Spiritually Speaking Blog

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The Importance of the Insignificant

For the first time in 3 months I was able to put my underpants on standing up! (I usually don’t share this personal routine, but it happened to be an AHA moment. God does work in mysterious ways.) Before my hip surgery/recovery, I breezed through life, taking normal abilities for granted, not giving any thought to habitual actions. This healing process has given me a new understanding of just how important the little things are in life. I usually focus on new career goals, job responsibilities, projects, and big accomplishments, overlooking the insignificant. I’m off to write books and save the world. But life is like a kaleidoscope, as it twists and turns it brings new colors, shapes and designs into focus. This new awareness of the seemingly unimportant will serve me well as I mature physically and spiritually. As we age, the big goals morph into smaller intentions. Books become grocery lists and saving the world comes down to being kind to the ones I’m with! But don’t overlook the real importance of these smaller actions. You have an impact no matter how small and diminished your contribution seems. “You may think that you are completely insignificant in this world. But someone drinks coffee every morning from the favorite cup that you gave them. Someone heard a song on the radio that reminded them of you. Someone read the book you recommended, and plunged headfirst into it. Someone remembered your joke and smiled! Someone loves himself a little more, because you gave them a compliment. Never think that you have no influence whatsoever. Your trace, which you leave... read more

“I’ll leave the light on for you” – God

In a way, God is the Ultimate Hotelier! But Motel 6 and Tom Bodett took a page out of God’s playbook when they made the commercial for the roadside inn for weary travelers. Remember the TV commercial ending with the phrase, “We’ll  leave the light on for you.” This catchy jingle not only symbolizes the end of the road but also three messages that we need to remember for our earthly journey.   God, being the first to extend the welcome, says: I’ll be expecting you. “I’ll be watching for you and waiting for you with outstretched arms. You might be running late or run into detours along your journey, but sooner or later I know you will be arriving. I’ll be expecting you.” I’ll be welcoming all. “Not matter when you get here or in what condition in which you arrive, I will treasure you as the returning favorite child. When I look at you I see a much-cherished child, not a stranger. Ya’ll come –  seniors, young, old, pets, owners, children. No restrictions. No limits on my love”. I’ll leave this light on so you can find your way. “I know it can get dark out there and you may often lose your way, so I’ll give you signs along the way. Listen to your heart, your internal GPS, and follow that light. I am always with you, walking by your side. And your name is written on my hand, if you listen carefully you will hear me whispering to you. If you watch closely, you will see that I am here. So watch and listen.” Our... read more

Find Your Beach

It’s easy on an island vacation to “find your beach” as the Corona beer commercial urges us. The ability of disengage in our daily life is the real challenge. What a waste of time and energy we expend! Most of our stamina during the day is spent on things/activities that don’t really matter.  We are bombarded with pressures to accomplish this, acquire that and measure up to someone else’s standard. We go to bed at night with our minds racing of yet what we need to do, feeling that whatever we have accomplished is not enough. Our poor souls are flooded with the misguided notion we need to do “more”. Why don’t we remember who we really are and why we are really here? Besides the mental ambush, we are bombarded with “notifications”. Our peace and quiet is disturbed with beeps, ring tones, chimes, horns and a host of other alerting sounds calling us to more action. Sometimes we need to take a vacation to “get away”…get away from our normal routine to put things in bigger perspective. We need some “me time” some “alone time”.  When we can “get away”, all the items on the “to do” list seem a little less important. With a travel vacation we find new surroundings, different people, and diverse milieu, we are forced out of our rut and jolted into a new awareness, like a breath of fresh air. The pressures gripping us release, our shoulders may drop and we exhale experiencing true peace. But instead of waiting for a yearly getaway, I think we need to carve out “beach time” during EACH... read more

Let It Blow!

When in doubt….let it blow! It’s been over a year since hurricane Maria hit the islands in the Caribbean. The tropical paradise of St. John took it head-on being torn asunder. Survival and come back are now the main topics of conversation. Everyone has a genuine smile, happy to be alive. Everyone greets us with a sincere embrace, happy that we are there. Listening to the various stories of those hellish 24 hours of bombardment, I picked up on one man’s successful strategy. While other families were dragging refrigerators and any other heavy pieces of furniture to brace the doors from the onslaught of the ferocious winds, this one gentleman did not fight it. He opened his front door and let it blow. He went on to share that while others lost everything with the winds hurling refrigerators through their roofs, he did not lose his roof, or his house. He let it blow. Hopefully we won’t find ourselves struggling like this in a hurricane. But hurricanes come in many forms…loss of loved ones, illness, accidents, or merely difficult change. FEAR NOT: Stay in faith, knowing somehow through whatever is happening, that God’s plan is at work. Reach out to friends, take baby steps, and be brave and strong no matter what. We all are just a little afraid! RESIST NOT: Go with the flow. Whatever person or situation presents itself embrace it, knowing that you are RSVPing to God’s invitation. God would never forsake you, no matter how terrible things seem. Nothing happens for “no good reason”. We all are just a little out of control! Remember to... read more

