Bit Players

The Passion story told on Palm Sunday is one of my favorites. The plot is something we have all seen in movies and read in Bible stories. The significance of Jesus entrance into Jerusalem, his last supper with his disciples, the betrayal of one of his followers and his ultimate death on the cross on Palm Sunday marks the start of the most significant doctrine of the Christian faith. However, the people in the Passion story that are most fascinating to me are the ones with no names or faces. Who these people are is insignificant, but what they do is integral to the plot.


Definition:  bit player (noun) bit pley er 1. An actor who performs a minor role in a movie, play, etc.:  an actor who is not a star 2. Someone or something that plays a secondary or minor role in some process or activity.


Twice in the passion story Jesus makes a request of his disciples that involve a bit player. He tells them to go into the city and untie the first donkey the disciples see. If someone asks them about their intentions with the animal they are to say “The master has need of it.”. Of course, someone does ask – it’s a bit player. Most likely this is someone responsible for the donkey; precious property that looks as if it is being stolen. Contrary to common sense, this bit player is perfectly fine with the very vague “the master has need of it.” response.

The second occurrence is when the disciples ask Jesus where they should celebrate the Passover meal.  Again, the disciples are not given specific instructions but told to follow a man carrying a jug of water then ask the master of the house “The teacher asks where is the guest room that he may celebrate the Passover?”. Indeed there is a room prepared and this home. This is the one that blows my mind the most, because this master has the room not just available but completely prepared.

Who are these two people? Is anyone else blown away by the obvious fact that there has been some significant Divine communication prior to the disciple’s encounter with them? The master of the house is the one that amazes me the most. Preparation for Passover is no small feat. There’s a great deal involved in not just the meal itself. The entire kitchen is cleaned in a very specific way, the table is set differently than any other meal and certain items attained for this celebration had to be in high demand. Preparing for Passover is arduous. It’s obvious the master is actively preparing if he sent a servant out to fetch water for guests that hadn’t even entered his home yet. It makes me wonder; did he know the servant would find these disciples? Did he doubt that his prepared room would be used?Did his servants and family think he was crazy? What type of master is this that makes up a room based on the faith of someone not yet seen?

In my mind, I think the fact that these two individuals are nameless and faceless is no coincidence. The keeper of the donkey and the master of the house must have had their hearts opened in a way that they were able to respond to God without question. They are regular people doing everyday things but this time it has an extraordinary outcome. It could have been that every Passover the master of the house set a hopeful table. Maybe the donkey’s keeper had a supernatural knowledge about the necessity of his steed. We don’t know. We just know they were doing what they needed to and followed God’s call.

The bit players are essential to the Passion. They represent the faithful; you and I. We are an integral part to this amazing love story. Without the blind faith of bit players, the ride into Jerusalem and the Last Supper doesn’t happen. Bit players believe and take a risk that God will come and do what needs to be done. Aren’t we being called to do the same right now? Could it be that our everyday actions, our common daily tasks, our bit parts in the story of life right now are being used for something beyond our comprehension?

I think so.

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Accidental Lent

So, it’s Friday and this morning I went to the health club and worked up a tremendous appetite.  I came home and made myself a nice omelet and only after I plated it and sat poised with my fork above its fluffy goodness did I realize I put diced Canadian bacon in it.  Knowing full well that I shouldn’t be consuming meat on a Friday I was completely perplexed.  It was completely cooked and I felt like throwing it out would have been an extravagant waste of an entire meal.  There was also no way of avoiding the chopped up meat, it was completely incorporated into the omelet.  I asked for forgiveness and ate it anyway.


Definition:  forgiveness  (noun) fə giv nəs  1. Act of pardoning somebody; the act of pardoning somebody for a mistake or wrongdoing.  2.  Forgiving quality; the tendency to forgive offenses readily and easily.


