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Last week was just brutal.  I don’t know why.  I mean have a few ideas . . . I had a book due.  But I’ve done that before.  Why did I feel so overwhelmed.  Then came the annual nasty gram.  Yep, we have a nickname for it.  A long, ranting e-mail for the purpose of making someone feel like poo.

But this time things really seemed to be getting to me.  It seemed like I was hit on all sides with texts, e-mails, and messages.  I want . . . I need . . . do this . . . why doesn’t anyone ever contact me just to say hi?  I’m sick of being valued only for what I can do for other people.  I’ve had it.

Then I saw it.  Miss Ruth had e-mailed Lori and I.  She just wanted to check in and see how I was doing.  Did I need to talk?

That’s all it took.  Someone was out there.  And I might not have been the one that really needed to hear from Ruth but that simple e-mail? It helped a lot.

Someone was listening.  Contact was made.

God has given us each other for a reason. Yes,  He is always there.  We are never alone.  Yes, He always hears.  We just have to call out. But sometimes, a little human touch it the help we need to lift up our chins and know that we aren’t alone.

Reach out to someone today.  Let them know that you are there and that you see them.  Take a chance and you just might turn someone’s week around.  Miss Ruth did with one short e-mail.

–SueBE

 

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Probably about 5 years ago, we decided to try an experiment with Summer Bible School. Instead of having a week-long event for the children, meeting each morning, we would do three evenings for all ages.  Not surprisingly, I taught the adults.

To the surprise of many of the adults, we had craft time the same as the children.  Each person got to ink a quilt square.  The lady in charge was absent that night, replaced by her son, a college student.  “Draw whatever it is that makes you think of church.”  I had stepped out when it was the children’s turn and a few sat in thought but before long they were all drawing.  Some chatting.  Some laughing.  Having fun.

When it was time for the adults to take their turn, we received the instructions.  No one moved.  Then the questions started.  “Can we do this?”  “Is this right?”  “What about…”

The same assignment, two entirely different responses.  For the most part, the adults managed to take a fun craft and turn it into WORK.  That’s a four-letter word in case you didn’t notice.

JOY.  Three letters.  And a completely different attitude.

I’d love to think that I approach the tasks that God gives me with this JOY but I have my suspicions that it would be a good idea to remember to do this more often.

–SueBE

Respect your body. That’s one of the basic tenets of yoga.  What you could do yesterday is irrelevant.  You are dealing with your body today.  You may be able to stretch further and hold the pose longer today.  Or not.  Your body changes from day-to-day based on sleep, food, movement, health, age and weather.  The one constant is change.

Change really is a constant.  The seasons change.  If you live in Missouri like I do, the seasons can change two or three times a week.  Weather changes.  Attitudes change, what we accept as truth changes, and so much more.

So why do we fight change?  It would make a lot more sense to accept it as a part of life.

That doesn’t mean that we should work for a better tomorrow.  But it does mean that we need to open our eyes and look at today.  Yesterday?  Nope.  It is, as they say, done and gone. Tomorrow will be different but with a little effort it may turn out even better than we anticipated.

Change will happen.

–SueBE

 

 

Recently finished a biography of Bonhoeffer.  Will let this one speak for itself.

–SueBE

Yesterday, I had jury duty.  To put it kindly, I was not looking forward to a single part of it.  Let’s just say that this isn’t the first time I’ve been called and I am never selected for a jury.  So don’t lecture me.  No, seriously.  Do not.

That was where I was mentally when the judge took the lectern.  He introduced himself and thanked everyone for being there.  I managed not to roll my eyes. “No, seriously.  I’m not saying that because it’s your civic duty.  I’m saying that because you are all making a huge sacrifice.  You are missing work, volunteer activities and time with your family and friends.”  The more he talked, the more we understood.  He got it and we felt appreciated because clearly we the people had been seen and heard.  The change that came over the group was amazing.

Throughout the day, I saw this effect again and again.  Someone would mess up going through security (I have no clue who that woman was, ahem), and the guard just smiled.  “Let’s try something different this time.”  And the whole time they chatted and set people at ease.   They took their jobs seriously but they saw clearly that a little kindness made the day go better for everyone.

