What if you had an outfit that brought you good luck every time you wore it? You’d put it on and, instantly, everything in your life would go well. I bet you’d wear it every single day! But here’s the catch: It came to you from Icarus, the farthest star known to man, and it’s got alchemical properties. 

While you get the hang of wearing it, you may randomly:

  • Become invisible
  • Be able to read minds at will
  • Hit all the winning lottery numbers in every state at the same time

On the other hand, you may also:

Would you take the risk?

If only it were as simple as putting on a scarf or tucking in a pocket square!

Well, you can actually create your own personal pocket of grace. Here’s how:

  • Focus on the positive
  • Surround yourself with people who lift you up
  • Stay on the path to the “yes” life

And before you know it, you’ve created your own good vibes. Oh, and it helps to give thanks to the one who made it all possible. No, not some corporate sponsor or mystery philanthropist! The one who made it all: you, me, the sky, earth and sea. Here’s another word for that pocket of grace: Faith.

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My town has a community forum on Facebook.  It is a great place to find out about free concerts and other community events.  Unfortunately, it is also where people go to complain, fuss and fume.

On Monday, one of the members put up a joking post.  “So what are you all mad about today?”  Unfortunately, a lot of people didn’t get that he was joking and started responding with all of the little things that had already annoyed them yesterday morning. Soon it had gone from a joke to a community gripe session.

Me?  I try to limit my complaints online.  I post positive, inspirational quotes like the one above.  I post baby animals.  You can see both on my Facebook page. I share news about my friend’s books.  I post about the awesome things my local library does.

I’m not saying that nothing ever annoys me.  Lots of things do, but I don’t want to be that person.  So instead of complaining online, I get up.  I walk.  I weave.  I work on a puzzle.  I play a game with the boy.  And let me tell you, that boy is good at making me laugh. Comedy is definitely one of his gifts.  And last of all, I sleep on it.

If I still feel the need to post, I post.  That’s why most of my unhappy posts tend to be “big ticket items.” Social justice.  Conservation. The environment.  I don’t only see the positive but one of the gifts that God gave me is the ability to let things slide.  Sure, I saw what so-and-so was wearing.  And I too think the school superintendent’s message could have been better worded.

But once I sleep on issues like these and share a good laugh with the boy?  It just isn’t worth commenting on.

–SueBE

 

 

This past week!  Holy bananas.

I can’t say that it was a bad week, but not one single day went as planned.  Plans added or deleted or simply shifted around day after day.  I’m not sure how or why but it made the whole week feel rushed.

So yesterday when I made it to church just a bit early, instead of stopping in the parlor where everyone gathers to chat, I entered through the fellowship hall.  In front of me stretched the labyrinth.  Step by step, I paced around the first circuit, pausing to breathe and reach outward at the turn.  Back and forth I paced, the whole time mentally calling out to God.

“How can I reduce the stressors in my week?”

“How can I reduce the clamor?”

“What can I do to feel more centered?”

And with each pause, each turn, the same answer came.  Turn to Me.

In the center, I paused while people entered the building around me.  Then I made my way back out, stopping, reaching out, step by measured step.

When we hurry through our days, rushing from task to task, we forget to listen.  We accomplish what we accomplish, checking it off our list and then rush to the next item.  Look at me!   I’m getting things done!

In our hurry, we forget whose path we follow.  We forget who lights the way.

Step slowly.  Pause.  Breathe.  And look to him.

–SueBE

credit: today.com

Let’s say you had a meeting and it was crunch time. Looking over the attendees, you realize there’s a baby sitting in one of the chairs in a suit and tie. Now, that’s something you don’t see every day! 

Look at you. You can’t even hold your own head up, man! You’re drooling, babbling on about nothing, and your contribution at the last meeting was nothing but a big pile of poop. Get ahold of yourself! 

You notice the baby’s round belly under his pocket protector and bib.

You’re letting yourself go around the middle, there, pal. You really should do some crunches!