So far this season of Lent for me has been the farthest thing from my mind.  As I mentioned in the last blog, I started Lent at a work conference.  I left that conference with a huge fever and was unbelievably sick for a solid week.  Then, as I returned to work my mother’s husband ended up going into hospice and just passed away this week.  This week my mother will be my priority as I help her gather photos for the memorial service and pick up and host relatives at my home that are coming in for the service.  It seems like any attempt to mindfully observe Lent are being railroaded by situations out of my control.

This morning when I made my omelet I wasn’t thinking about abstinence, suffering or any other aspect of Lent so I mindlessly added the Canadian bacon to my breakfast.  I was so relieved to finally get back into my routine and hit the gym after a two week absence and recuperation that I never gave Lent a thought.  My growling stomach and fitness minded brain was thinking “protein and limit those carbs”, not “meatless Friday”.

Lent is all about suffering, and finding a way to connect with Jesus’ suffering on the cross.  Most of us are blessed enough to live comfortable lives with plenty of food and no worries about shelter and basic necessities.  We need to actively pursue this connection to suffering.  For the last two weeks I have been tending to pressing needs both with my physical health and my mother’s grief.  I think my Lenten suffering has been happening but completely by accident.

Maybe a mindful Lent for me will end up being a little different this year.  I probably wont need to look too far for the suffering but I will still need to connect it to God’s love on the cross.  And if things should start moving in a more positive direction over the next couple of week, I can always go to a more “traditional” Lent and remember not to eat meat on Friday.

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Lent: A Commonality of Suffering

I am behind on my Lenten writing project.  In past years, I would treat Lent like I do Advent and try to blog each day as part of a mindful practice to honor the season.  I always have visions of this grandiose plan that I attempt to pass off as simplistic.  I think I will have oodles of contemplative time to honor the silence or ponder the agony in the desert and forget that oodles of contemplative time is a luxury that working parents of teenagers do not enjoy.  The reality is that Lent is here and the rest of the world with all of its obligations still revolves around a secular schedule.  Just the act of mindfully observing Lent is its most basic simple forms, is going to be a challenge.  I’ll do my best to blog daily, I know you will all be sympathetic if it doesn’t quite work out.


Definition:  suffering (noun) sʌf ər ŋ  1.  Pain; physical or psychological pain and distress.  2.  Painful experience; an experience that is painful or distressing.


This Lent started with a very heavy work obligation.  I’m part of an events department and we had our three day conference with 120 attendees start on Ash Wednesday.  My partner in crime for this event is also a Catholic and we agreed we would get up early on Wednesday and enjoy the Ash Wednesday service at Holy Name Cathedral, two blocks down the street from our event and then we would slip back into the conference with our obligation served.

So, a little side note here:  I am not a cradle Catholic.  I was raised in a Christian religion that did not emphasize a whole lot of ritual or express many outward signs of worship.  We didn’t even wear crucifix jewelry.  For my emotionally distant, non-affection showing, Nordic ancestral family, this was perfect!  We love not talking about feelings and other messy things!  However, Catholics LOVE this stuff!

Catholicism drew me in with the meaning and purpose of symbolic things like the distribution of ashes as a tangible sign of my non dualistic nothingness and preciousness to God.  But my discomfort with outward expressions of religion was challenged.   Couldn’t we place the ashes on my arm or some other place that I could cover up?  On Ash Wednesday as I leave the church, I still struggle with what feels to me like carrying a neon sign with the words “Ask me about the giant splotch on my forehead.”.  I’m not comfortable with people asking me about it!  God is completely on to me and my insecurity because I’m certain it is no coincidence that every year, I get the one priest who really knows how to dig his thumb into the ashes and lather it on thick enough to last all day.  Unlike my friend, I don’t have a nice full set of bangs to cover it up.

