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Traveling

29 Aug

O, those wonderful interstate highways!
So smooth. No sharp-edged potholes, signs
everywhere, white lines mark the boundaries,
blue signs for this and brown signs for that and
green signs to tell you how far to Hoboken.
Clearly defined lanes, stay between the lines.
Cruise control.

But some foolish people I know believe that
life begins when the paved road ends and you
suddenly find yourself maneuvering a gravel
road, or a rutted washboard dusty road. My
friend told me: “I like back roads and seldom
used roads.” “Why,” I asked. “Because they’re
fun, full of surprises, unexpected treasures.”

Her reply took me to an invitation Jesus made
long ago. “Come, follow The Way.” But he never
said The Way is a super highway, an eight-lane
Interstate Highway experience. Life really begins
when one leaves the smooth highway and discovers
the excitement and the challenge of traveling
The Way. It’s a bit like off-roading.
Fasten your seatbelt. It’s not always a smooth ride.

How Beautiful You Are

26 Aug

Be beautiful today!
You are. Don’t deny it.
Inside and out, you are a beautiful person.
So, today leave a trail of beauty everywhere you go.
Sing a song, write a poem, tell a joke, smile, help a neighbor,
be a presence.

Leave your mark on the world this good day.
You are a beautiful person.
Share it.

The Choice

24 Aug

At three o’clock on an Arizona August afternoon, this is what I think about. It works. I hear the surf rolling in, sound upon sound, repeating its invitation: don’t stop at ankle depth. Dive in. Refreshment is the reward for taking the plunge.

A sea bird flies very low over the water, looks directly at me, winks and calls out: Fly. Don’t just stand there. Renewal is the reward for attempting.

A friendly wind whispers in my ear…what are you wating for? Let me give you a little push. Relax. Risk it.

And then, in my mind picture, an old friend stands beside me. “Come on…I’ll go with you…follow me.” He takes several steps into the surf, looks back, extends his hand, smiles, and I know. I recognize my reluctance, the hesitancy that holds me back. It’s the choice.

Here or there. Dry or dripping wet. Safe, secure…ankle depth or all of me?

It’s the choice, isn’t it.

Always the choice.

Old Words For A New Day

23 Aug

Consider these life-challenging quotations as you live through this day.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.”
(Author Unknown)

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest form of
appreciation is not with words, but to live by them.”
(John F. Kennedy)

“I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.”
(Maya Angelou)

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.” (Martin Luther King, Jr)

“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Sit down and think about these gems of wisdom. They certainly speak to 21st century people.

Up!

21 Aug

There is a temptation these days to look down. It’s hard to hold your head up under the weight and pressure of pandemic, politics, or personal problems. But look at what we miss if we keep our eyes on our shoe-tops.

Today I will look up more. I will look for the surprise in the scenery around me. I will be alert to momentary miracles, awake to the spectacular in the common. I will expect to experience something that will make me smile or wonder or think.

Sometimes the sky painting is very brief. Clouds move, light shifts, and different brush strokes fill the ever-changing canvas. Only those who look up see the gifts…they are there, waiting for anyone who dares to move from looking to seeing.

Friends

20 Aug

Friends walk through tough times together.

They stick by each other when the landscape is bleak. They walk side-by-side, each encouraging the other. That’s what friendship means. There is a place in the Christian scripture that says: “We love because God first loved us…” What if that applies to friendships? We befriend because we have been befriended. “I no longer call you servants; I call you friends…”

The ultimate gift and challenge of friendship? “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” To have a friend, be a friend. That’s the way life works best. James Taylor has it right: “If you call out my name, you know wherever I am, I’ll come running…you’ve got a friend.” Yes, you do. Be glad.

The Eyes Of My Soul

19 Aug

It’s not clear, blue water.

In fact, it’s not water at all but thick,

black mud, in some places several inches deep.

The Bighorn Fire’s residue is a reminder of many sad

days when the fire raged in the beautiful Catalina Mountains.

But in this flash of a moment, it is beautiful.

Give it a few minutes and it will be back to ugly ash and

bitter memories. But now in this exact moment, never to be

exactly the same again, it is striking.

Today I will be curious and conscious.

Today I will be awake.

I will be ready to receive blessing.

And it will happen. No doubt.

Today I will see with the eyes of my soul.

And I will be astonished.

Relax?

17 Aug

IMG_1375

 

The title caught my eye, especially the part about relaxing.
I need to relax and stop fretting about plagues and politics.
Well.
I’ve discovered that I fret as much over crossword puzzles as I do
about other hand wringing things.  Relax?  You’re kidding.
I’m exhausted from trying to figure out “an inadvertently revealing remark”
or “a mild stimulant from a palm tree”.  Don’t tell me, please.  I don’t want to know.
But I do want to relax.  So I’m going to watch the hummingbird sip sweet
substances from the flowers and the wind play tag with the trees and
Toby, my little canine friend from next door, when he walks by
and looks up at my window.
And I’m going to remember the ancient advice about lilies in the fields
and birds in the air and green pastures and still waters and a Shepherd who
cares about me.
And gratitude will be the medicine that cures my anxiousness.
Why don’t you take a dose, too.  You look like you could use some.

 

Me First

16 Aug

Sunday morning…let’s see, what’s on the calendar for this day?
Virtual church and virtual church and virtual church.
Push a button and I’m in Tucson, then Dallas, then Nashville:
blessed by each one.
But even before my virtual traveling, I am prepped by the messages on two little packets of artificial sugar that go into my coffee.  On one:  “leave a little sparkle wherever you go.” Good idea.   On the second packet:  YOU GOT THIS!  Be your best today!”  I got it, and that’s a good idea, too.  But let me translate both into the language of The Way that Jesus left for us:  “Do for others what you would like them to do for you.”
Initiate kindness.  Forgive.  Lend a hand.
Be the first to do it.  Initiate.
Me first…you, too.

In The Eye Of The Beholder

14 Aug

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I invite you to sit with this photograph and let it speak to you.
Better yet, have a conversation with it.
On many levels, this provocative cloud formation is a commentary
about life and all of life’s “ologies”…Theology, Psychology, Politicology, etc.

It is multi-dimensional, beautiful and scary at the same time, very fluid, symbolic.
For some of us, the formation is interesting.  For others, informative…at least suggestive.
So, get to know each other and see what thoughts are prompted in your
mind and in your heart.  The time spent will be at least as rewarding as
coffee and cable news.
Press on.