Christmas Reminder!

Christmas Reminder!

As this wonderful season begins to unfold, I bring you a spiritual reminder. Yesterday is history.   Tomorrow a mystery.      Today is a gift.    That’s why we call it the present!     Just a four short weeks from now we will be taking down the tree, packing up the ornaments, cleaning up the mess and look at a stack of “to do’s” that have been set aside for the holiday season. We will be wondering what all the hustle and bustle of shopping, cooking and dressing up was for? How will we feel in Dec. 26tH? How we feel that day hinges on how we remember what all the shopping, cooking and decorations are all about NOW. All of these preparations are about building community! All the work of Christmas is about renewing the bonds that bind us to one another and to the Lord. If we remember that we will know inside how to handle “The Present” these next few weeks. The gifts we buy will make sense in the larger scheme of things. How we decide to spend the days and how we decide not spend them will make sense. Our hosting of get-togethers and the way we are guests– reaching out and pulling everyone inside the circle of our care and concern. All will make sense if only we remember “why”. The calm we keep at our center during these busy days will tell all who see us that we know what “Our Present” is about, that we know what matters and what does not. And because of that, we ourselves will be a...
Who Needs Black Friday?

Who Needs Black Friday?

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving devoted to sales, brings out the crazy drive to “get the best deal”. Saving money and securing the best price, often comes with strings – beating out your neighbor, getting up at dawn and grabbing at a limited supply. Granted everyone wants a “deal”, but who really needs it? Especially remembering that the best things in life are free! This time of the year, with Thanksgiving as the kickoff is the perfect time to celebrate God’s love for us – the best deal of our lives. We don’t need Black Friday to get in on this special offer. All we have to do us to be ourselves, living as beloved children of God. God’s love for each of us is abundant and not anything like the Black Friday Sales. In God’s Promotional Program: There is no time limit– this is not a one-day shot of love. The offer stands throughout our lifetime. You can ALWAYS count on God’s love to be there. There is not a limited supply of product. There is plenty of love and abundance for all. God will not run out of love, caring or compassion. This offer of unconditional love is open to all– you do not have to “earn” the deal. God does not give a day of his love for a day of our good behavior. God’s love is there in spite of our behavior. What better deal could there be? “Give thanks to God – He is good and his love never quits.”   (1 Chronicles...
Make Everyday Thanksgiving

Make Everyday Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the quiet holiday. It sneaks up on us after Halloween as we are distracted by the Christmas decorations.  It’s a day set aside without the fanfare of lights, gifts, parties and other distractions. This holiday is totally devoted to one of the most powerful practices that can heal, energize and change lives. We read that maybe we cannot change our circumstances but we can control our attitude toward them. And gratitude is that lynchpin that allows us that turnabout. Physically – Gratitude is related to 23% lower levels of stress hormones (cortisol). Gratitude is related to a 10% improvement in sleep quality in patients with chronic pain and 19% lower depression levels. Gratitude empowers us to take charge of our emotional lives, and as a consequence, our bodies reap the benefit. Emotionally – Gratitude will increase self-esteem, strengthen will power, enhance our relationships, deepen our relationship with our Creator, awaken creativity, and improve our abilities both mentally and physically. The one trait that can multiply goodness in ourselves and in the world is gratitude, energizing all aspects of our lives. So why do we celebrate this potent holiday only once a year? Make gratitude a “habit”… Count your blessings instead of sheep at bedtime.  If you like to write – start a gratitude journal. Decorate a vase and each day write down a blessing adding it to the collection of blessings in the vase. Celebrate by reading them every Thanksgiving. Whatever and however you can develop the mindset of thanksgiving and gratitude it is well worth it. “Great things happen to those who don’t stop believing, trying,...
What Gets More Valuable With Age?

What Gets More Valuable With Age?

What, besides wine, gets better and more valuable with age? In an article by Jess Catcher the author lists 11 other interesting things that get better with age: whiskey, jeans, cheddar cheese, cast iron skillets, beef, balsamic vinegar, fine leather, pickles, flannel sheets, and seedlings. (Thumbnail Source: Pinterest). Agree? Anything else that you might add? Returning from a girls’ trip to Tucson with 4 of my dear high school classmates to celebrate a birthday, I’m reminded of just how precious life is. After spending 3 fun-filled days with them, I would highlight two additional things that become more valuable as we age: time and friendship! (Maybe the author, almost 30, has not lived long enough to value these other two.) Studies have shown that our happiness is in direct correlation with our social interactions.  Social interactions are paramount because friendships can add years to our lives and life to our years by creating meaningful connections. A good friend can help us make it though this life by acting as a sounding board, solving problems dealing with loss, disappointment, doubt, confusion, parenting issues and divorce..all  helping with depression. A friend’s honesty can be priceless, helping us see clearly.  Friends can be role models uplifting us to be our best selves. Through a sense of sharing and belonging our happiness soars. Our self-esteem grows. These  “friendship boots” are very difficult to fill, making friendship so precious and valuable, especially as the years tick away. True friendships are rock solid, forever firm. Time on the other hand is fleeting…If we waste it, we will never get it back. The old saying is true:...
Spurred On By ZD Wine

Spurred On By ZD Wine

Recently I attended a wine dinner celebrating the 50thanniversary of the ZD winery in Napa Valley. The owner explained how his father began making wines while working in the aerospace industry in 1968.  In naming his newly found winery, he lifted the name, “ZD”, off the walls from his past employer, standing for Zero Defects. ZD – Zero Defects, a perfect call to excellence for all of us to remember. Can anything really be perfect? Well it is! Can we live in this conundrum with ironies surrounding us? All of creation is bursting with the Creator’s love. It’s up to us to discover how this “perfect” is in all the “imperfection” that we see. Even if you just look at the letters of the word, “imperfection”, you will find the word, “perfect”. The smaller word is tucked, almost hidden, in all the rest of the letters. How can we find this “perfect” with all the suffering, injustices and misery in the world? How can we find that kernel of perfect order in the midst of the chaos surrounding us? We need an attitude adjustment donning our faith colored glasses, knowing that everything works out for the best in God’s Big Picture. We may not understand it at the time. Maybe looking back in hindsight may help, but other times, may not. We are made in the image and likeness of God. We are “chips off the old block”, working our way back home. Listen to your heart whispering, “There’s more than you can see right now, much, much more on the other side of the wall. You are not made...
Life’s Seasons

Life’s Seasons

Recently Sears and Roebuck, famous for their coveted catalog and mail order business, closed its doors. Once known for being so big that the employees filling orders had to use roller skates in order to work in a timely manner! Similarly, singing the same sad song, the beautiful historic Montgomery Ward building on the Chicago River, now serves as the corporate headquarters for Groupon. Both of these landmark businesses have had their “season”. The extensive use of Amazon has shifted our way of shopping. Shopping trends, businesses and life styles come and go. And so do our lives. Seasons come and go as we cycle through our years of life! We need to live knowing that life is a participation in the Divine Cycle. The Bible, the book of Ecclesiastes, tells us that there is a season for everything. “There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.” As we go through our daily lives, moving so quickly through the times of our lives, we sometimes miss the blessing that each cycle brings to us. We need to retrain ourselves learning to rejoice in the present, no matter how difficult: There is a time to soar and a time to grieve. There is a time to laugh and a time to cry. There is a time to ride the wave and a time to hang on for dear life. There is a time for work and there is a time to relax. There is a time for closeness and a time for separation. There’s a time...