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I recently opened a bag of Jelly Bellies. The giver assured me that these were much better than regular Jelly Bellies. I don’t remember what they were officially called. I call them Jelly Belly Irregulars. They are jelly beans that are stuck together. “These are the best,” I was told.

Whatever. I have a sweet tooth. People aren’t perfect so why should jelly beans be perfect? I was sure that I could deal with it.

But imperfection isn’t all these Jelly Bellies share with humanity. They are just as inscrutable. The flavor key that is normally present on a Jelly Belly package is missing. A white Jelly Belly can be coconut, vanilla, or creme soda. Green might be kiwi, green apple, pear or lemon lime.

No, they don’t look identical but it is tricky. More than once I’ve found my husband with his hand poised over the tin. Is it worth the risk or isn’t it?

People are just as hard to figure out. Last week, my husband and I had a meeting. Once before we had been poised to take our business elsewhere but this advisor seemed conscientious and on top of things. This was a follow up meeting for a set purpose but it ended up feeling like bait-and-switch. Had she miscommunicated with her assistant? Or had her assistant miscommunicated with us? It was only clear that something was amiss. When I asked about it, I was challenged to produce the original message. When I did and it backed me up, I was told I didn’t know what I was talking about.

The reality is that people are flawed. And I mean all of us. I do make mistakes, but something about this whole situation left a bad taste in my mouth. It was like assuming I had picked up a Strawberry Banana Smoothie Jelly Belly only to discover it was Dead Fish.

And yes, Dead Fish is a flavor in the Jelly Belly Beanboozled line. Fortunately, those questionable flavors seem to be “missing” from my package.

What are we to do when we are faced with someone like this? Maybe she was just having a bad day. Maybe this is a sign of things to come. If it is the latter, the reality is that I can’t change who she is. That’s between her and her maker.

All I can control is my response. I have to decide. Is it worth the risk or isn’t it?


I’ve worked with bees wax a few times in the past, so I thought I knew what to expect.  But as my candle cooled, I watched as a crack opened up from side to side.

“Why is it doing that?” my husband asked.

“I know what it means when a cheesecake cracks.  Candles?  I don’t know,” I admitted.  Yes, this was a test candle but strictly speaking I was hoping not to need two or three test candles. After a quick Google search, I know what the problem was and have found several possible remedies.

One mistake or many, the choice is often yours.  Admitting that you don’t have a clue and seeking an answer can minimize the mistakes we make whether we are making candles or working with people.

I’m not always this good about admitting when I am clueless.  Sometimes, when someone is pressing me for answers, I don’t want to admit that I don’t know.  It is a matter of pride pure and simple.

What I need to remember is that no one should expect me to be perfect.  God is perfect.  Me?  I’m a lot like that candle.  Flawed but servicable and hopeful that my next attempt will go better.


I’d been looking forward to this celebration for weeks.  I was going to be singing a duet. Not to mention Presbyterians always enjoy food and you can only get King Cake for a short time each year.

But we had snow.  And ice.  Things were postponed.  Some of the music was changed because it was no longer going to be on communion Sunday.

Add the time change and an elderly cat who had a night-time accident and Sunday just was not great.  A friend I love working with was absent with a sick kid.  My own kid was a grump.  Other people seemed to enjoy themselves but I was tired and oh so grouchy and Sunday was COLD.

Fortunately, today is a brand new day.  First thing this morning, I got to go to yoga.  My husband picked up one of my favorite coffees.  And I’m working on a new picture book.  New stories are always more fun than old because they are still exciting and fresh.

I doubt that it will go entirely as planned but that’s okay. What day does?  Perfection, after all, belongs to God alone.  We people?  We’re a messy, imperfect lot but God has covered us in his grace.  Today is another chance to try to be his hands and feet.  To turn towards his light.  To share his love.

Just hang on.



Have a Mary Little Christmas

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