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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

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Thursday is rapidly becoming my favorite day. Not only is it the day that I typically write my latest post, but it has become, for me at least, that rarest of things — an oasis of calm in my hectic week. The work week starts on Monday with a slew of chores that somehow piled up during the wide-open freedom of the weekend. Tuesday builds to Wednesday, always a busy, constricted day, bounded in part by preparation for — and the actual recording of — my radio show (www.blogtalkradio.com/openbook). When Wednesday night falls, I suddenly see the end of the week hurtling toward me, and I am not ready for it.

Into the chaos slides Thursday, always surprising me with its blessing of one more day to get things done before FridaySaturdaySunday falls on me with its own list of commitments and strictures (yes, free time can be a stricture, especially if you feel bound and determined to enjoy it, at any cost, because there is so little of it, and you will have to wait an entire week for more).

So here’s to Thursday, a day we need, falling just when we need it. It is one of many things — seemingly small things — that bring hope and happiness to our lives.

The Size of Hope

“When you’re at the end of your rope,
tie a knot and hang on.”
It is a lie to say this.
A rope is bigger
than you require.
You can hold on to a splinter
if you need to,
and it will hold you.
Just pick it out
from among the rubble
of your life, see it shining
like the proverbial needle.
Reach for it.
When your hand closes on it, decide:
The center will hold
because I say so.

Because though my faith is smaller even
than a splinter (—a mustard seed,
so small the splinter dwarfs it),
the whole of God is in it.
This is the size of hope.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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