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This is something I definitely need to work on.  It is just so much easier to blame someone else.  And sometimes it really can feel like we have no control.  I suspect that the key is learning the skills before the critical situation arises. And staying on top of things as much as possible until then.  In light of that realization, instead of writing a longer post, I need to get our contribution to my MIL’s birthday dinner in the crock pot.



“Find a need and fill it.”  I don’t know what Ruth Stafford Peale had in mind when she said this.  But I’ve been sitting here thinking about some of the needs I see in our world today.

Kindness and respect.

The other day my niece was telling us about two of her team mates being pulled off the field by their coach.  They hadn’t fouled a member of the other team.  They didn’t sass the ref.  They were arguing with each other about which position one of them was supposed to be playing.

Kindness and respected could easily have led the disagreement in another direction.

When my son offered to take a repair over at church, I watched the head of the building committee.  You would have thought someone had handed him $10,000.  The irony?  Lately he’s gotten a reputation for being an argumentative bully.  Now I’m wondering how stressed he is dealing with the bathroom sinks, the leaky roof, the gutter, etc.


Kindness and respect.  It can make a difference.


Yoga was something else today.  Standing poses always require a bit of balance and today I just didn’t have it.  Straighten leg, stretch arm, tip over.  That was me.

But isn’t it the same with any good trait?  You may start off standing up for yourself, only to trample on someone else.  Try to correct that and you’re fine for a bit, only to discover that whoops now you’re being a push over.

Balance is a tricky thing to achieve.  In yoga, you need a strong core and good concentration.  In the Christian life?  You need a strong core and good concentration.  It’s just that in this case the core comes from core practices – meditation, study, worship.  And the concentration?  Pretty much the same – meditation or prayer, study and worship.


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.


Have a Mary Little Christmas

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