As I’m involved in the events of the day I’m not thinking about Lent, or the fact that I have a giant black smudge on my forehead.  Like any other work day, I’m thinking about things that need to get done; presentation materials, technology issues and hotel check-ins.  Everyone once in a while, I would carry on a conversation with someone and notice they are not looking me in the eye, but staring at my forehead.  I would slip away to the restroom and catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and have a moment of shock when I see a large black cross on my pasty white skin before my brain recalls why it is there in the first place.   Walking across the lobby, someone makes a humorous comment about “dirt on my face” and it takes a moment before I recognize what they are referring to.  During dinner I decide to break the ice with someone I barely know with a question about marketing plans and instead enjoy an incredibly awkward conversation about how happy he is that I went to church today.  My first thought is “How did he know I went to church today, and why doesn’t he want to talk about marketing?

………oh yeah, giant black cross on my forehead.

Everyone one of these things caused me to suffer just a little bit.  (Ok, “suffer” seems a little extreme, but this is Lent and it is all about looking for the suffering.)  For the next 40 days I should be focusing on not just my discomfort but the commonality of that suffering with those around me.  Lent gives us an opportunity not to just improve ourselves by removing sweet treats from our diet, but recognize how we share uneasiness, embarrassment, worry and anxiety with everyone else in the world and allow God the opportunity to reach in and heal it.

As I moved throughout the day on Wednesday, I felt very uncomfortable with each reminder of the outward sign on my face but by the time the awkward dinner conversation rolled around, I could also sense the discomfort of this person at my table as well.  While he fumbled his words and mentioned Jesus for the 5th or 6th time I truly felt a kinship with him.  Part of me really wanted to reach across the table and that tell him I didn’t want to be that weird Catholic chick with dirt on her face right now and he didn’ need to feel obligated to talk about it.  But I decided to just share in his uneasiness and make it as pleasant as possible for the both of us.

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Thus Lies the Poetry Lie

When I was in college I had a friend that I really respected.  Mike was a few years older than me and we were paired up randomly to work as prayer partners for our Christian fellowship group that we both belonged to on campus.  Having traveled to Europe for a study abroad program, he seemed worldly to me and I hung on every word he said like they were pearls of wisdom.   I looked at our relationship as one of mentor and student.  He majored in English and we talked about music and writing and reading quite a bit when we got together for our scheduled prayer sessions.  Mike graduated years before me.  His mentorship was based mostly on convenience and not emotion.  While I was happy to be paired up with him on a project at the time, it was not surprising that once he left campus I never really thought of him much and have completely lost touch.

In the last year or so I have had the pleasure of joining a writers group.  Once a month, this lovely group of women respectfully shares what we have written and enjoys each other’s encouragement.  We also do some exercises together to hone our writing skills.  Our ages vary, our mode of writing is different and our attendance to meetings is completely voluntary.  This is also a great mentorship for me, but one that is casual and easy going.


Definition: mentor (noun) men tɔr  1.  Experienced adviser and supporter; somebody, usually older and more experienced, who advises and guids a younger, less experienced person.  2.  Trainer; a senior or experienced person in a company or organization who gives guidance and training to a junior colleague.


Last week I received an email from my women’s writing group about our next meeting.  Being February, we were asked to voluntary come with something we have written on the theme of “love”.  I absolutely adore these requests.  I feel like it pushes me to do something I might not otherwise do and I’m always surprised at how much I enjoy a different topic.  I wanted to take this opportunity to challenge myself a little further and try writing a poem.  To me the topic “love” screamed for a poetry genre!  I don’t usually write poetry aside from Haiku.  This is where all of a sudden I remembered my meetings with Mike.