You wouldn’t expect a baby to know how to crunch numbers. Heck, they can’t even crunch granola yet! And surely a baby’s too young to hit the gym.

Different rules apply to people depending on the situation, and we don’t all develop at the same pace. Some may think that, just because they haven’t had an experience, that experience isn’t valid.

People who call others “snowflake” or “overly sensitive” are actually, let me see if I can find the technical term here in my thesaurus.. Oh yes. Insensitive clods!

Mercy. Let me re-phrase that. 

Such people don’t seem to have been born with a compassion compass, that thing inside that says, I may not understand what you’ve been through, but I can see that you’ve been profoundly affected by it.

Then again, if I label them insensitive clods, I’m the one being insensitive. 

Perhaps a better way to frame it is that they’re newborns in terms of the expression of empathy. Their mercy-muscles haven’t formed fully yet. One day they may be in a new situation and it’ll be crunch time for them. Here’s hoping the people in that room will show them some compassion.

…that hasn’t been said? Mass killing after mass killing, putting towns like Dayton and El Paso on the map in ways they wish had never happened. I’ve heard a lot of analysis about America in the last week, a lot of analysis about who kills and why. I am surprised to hear, for instance, that America is the only developed country with bad parents. The only one where kids play violent video games. They only country with any mental illness. These things must be true because gun violence doesn’t happen in any other developed country — not like it does here in the US.

Look, here’s what I know is true: America is a man with a gun standing before a thousand men with a thousand guns, representing a million men with a million guns, all claiming (all at once) that violence is never the fault of a man with a gun.

Here’s what else I know: There are more of us than there are of them.

Do not forget. Do not let anyone tell you to “put it behind you.” Keep it raw. Keep it festering. Hold it in your hand, even as it scorches your skin.

And then vote. Vote like your life depends on it, because it does.

Also, pray.

My apologies for not being around our corner of the blog-osphere very much this week.  As the three of us have discussed privately, we are all more than a little distressed by the state of the world and our country.  Every time we turn around, there’s another story of hate, violence and death.

It is so hard not to be discouraged.  I was shuffling through images when I came across this quote on the best way not to feel hopeless by Barrack Obama.  At first glance, I thought it was a little pie-in-the-sky naïve.

Go out and do something good.  You’ll feel better.

But then I realized that it was the same advice my mother and my grandmother would have given me.  Get up off your rear.  Get going. And do something good.

And it really is good advice.  I would only adapt it slightly.

Remember that we live in a broken world.  We, you and I, are broken and far from perfect just like everyone else.

When we pick up our phones and tablets, we have a tendency to link into news.  Even if you try to play a game, you may well be plagued with pop-ups.  Just today I’ve had one about a knifing in Southern California and another about decades-long abuse in the USA Gymnastics club.

When you read a newspaper, even if you read it every page, there is an end.  When you go into the web, there is no end.  Negative story after negative story washes over you.

So put down your phone.  Turn off your tablet.

Do something that doesn’t involve a screen.  Me? I’ve warped my loom and am making a scarf for a friend.  It isn’t anything huge, but it will make her smile.

School is about to start again.  My son and I made plans this morning to get his friends over here on a regular basis.  Screen-free time around our dining room table. This, of course, means that my loom needs to go downstairs.

But that’s okay. I can get offline right now and go clean off a spot on the old kitchen table I keep in the basement.  Putting aside things go sell or otherwise get rid of is also positive in that it declutters my home and the money can go into the church’s community garden.

Small steps.  Moments spent away from your screen.  I’m not saying that the bad things don’t matter.  But I am recommending that we not let them roll over us endlessly.  That level of exposure doesn’t benefit anyone in any way.

Do something small and positive. Small steps can carry you in a more positive direction.

–SueBE

What if we come to find out we’re all just a bunch of free-range chickens in the backyard of some giant, benevolent aliens? 

Then we’d have no need to beat ourselves up when we make a mistake. Or regret choices we made when we felt we had no choice. We’d get back to basics pretty quickly. 

