to cope in today’s eat-or-be-eaten world. I don’t much care about that. If it takes not caring to get by in life, then I guess I won’t get by. Wherever that destination is, it doesn’t feel like a place worth going to. If feeling keenly about people and things makes me a snowflake, then — fine. I’m still here. And as long as the world stays cold with injustice and hatred and inequality, I will persist.

And if the milk of human kindness ever warms us all adequately, I will happily melt.

I’ve seen this most recent quote at work over the past year.  One of our most enthusiastic church members has been suffering with cancer.  And in this case I choose the word suffering in a somewhat ironic sense.  Because he went from a robust vibrant baseball coach to a retired less-robust but still upbeat personality.

It has been seriously eye-opening.

No “woe is me.”  No “I’ve lost X amount of weight.”

Terry is an upbeat reminder of God’s goodness and glory.  In spite of chemo brain, what Terry calls his most recent absent-mindedness brought on by chemo, he can still quote more Bible verses than I can when I have a print Bible in hand.   And as he cheerfully points out, “everyday on this side of the turf is a good one.”

He is also a strong proponent of doing what you can.  Thus while he cannot go on a mission trip or build a new home, he can study scripture, he can pray, he can turn to God.  Although he never lists these things, he can also smile and cheer the rest of us through our eyes with his upbeat attitude.

Small pleasures.  Basking in the glory of God.  Sharing a smile.  All are accessible to the vast majority.  Thank God.


I’ve wondered on occasion if I’m really just a cat in God’s garden. I mean it. I’m not a go-getter like SueBE, or a sacred poet like Lori, but I feel I contribute in my small way to our little eco-system. If I can add a light note of levity or spin a yarn about my KitKat, I feel that I’m adding leavening to the loaf of bread that we bake together.

When I noticed that I’d started to give myself a hard time one day as I looked at SueBE’s goals for her writing day (her to-do list is chock full of action items) and mine (find the right word for that one poem I might submit to some unspecified market at a distant time in the nebulous future) I had to pause. Hold on. Her point is to share her process, and the goal is to help other writers as they find their own way. Not to say, I can do it all! Why can’t you?!?

Still, I thought it would be nice to have a little of the zhoosh she has to get it all done. I wondered how to go about this, and sure enough, she answered my question without realizing when she started posting her “5 minutes a day” series. That’s how you do it. A piece at a time.

Then I wondered why I stopped writing prayer-poems for our blog, and I realized it was partially due to the fact that it seems to come so easily for our Lori and she does it so well. For me, it takes a whole week of revisions, total re-writes and second-guessing before posting.

Neither one of them had judged me and said, why can’t you be like me? It was my own Negative Naysayer steering me away from what my friends do so well.

So I called in my Yes-you-can Yaysayer (opposite of Naysayer) and she said: We’re not supposed to all be the same. Do what you can, with what you have, right where you are.

As for me, it’s time to stretch, yawn and take a catnap. Later, I’ll find the right word for my poem. It’s a small goal, mind you, but it’s a start!

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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