In college there was a poetry publication that students could submit works to and have published.  It was distributed free to anyone that wanted it.  I loved reading it but didn’t have any background in writing poetry.  I felt called to write but clumsily stumbled around the mechanics of writing and thought maybe I should share my attempts at poetry with my worldly, English major friend, Mike.  He was happy to help and I gave him about five sheets of paper where I poured my heart and soul out in my best attempt to be “poetic”.  He tried his best to tell me what was very obvious; it was horrible poetry.  He tried to explain to me that there are forms of poetry and certain mechanical aspects of writing that qualify writing pieces as a poem.  My writings had none of these qualifications.  He bluntly told me not to submit anything to the publication because he was concerned I would be rejected.  I awkwardly asked for my papers back and embarrassed, never mentioned it again.  I was incredibly immature and feeling rejected by someone I respected so I never attempted to write poetry again until recently.  As an adult, I realize now that I could have taken that moment to look further into what he was trying to tell me and learn more about the art of writing poetry, but I didn’t.  I unintentionally shut that desire down and told myself “You are NOT a poet.”, and left it there.

Now in the last year or so, I’ve rekindled that poet inside me.  I have found that I stick with Haiku because it has a simple formula of counting syllables that I can’t “mess up”.   However, with this latest assignment from my writers group I really want to try something else.  I want to write a poem on the theme of “love” that isn’t Haiku.  I sat at my computer and tried to cobble together words.  I found myself Googling poetry genres and forms like crazy.  I questioned everything I wrote and wondered if it was actually a poem or not.  Why was I doing that?  What was causing all of this insecurity in trying something new?  I was shocked to find my mind wandering back to that situation with Mike over 20 years ago!  I thought I had completely forgotten it.

God does this to me all the time!!!  I’ll be in the throes of something important to me or time consuming and suddenly I will have a memory of something or someone from ages ago.  It’s usually a circumstance I initially look at as insignificant and try to dismiss but also invokes a strong emotion.  Like this memory of my poetry conversation with Mike, I wondered why I was even having this memory but at the same time I could feel my awkward embarrassment and shame at revealing my horrible poetry to someone I respected as if it were happening now.

I believe God draws us back to those moments because there is something we believed about ourselves that started the basis of a lie.  It’s a lie that subconsciously snowballed and now God wants to heal and correct it in our thinking.  I let myself believe that  “I cannot write poetry”.  That belief was so successful that I could feel my emotions resisting my attempt at writing  a poem this week.  But it is based on nothing in reality.   My adult eyes could understand that I was 18, insecure and hanging on the words of someone that was the wise old age of 21.  He probably didn’t have the capacity at that point in his life to effectively communicate something difficult.  I didn’t have the maturity to be objective.

God calls us to heal in these moments.  It’s crazy when I think about how my brain holds onto something deep down and it bubbles up to the surface just at a time when we can be receptive to God’s intervention in healing it.  Being alert and aware to those little moments of memory can be instrumental in witnessing God’s presence in our lives.

I am still struggling with the love poem.  I have no idea how to write it and where to start.  I’m sure I will throw something down on paper and bring it to my group on Sunday.  They will be as gracious as always and point out the wonderful things and brush over the imperfect.  I’m poring over poetry magazines and looking for form and structure and trying to emulate it.  It will not be perfect, but I will take this as an opportunity to see myself in the same light that God sees me and worry less about the poem itself.

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Every Day Sacred

This week I am being given a gift.  I’m spending most of this week at a hotel close to my office.  I have a big work event coming up and a lot of things to get done.  With the 50 mile distance from my home to my office and the increased hours this week, my boss graciously offered to put me up in a hotel so I will not have to drive 500 miles this week.  This is wonderful, but the added benefit is that after work is over I have some peace and quiet.

For the last two nights I never even turned on the TV.  Instead I did Yoga and read a book.  It was spectacular.


Definition:  sacred (adjective) sei krid 1.  Devoted to deity; dedicated to a deity or religious purpose.  2.  Of religion; relating to or used in religious worship.  3. Worthy of worship; worthy of or regarded with religious veneration, worship and respect.  4.  Dedicated to somebody; dedicated to or in honor of somebody.  5. Inviolable; not to be challenged or disrespected.