Be the best free-range chicken you can be! Don’t peck at the other hens. Keep your feathers clean. Get some sun in the yard. And then, you know what? Go lay an egg! 🥚

I’m not trying to insult you! Remember: you’re a free-range chicken on an alien outpost. The normal human insults have no effect on you now. Go sit on it. The egg, that is!

The aliens have thought of everything to give you a comfortable life as a beloved pet, including heated hen houses, high-quality feed, and a trail by the water.

So why don’t you go jump in the lake?🤽

No offense, of course! This is all just an exercise to show that the mean-spirited things we humans say to insult each other are all just code for: I’m aiming these specific words at you to make you feel bad. Why? It’s usually because you, or someone else hurt me, and since I don’t know how to manage these feelings or resolve them, I’m sitting in a pool of poison. All I’ve been taught by society is to pick it up and throw it at you. 

When others aim their poison arrows of pain at you, don’t engage. Let them carry their toxins on down the road. Keep your eyes up, heart open, and if you come across a bump in the road, well, just… take a flying leap… of faith, that is! Safe travels, dear hearts.💖

It was a week
to shake the faith
right out of our bones.

But faith cannot fall
to such a small god:
a god of bombs, bullets, ripped limbs.

Seek God elsewhere.
He is there in the helpers.
In solace, yes, and mourning, too.
In healing hands, in hope.

Look to those who know the truth:
What is not love
cannot be God.

Hate destroys.
Love restores.
There is your answer.

I worried a bit yesterday that the silence on our blog would be interpreted as indifference.  Indifference to gun violence.  Indifference to the killings.  Indifference to the mounting death toll.  I worried, but I couldn’t bring myself to craft a post.  After all, what could we say that hasn’t already been said?

Besides, so many people had so much to say.  Fewer guns!   2nd Amendment!  Limit guns! Protect yourselves!  Pass the background check bill!

My soul was simply too weary to wade into the blog-o-sphere and attempt to contribute.  I just didn’t have it in me.

Today, in spite of a watch that wasn’t working right and thus saw me running ten minutes late, I made it to yoga.  I rolled out my mat and breathed deeply.  Downward dog.  Child’s pose. Warrior 1.  Triangle.  Shavasana.

At the end of each class, our instructor reads a quote of some kind.  Some are meant to sooth.  Others to challenge.  Still others, simply give us something to ponder.  Today’s quote was this – we should not have to agree on anything at all to treat each other well.

As you stroll these electronic pathways, that’s what I would ask you to remember.  Agree or disagree, but please carry the light of God’s love into the world and treat each other well.

–SueBE

It’s been said that “life is short,” but, what if it turns out it’s long?

I looked in the mirror as I was smiling one day and realized I had a dimple. Oh! That’s nice. Always wanted to have dimples. Two weeks went by before I realized that it wasn’t a dimple. It was a wrinkle! 

Horrors!

It’s actually a laugh line. Hmm. That’s not a bad thing, is it? To have laughed in life. And to have lived a while. Both good things. After a moment, I shrugged. You know what? It’s okay to wear your life on your person. Some may choose to erase their lines with a nip and tuck or an injection, and that’s their choice. I wouldn’t judge them for it. If I had the means, I might even make the same choice.

But self-acceptance is a life-long process. When I was younger, I was always self-conscious about my appearance. Wanted my make-up just so. Clothes to be in style. But as your body changes, your outlook changes. 

Just as you’ve got a favorite comfy armchair, a lived-in body can be a comfort. You know how to adjust as you bend to lift up a package as you get older. You’re grateful that, despite health conditions, you can still get around reasonably well and take care of yourself.

The true wake-up call is that you’re still you. It’s hard to explain to younger people, but you feel like the same person you always were on the inside, even as your features change with age. The fact is, there’s still so much to look forward to in life, and, God willing, you may live to a ripe old age. You might as well become your own best friend.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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