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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.


Have you ever had one of those days?  You know the kind I mean – no one can do anything at all to make you happy.  The trash men put your garbage can down behind your car.  The mail was laying all over the porch instead of in the mailbox.  And don’t forget that cup of coffee – the one that was too bitter, than too sweet, too hot and later too cold.  Nothing but nothing is right.

Put the coffee down and take a deep breath.  Nope.  Don’t pick the coffee up.  Now take another deep breath.  You can do it.

And as you breathe so deeply, think about it.  Why are you being such a crank?  Does it have anything to do with the many people you’ve griped at or is it something else?

I know that in my own life, it tends to be someone or something else.  Someone I can’t crab at or something that is entirely out of my control.  When that happens, I put myself in time out.  Adult time outs are very important.  You can do a wide variety of things.  Enjoy a cup of tea.  Read your Bible. Spend some time knitting.  Or you can just breathe.

When you’ve spent some time decompressing, you’ll probably find that you see the world differently and, most likely, the yardstick is a bit more generous.



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?


You truly understand this quote if you live in a multi-cat household.  They aren’t at war but one of them is sitting on your lap, tensely eye-balling another cat across the room.  There’s one on the back of the sofa, tail twitching.  The third might be oblivious.  Or she might be sitting beside the water bowl. She looks peaceful, but really?  She’ll chase off anything feline that gets too near her water.

Peace is most definitely not the opposite of war.  But just what peace is can vary by person and by situation.

Sometimes peace is quiet, serene.  It is a moment to simply be.

Sometimes peace is a lull.  It is the time it takes to sip a cup of coffee while you gather yourself for the day.

Sometimes peace is more active.  It is working to provide a place of safety for those who have known violence and strife. It requires creating balance and seeking justice.

Peace. It seems like such a simple word and sometimes it is simple, but not always.  What does it mean to you?


One of my all time favorite Billy Graham quotes.



There’s a difference between forgiveness and being a victim. Being a victim means that we let people do the same things to us again and again.

Forgiveness?  You put down the anger.  You toss away the rage.  You don’t give it space in your head 24-7.  It doesn’t mean that you forget, but you let go of the rage.

Instead you look for a spark of light.   That becomes your focus and what you show the world.  Not the rage.  Not the anger.  The light that pushes back darkness.


Helping people can be tricky.  We see someone with a problem.  We know, just know, how to help them.  So we do.

The problem was theirs.The solution was ours.  And there are times that all is well and good.

But what if they had another solution in mind?  A better solution?  A solution that didn’t create an us with power and a them without?

When we help someone, we need to do it with love which is what makes helping people tricky. Love listens.  Love opens up to new ways of doing things.   Love doesn’t assume that there is only one way, our way.

Love, like Christ, moves among those in need, getting to know them, seeing them, speaking to them, sitting beside them.   Only then does love act.



The pastor that I grew up with understood people.  He knew how easy it was to focus on the busy work of maintaining a church.  There’s the parking lot to repave, the roof to replace, that room needs painting, and more.

For every dollar we spend on ourselves, we had to donate a dollar to someone else.  It didn’t matter if it was a $200 project or a $20,000 project.

As I child, I didn’t understand why he did this.  I didn’t dislike the practice. I honestly didn’t think about it much.

As an adult, it means a lot more.  Whether we are discussing church life or home life, it is so easy to get caught up in busy work and our own agendas.  So think about it.  What are you doing for others?  A little something to noodle over.


I have to admit, I am in awe of people who can do this.  War protestors.  Civil rights protestors.  Women’s rights protestors.  All have stood, or sat, and let the hatred flow past them.

All I can think is wow.  Me?  I get the modern approach to protest.  Not turning cars over and setting fires.  But fists raised in anger?  Shouting?  That I understand.  I’m not saying that God gave me rage but I have it.  I feel it.  Sometimes I even seem to embrace it and hold it close.

But always my eyes are drawn back to this other way.  And I think wow.


Have a Mary Little Christmas

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