Our local pastor emeritus likes to use the phrase “every day sacred”.   I like the fact that he doesn’t say “every day IS sacred”, but leaves out that third person verb.  It subtly changes the meaning and moves it away from us as individuals and makes it more about what goes on around us.  We might not feel like the entire day is sacred, but we can find something worthy of worship in every day.

Each day we have a routine.  We get up, brush our teeth, make some coffee, take a shower, get kids ready for school and a variety of other things custom made to our individual circumstances.  Those things we do on a day to day basis are in fact, sacred.  The commonplace is worth our respect and honor.  Recognizing the routine as sacred is not just being grateful for them, but moving to a point of seeing those things as precious gems can change our perspective on not just the present, but gives us perspective on how those things have shaped our past.  I only need to wrap my hands around that warm cup of coffee to remind myself that “life is good!”.   It’s a reminder that I live in total abundance and the fact that I made that coffee with running water, electricity and in a heated home makes me one of the more comfortable and pampered members of this planet.

There are things I am not doing this week because of the change in routine.  I am not seeing my children off to school or picking them up from practice.  I miss that a lot.  I even miss feeding the dog and have discovered a new appreciation for my shower head at home.  While the distance of 50 miles gives me enough of a break that I can appreciate some solitude, it also helps me appreciate how great I have it at home.  My observation of every day sacred is heightened.

I will be happy to be back in my own bed and slipping back into the same old routine by the end of the week and with renewed appreciation for what once seemed humdrum.

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Body Scan

Sometimes you just know you are “off”.  There’s something not settling quite right, your thoughts float to negative more than they should and maybe even physically things are just a little achy or tired.  I am a firm believer in the idea that our negative thoughts and emotions come out in physical maladies.  So when I’m feeling “off” I like to do a mediation where I scan over my body and see what’s going on.


Definition:  scan (verb) skæn  1.  Examine something in detail; to subject something to a thorough examination.  2.  Look through something quickly; to look through or read something quickly.  3.  Obtain image of body; to obtain an image of internal organs with any of various devices, especially in order to make a diagnosis without the need for exploratory surgery.  4.  Examine something with beam of light; to direct a light sensitive device over a surface in order to convert an image into digital or electronic form for further storage, retrieval, and transmission.  5.  Examine stored data; to make an automatic search of a computer storage medium such as a magnetic disk or tape for data in anticipation of retrieving that data.


There are some great guided body scan meditations.  I like the meditation app offered on, which has, in fact, a meditation called “body scan”.  Doing a body scan is exactly what is described in the first definition; it’s taking a close examination of what is going on in your body.  Quieting the mind and thinking deeply about each little part of our body can reveal a lot about how we carry stress, worry and other negative thoughts around with us physically.

So this week, I was feeling “off”.  I was getting irritable and found my mind wandering back to issues and circumstances that happened years ago and invoked a negative outcome.  These were not pleasant things and involved people that are no longer actively involved with my life.  Just remembering these circumstances made me upset and I would stop myself several times this past week and wonder why on earth I would be reminding myself of something so uncomfortable.

I decided to do the body scan meditation and check out what was going on physically.

My jaw was hurting a lot.  I do have issues with Temporal Mandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) like thousands of other people, but I hadn’t noticed how inflamed it was and how I was carrying more tension that usual in my jaw until I did the meditation.  Then I went to work out with my trainer at the health club and realized that as I exercised, again, I was clenching my jaw when working out muscles in my upper body, especially my shoulders and back.

The next time I sat down to meditate, I asked God to pull together those physical issues and my weird memories of past negative circumstances.  It was there, with God that I could recognize that everything I was remembering had to do with situations where I felt I wasn’t being heard or my best interest was not looked after by someone I trusted.  Then I examined what I was going through this past week and saw some similar patterns.  I was literally holding my tongue or not expressing my true feelings and causing my jaw to tense up.

It all made sense.  Physically and mentally I was gearing up for a repeat performance of the past.  I can’t tell you how empowering this was for me this week.  I was able to connect the physical and mental and let God’s spiritual presence come in and make that scan with me.  I felt like I could recognize where God was trying to intervene and I where was putting up barriers to that intervention.   Although, the recognition is half the battle, if felt like this week was an absolute breath of fresh air.