–SueBE

I absolutely love the sound of water – rain in the patio roof, water trickling and flowing.  I don’t want to be IN water. I loathe swimming in spite of the fact that my son is a swimmer and life guard.  But the sound of water?  Love it.

Sometimes I wonder if this is something hard-wired into our psyches.  Water is essential for life.  When astronomers study far off planets, the check the temperature and look for signs of water.

The wondrous pitter, patter means life.  That trickling sound means life-giving water.  A gift from God on a rainy day.

–SueBE

Courage comes in many forms.  There’s the single mother who has the courage to tell the story of her abuse.  There is the depressed woman who tells of her own thoughts of suicide.  Connecting with other people takes courage even if you aren’t revealing your deepest darkest secret.  After all, what if someone else has just told you something this big?  What do you say?

Recently I saw a video with Nadia Bolz-Weber.  In this particular video she was discussing grief.  In case you’ve never seen her or her videos, I’ll include this one below.  In this particular video she explains that when someone is grieving they don’t need Precious Moment platitudes.  They need you to be present.

And I think that’s the case in a lot of tough situations.  Be there.  Admit that the situation is a true horror.  Don’t discuss the greater good or God’s plan.  You and I have very little idea what that is anyway.

Have the courage to show up, to tell them that this truly stinks, but that you are there.  It takes courage but many things worth doing do.

–SueBE

You have to have faith.  Faith that what you are doing matters.  Faith that you will find what you need.  Faith that God will provide.

Otherwise?  Why even try?

I always think of this when I hear the story of the Good Samaritan.

Before the Samaritan came along, a priest and a Levite walked by the beaten man.  They walked on by because if he died, they would be unclean.  They would have to pay fees and make sacrifices to once again become clean.  Sure, he might be okay but they didn’t have the Faith needed to take the chance.

The Samaritan? He wasn’t the same culture as the victim.  If the Samaritan tried to help and the man died, his family would probably take revenge on the Samaritan.  After all, wasn’t he the last person seen with the victim?  The Samaritan could take shelter in a city of refuge, but his family would still be at risk, because the victim’s family could seek revenge against a son, brother or nephew. This was much bigger than a simple risk of his ability to perform temple rituals. This could be a matter of life and death.

But it was the right thing to do and the Samaritan helped.  He got involved.  He had faith that it would turn out okay and he did something big.

With faith, we can all do great things.

–SueBE

We’ve all been trapped in a meeting with a Carl.  Loud.  Speaking over everyone else.  The holder of every worthwhile idea.

Obviously, my first experience was with someone named Carl, a fellow student.  Maybe your Carl is actually a Carla because Carl comes in many guises. Carl might be an aunt who monopolizes every conversation.  Or a boss who dismisses the ideas of others as impossible or not how we do it. One factor remains the same, no one but no one else can have a worthwhile idea.  Carl contributes to every conversation and squashes it flat.

When you have a great idea or enthusiasm for a topic, it can be brutally difficult not to be a Carl. Especially when you are eager to help. You want to fill everyone with the same energy that has filled you.  The cause is urgent.  You want everyone to see that.

God knows that.  God knows that when we are filled with the Spirit we want to share it, sometimes more forcefully than is polite.  But that is why God gifts us with more than the Spirit.  We are also given self-discipline and love.  Together, that love can encourage us to draw out others who  may be timid and less confident to speak out.  What is your idea?  Have you observed something that might be helpful?

The power of the spirit enables us to bring change.  Love and self-discipline impact how we do it.  Three gifts braided together can truly be a force to move mountains.

–SueBE

Trees are powerful things.  They take root in our emotions.

A fallen tree makes me sad.  I always want to pat it and try to make it feel better.  “There, there.”

Having to cut down a tree?  If it is sick, I can just barely tolerate the necessity.  If it isn’t . . .  Even if it has to be done for safety purposes, it is simply better if I’m not there.

Maybe this is because trees are slow to grow.  Plant a tree today and you aren’t going to have shade in a week or even a year.  This is an investment of decades.

Not that this should surprise us.  God is a long-term thinker.  It takes time for things to build, to grow, to mature.

Maybe that’s why we so often think that God isn’t listening to us.  Perhaps God is on tree time.   The next time you need to go to God in prayer, find a tree to lean against, sit on a shaded bench, stare up through the branches.  And talk to God who made both trees and human kind.

–SueBE

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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