"Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it, because action has magic, grace, and power in it." Goethe

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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 4/5/17 (Wednesday)

I try to be positive. I do. But this.

Open Your Eyes to this and ask yourself the questions.
Dear God, 

Help us in this broken world. Open our eyes to the realities. Open our hearts to action.


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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 4/4/17 ( Tuesday)

Tonight I’m reminded to look deeper at the people in my life and see something I missed before.

I was visiting someone earlier today and saw one of my childhood friends singing spiritual songs to a group of retirement center residents. 

This friend is a busy human being: husband, father, caregiver, business owner. Yet, here he was in a role I knew nothing about. Of course my knowing it isn’t what matters. His gift is what I got to see. 

I sat in an area outside of his view and listened as he used his time, talent, and treasure in a beautiful way. It made me so proud in my heart to think I know this guy. This is David. My friend.

David started posting weekly spiritual reflections on Facebook a year or so ago. Many of us look forward to those as they are encouraging and uplifting. He rarely posts anything other than that, and I’m sure he decided to use social media in a way that is positive for him and others.

To witness him tonight in a different aspect of his life really made me stop and think. How often do we see friends and relatives without really seeing their gifts? We know we love them or like them or tolerate them, but how often do we see them as members of a kingdom in action? 

I feel like I received a great insight tonight: a reminder to look at all the people around me and how they enhance the world. We each are born with a gift. It is up to us to use it.  The “right” people will see us using our time, talents, and treasures and it may cause them to try to do the same. 

Tonight, I thank God for people like David. Who do you see everyday who is building the kingdom? 

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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 4/3/17 (Monday)

I opened my eyes to a dark morning today. Winds were blowing, the air had that feel it gets when you know you can count on a rain settling in. 

And it did rain some, but by noon the skies were bright again. Things change quickly.

A classmate just found out she’s going to battle cancer again…I think of my list of friends and realize quite a few are facing hard seasons. 

I think back to moments in my life when I was in a bad season. I think of people who helped carry me along. One thing was consistent among them: they did not ask questions. They just did something. Sometimes it was a text. A call. A note. An effort made without asking. 

Look through your friends list today. See if someone could benefit from a kind word. Make that effort. It really does help.

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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 3/27/17 (Monday)

Lenten Litter

I just got back from my weekly or biweekly trash pick-up. I live off of a rural road, and as much as one might think there would be lovely views of wildflowers and beautiful untouched landscapes, sometimes it just ain’t so. 

I routinely collect a 30 gallon garbage bag FULL of litter every time I make a visit to each side of my driveway. I only have to walk a few feet down  either side to be greeted with a variety of, but common items: styrofoam containers, beer and soda cans, plastic bottles, empty cigarette packs, fast food packaging. Today, a few others: a bright blue tarp, three photographs from an outdoor party, one pair of men’s soaking wet underwear (it did rain last night…), a piece of a discarded credit card advertisement, a dishrag. A piece of metal that had ridges in it…hmmm…I could use that for texture in an art piece…but no, I let it go. This time. 

I’ve often thought of writing a poem based on some of the things I come across, but today I had an additional thought. 

I still have a lot of litter in me, too.

I found myself looking at those items and making a lot of judgments. And about halfway through the process, I decided to quit thinking about the kinds of people who throw trash on roadsides and recall what a relative told me once: trash attracts trash. 

One cup in the ditch is an invitation to throw another. Negative thoughts only bring more. My ruminating on someone’s choice doesn’t change the fact that I can make things a little better in this case. In life, we don’t always get to fix things. I can pick up some trash though and make this little spot a bit more beautiful. 
While there, I noticed the yellows and whites of roadside blooms in progress. I saw two crawdad houses, some wild violets trying to get going. The doves were talking. 

Maybe they were saying thank you. 

It is a sunny day here. It felt good to be outside and moving. After I walked back, I saw several things around the house that needed cleanup, too. So I got busy. And that busy brought about a lot of other judgments. About little ole me. Yep. I have a lot of cleanup to do, too. It’s just not always out there for the world to see.

So, open your eyes to the world around you, and make it a little bit better today. Better because it’s a good thing to do. Better with no strings attached. Better attracts better. 


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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 3/20/2017 (Monday)

Here we are, already celebrating the first day of spring–as well as the International Day of Happiness. Those are two good things to think about during the next few hours. 

The birds are cooperating with a sweet serenade this morning. I have a few windows open and a light breeze is wafting through my little house.

We have no electricity  at the moment because linemen are setting some new poles nearby, but they were considerate enough to come tell me this would be happening. So–electronics are charged, a pot of coffee is made and staying hot in a carafe. Little happinesses.

Today I’m planning to open my eyes to the beauty of springtime, this season of renewal God sends. I may watch birds a little longer, look at flowers a little more consciously. I’ll likely think about little ways to mark another season’s entrance. And, in the spirit of the International Day of Happiness, I think I’ll start a list:

Maybe you’ll join me. 

Think about all of the reasons you have cause to be happy. Think about what you can do to help others find joy in their lives. 

Read and repeat. 😊

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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey: 3/13/17 ( Monday)

Hope you all had a great Sunday. Mine was kind of a lazy one. Here in the United States, it is Daylight Savings Time. So setting the clocks forward meant a little extra sleep-in time yesterday. I read books, made some art, pretty much kept things simple. And when I went to bed, I went to sleep with no guilt. 

It’s ok to have “sit down days” now and again. Every day doesn’t have to be lived in a hurry.

Today started with letter writing. It’s a Lenten  practice I’ve adopted this season. I’m keeping a list of people who might need some encouragement, some gratitude, some news.  I miss the days I used to correspond with more people. So far, as soon as my list gets small I find it comforting  that more names come to mind. There are plenty of people to write. 

If you’re looking for a way to make this season special, consider writing an old fashioned card or letter to someone. 

Open your eyes  to ways that can brighten someone’s day this Lent.

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Friday’s Five

This week I am thinking about America. The election process. The aftermath. How can I still see the good, you wonder?

Well, this is how:

First on the list today: veterans. I salute you, I support you, I thank you. Without your service and sacrifice, I would not be able to speak freely and live freely here. On this Veterans Day 2016, I sincerely thank you.

Next, reminders. Reminders to open my eyes. Think for myself. Read. Listen. Watch. Question. Act. Be part of a solution to the problems I see. How?

By realization. When we realize that small, intentional acts have a ripple effect, we become empowered. We empower ourselves. Choose to make a positive difference and act on that choice.

Education. I was talking with a few of my college students at the end of class last night. We are knee deep in research and plodding through all of the rules for formats, sources, documentation. But the reward! The reward of learning something we did not know. The reward of answering a question and discovering a new one. The reward of taking ownership of and for our own learning. 

Power. We have more of it than we use. We have the power to decide what we will accept and what we will not. We have the power to change our circumstances. We have the power to turn off the tv some days. Disconnect from the noise of technology. Connect with who you are at the deepest level. The very fiber of your being. Listen. Breathe. Decide. 

And walk on in the light of you. 

Peace, brothers and sisters. Protect it.