Have you ever recognized something going on with you physically that corresponded to a spiritual need for healing?  I’d love to hear about it!

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Whale Tale

Rediscovering my love of writing I have had to familiarize myself again with some terminology I had completely forgotten.  Flashbacks to a junior high English class are induced when I touch on the words, alliteration, allegory, simile or metaphor.  I was reminded of one of these words this past weekend when, because of my church music playing duties, I got to hear the story of Jonah twice.


Definition:  allegory (noun) æl lə gɔ ri  1. Symbolic work; a work in which the characters and events are to be understood as representing other things and symbolically expressing a deeper, often spiritual, moral, or political meaning.  2. Symbolic expression of meaning in story; the symbolic expression of a deeper meaning through a story or scene acted out by human, animal or mythical characters.  3.  Genre; allegories considered as literary or artistic genre.  4.  Symbolic representation; a symbolic representation of something.


I grew up in a home where the Old Testament stories were familiar tales.  I knew the names Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego before I went to kindergarten and was keenly aware that they didn’t perish in a fiery furnace.  So, to hear the story of Jonah some forty odd years later was akin to an AMC classic in terms of Bible stories.  I loved the Old Testament imagery and prose as a child!  What I didn’t understand then was how Jonah’s story was one shrouded in controversy among adults.  The epic Homeresque quality to Jonah’s journey to Nineveh questions our rationality and penchant for wanting a literal interpretation of this tale.  Our brains read that Jonah is swallowed by a whale and then spit out whole and question what reasonable person would believe this could actually happen.

Some would argue: “Who is to say that God, in all-knowing, infinite wisdom, doesn’t use a variety of literary forms of expression to bring home a point?”.  Others may contradict, “If the Bible contains metaphor and allegory doesn’t that cast a shadow of doubt on Jesus as the Son of God?”.

I loved Jonah’s story as a child and its Odyssey moments of trouble at sea, appeasing an angry god, a giant fish that vomits up whole people and a plant that grows and dies overnight.  However, as an adult I appreciate the bigger message it brings.

Listen and follow directions.

I can relate to Jonah more now than I could as a five year old.  Jonah is asked to do something he doesn’t want to do.  “Go and preach to the people of Nineveh.”  This is putting Jonah in an uncomfortable position.  Why he doesn’t want to do this is much easier for me to fathom now as an adult.  It’s a treacherous three days journey just to walk through Nineveh (Jonah 3:3) and he doesn’t like the people.  We know this because he is downright furious at God for making him the vehicle by which the people of Nineveh are saved (Jonah 4:1).  He walks away from Nineveh so he can view its imminent destruction and is beside himself with anger that God isn’t wiping the entire place off the planet.  God uses a plant to shield Jonah from the elements and then takes the plant away (Jonah 4:6-8) to try to get Jonah to understand how important the people of Nineveh are to Him.

I have been Jonah in many circumstances.  I have resisted a call to do what was right.  I avoid uncomfortable situations.  I have wished for my own desires to be filled instead of the will of God.  I have lost perspective while consumed in my own story of how things should go.  I’ve been angry at God.  God has always been compassionate to me and to those I don’t especially like.

This is the point of an allegory; taking a story and using its imagery and symbolism to help us identify God’s role in more significant and practical ways to our lives.

Listen to God, follow directions and don’t worry about the whale.

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In with the New, Out with the Old

In an effort to be more alert and aware I’ve noticed a theme in things I’ve been reading and topics people seem to want to talk about when they are around me.  It may be a result of this being the time of year fact that most people like to look at as an opportunity to make big changes.  Everything seems to revolve around transformation.


Definition:  transformation (noun) træns fə mei ʃn  1.  Complete change; a complete change, usually into something with an improved appearance or usefulness.  2.  Transforming; the act or process of transforming somebody or something.  3.  Substitution or variables; the mathematical conversion of an expression, equation or function into another equivalent entity, e.g. by the substitution of one set of variables with another.  4.  Genetic change; a permanent change in the genetic makeup of a cell when it acquires foreign DNA.  5.  Cell modification; the conversion of a normal cell into a malignant cell brought about the action of a carcinogen or virus.


I am a firm believer that everyone falls in love with the idea of “different” but we all have some level of paralysis when it comes to implementing it.  We want improvement, resolution, transformation or some other form of change because we feel that what we have at this moment is somehow inadequate.  What we often struggle with in trying to make change happen is letting go of the comfort of what we already have in place.

When I decided to make writing a priority in my life, I read book called Page After Page by Heather Sellers.  Sellers offered her insight about good writing habits as well as how to keep going and remain passionate about your creative process.  What struck me and stuck with me years later was Sellers’ discussion about living a “writer’s life”.  Creative processes are mostly made alone and you will need to tell a lot of people “no” so you can sit your butt in a chair and actually write.  It’s difficult to implement that kind of change when it requires looking another friend or family member in the eye and telling them you can’t do what you have always done.  When you start to consider all of life’s responsibilities, like earning income and taking care of children, a change in tradition or routine is not easy!

Whatever your intended transformation is, whether it’s a creative process, a new diet or a job, it will always require some sort of revolution; a full blown overthrow of something else in your life.  I think I’m seeing God point this out to me in all of those conversations and bits of reading material I run across.  The message has been coming across loud and clear:  “Figure out what you need to let go of.”

My spiritual director asked me last week if I had any goals for the year in my walk with God.  I said I wanted an overall goal of health; not just physical health but mind, body and spiritual health.  Deciding to make a concerted effort to be healthier on all three fronts means evaluating everything and making room for those efforts.  This has required me to dig very deeply into asking why I choose to occupy my time with things that don’t contribute to the health of my mind, body or spirit.  I found a common theme; acceptance.

It seems like a lot of what I choose to do is not based on what is good for me, but it’s based on pleasing others.  A good example is my job.  I l started a new job that I love about a year ago.  I feel like I have finally found my niche in an industry I have been working in for over 20 years.  When it comes to earning a living I am happy with what I do because I get a lot of praise and acceptance for doing it.  I work a small creative aspect (marketing) in a field full of a very analytical people (financial wizards) and because most of them feel like marketing is out of their wheelhouse they appreciate me.  On top of that, I occasionally get a verbal confirmation of that (yippee!).  I’m also paid what I feel is a very fair wage for this job and the people I work for allow me flexibility to change my work schedule according to my family obligations.  WhaaaaHoooooo!

This has me willing to drive 50 miles away two to three times a week.  That’s 100 miles a day!!!  That drive is not complimentary to my goal of a healthier spirit, mind or body however every other aspect of that job is fantastic.  I find myself asking God if I am loving this job because I’m “called” to it, or am I distracted by basking in the glow of appreciation and acceptance to not realize that I’m called to be somewhere else?  I see myself reflecting back on the writing habits book and remembering that sometimes the right choice to accomplish a goal can also be the lonely, unpopular choice.

I don’t know the answer to that right now.   I do know that I’m excited to go to work for the first time in many years and right now that is trumping my meditation time, exercise time and writing time.  I found that physically I’m deteriorating (gaining weight, sleeping less etc) and I’m spiritually exhausted.  I joined a health club and started working with a personal trainer just so I have someone else holding me accountable to some sort of schedule with regard to exercise.  This too is something I need to make room for!

I will be asking God a lot of question about keeping the balance of this new page of my life.  I know this is something every human being goes through.  We all look for that balance and I would love to hear how you get direction from God in finding it!

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Christmas and all the overnight guests, the son home from college, the extra chocolate and endless trips to the grocery story have crept to a quiet ending.   The guest returned to their homes, the laundry is piled high, the offspring sojourned back to campus and the chocolate was deposited in the office kitchen as soon as I returned to work!  I had a lovely, although, hectic holiday week.  Those stressful things that felt like they were up in the air a couple of weeks ago seemed to settle right into their proper place and work their way into holiday magic and resolve just like they are supposed to.


Definition:  resolution (noun) rez uh loo shuhn  1. A formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a formal organization, a legislature, a club or other group.  2. The act of resolving or determining upon action, course of action, method, procedure, etc.  3.  A resolve; a decision or determination.  4. The mental state or quality of being resolved.  5.  The act or process of resolving or separating something into constituent or elementary parts.


This next week as I reflect back on all of the celebrations and reconnections, I’m also looking forward to starting off a new year.  We will hear about resolutions and the laundry lists of great habits we should commit ourselves too for the next 12 months.  About six weeks from now we will read social media posts from our friends about their lack of ability to see through some of those commitments as well!

This year I decided to really look at what a resolution is.  I love the definitions above because they all have “resolve” in them.   Resolution is more about an ending than a beginning.  It’s about all things meeting up and coming to a conclusion.

The etymology of the world resolution originates in 14th century French.  A Latin root resolvere means “to loosen” and the original word resolutionem means “a breaking into parts”.

I have found at the end of 2014 I am just a shadow of the person that embarked on this year.  I have changed a lot. My year of mindfulness ended up being a year of allowing God to resolve those things I had always chosen to struggle with.  I had to break things apart by allowing myself to recognize my interference in their resolution in order to let them go.

So now, as I start to ponder 2015 I’m looking a resolution in a completely different way.  It’s not really a decision for me to make but an ending to be embraced and celebrated.  This is an opportunity to loosen my hold on what is not rightfully mine and embrace Love instead.  2015 is about an awareness of how God is moving in my life and about being still enough to listen and observe.

In an effort to continue down this path, next year my theme for this blog is going to be “Alert and Aware”.  This year will be a quest to intentionally look for real Love’s presence in the every day and celebrate it.  I hope you will join me in looking a little deeper and watching your resolution unfold!

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Right now, I have a son home from college, three extra people at my house, and three more en route from the East Coast.  My house will be the epicenter for all the festivities with a big meal on Christmas Eve and another equally large meal on Christmas Day.  For the next six days my house will be anything but normal.   There will be a very large pile of shoes at the front door, plenty of dishes to wash, card games to play and late nights.  I’m definitely not complaining.  I LOVE having my family over and all the excitement that comes with seeing those people that we don’t get to visit with in person as often as we would like.  However, when it comes to having a mindful Christmas all of the excitement and distractions can be a bit of a challenge.


Definition:  distraction (noun) di stræk ʃən  1.  Something that diverts attention; something that interferes with concentration or takes attention away from something else.  2.  Amusement; something providing entertainment or amusement, especially something that takes the mind off work or worries and helps relaxation.  3.  Emotional upset; a state of great mental upset or emotional intensity.


I guess in some ways I’m enjoying all three definitions of distraction.  While, I’m distracted from my meditation practice and might have to work a little harder at focusing on the real meaning of the season, I am also feeling relaxed and entertained doing things with my family that I do not normally get to enjoy like going to movies and cooking fabulous food.  Once in a while, when I’m over tired I’ll experience the emotional upset of definition three as well.  I think for the next week what I’ll need to focus on is not a singular definition, but all three of these.  They are all blessings in one way or another.  Even getting upset can have its moments of truth and sincerity.

To me, this is always the challenge of special holidays where we are surrounded with circumstances that are outside the norm.  It’s our nature to want to revert back to a comfort level and long for peace and quiet or an empty house.  We need to meet the change with openness and a willingness to see what we can learn about ourselves.  God uses every circumstance in our lives to teach us and full houses give an overabundance of opportunities to learn!!

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