How to Get the Most Out of Life

I think we have all read so many articles on how to live a longer healthier life, not to mention the anti-aging products flooding the market. Are there really ways to extent your earthly life? Sure, increasing exercise and eating more veggies certainly help. But in a recent article based on the book, “Barking Up The Wrong Tree,” by Eric Barker, I found a “spiritual purpose” that jumped out at me. The author maintained that knowing our life’s purpose would extend our lives. (I always knew that would bring meaning to my life, but it kind of surprised me that knowing my “why” would extend my longevity.) He explains that if you ask yourself, “Why do I wake up in the morning?” If it’s a good reason, you will probably have a lot more mornings ahead of you.The research reported that those individuals who expressed a clear goal in life – something to get up for in the morning, something that made a difference – lived longer and were sharper mentally than those who did not. Your purpose doesn’t have to be to save the world. It can be as simple as meaningful work or a hobby that you enjoy or just biding time until all the grandchildren walk down the aisle! Oscar Wilde wrote that the two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you realized “why”. We were not born into this world with instructions. We come here blind with respect to our mission, gifts and challenges. It’s up to us to stumble along determining our true purpose. Most... read more

Why Don’t We Do More?

Last week I shared an inspirational piece found in the belongings of Virginia Piper, a woman devoted to uplifting others. A woman who answered the call to “do more”. “I will do more than belong…I will participate. I will do more than believe…. I will practice. I will do more than give…I will serve and love.” (A few of my favorite lines. See last week’s post for the entire piece) As we read the call to action, we are mentally and emotionally buying-in, wanting to go that extra mile. But why don’t we? I think sometimes we get “stuck”. We are stuck in our own fearful thinking or become comfortable in the status quo.  We see many options – but the thought of choosing paralyzes us. We have big dreams – but are too afraid to chase them. We do what we are told – but not what needs to be done. We make a start  – but fail to follow through. We know what to do – but can’t see how to do it. Often times we don’t’ know what to do – and can’t quite define the problem. We get stuck in our lives of going along, and getting along. We tend to please, perfect, perform, pretend and procrastinate.  One of my favorite authors, Neale Donald Walsch, reminds us that life begins outside of our comfort zone. We literally must take that leap…..leap of faith, leap of courage or leap into the unknown.  Stop putting important actions on “hold” for a “better day”. Don’t procrastinate waiting for that “perfect time”. Jump in…now Stop waiting until… Until you have... read more

We Can Do More!

Being creatures of habit, we traditionally kick off the New Year making the same 3 or 4 resolutions each year. Most include something like lose weight, exercise more, stop smoking or getting our finances in order.   Do you think my New Year’s resolution to “eat healthy”, “lose 5 pounds” or “exercise daily” is really going to motivate me into action? If it hasn’t worked by now, what are the odds?  Why not build upon your own life and what DOES work for you? Why not strive to be the “better version of you”?    I propose that we ditch our routine New Year’s Resolutions and build on the opportunities we have to do “good things” in our daily lives.  Our dear friend, Paul shared a written piece that he found in going through his aunt’s memorabilia. Paul’s aunt is Virginia Galvin Piper, an inspirational woman, and philanthropist extraordinaire.  Let’s take a page out of Virginia Piper’s life as our call to action for this year: “I will do more than belong…I will participate. I will do more than believe…I will practice. I will do more than forgive…I will forget. I will do more than teach…I will inspire. I will do more than care…I will help. I will do more than be fair…I will be kind. I will do more than dream…I will work. I will do more than earn…I will enrich. I will do more than give …I will serve and love.” We all have daily invitations from God, calling us to be the best version of ourselves, to live unselfishly making the world a little more beautiful, more kind and... read more

The Hardship of Prayer

During my recovery from my recent hip replacement, I remembered reading a book, “The Gift of Peace” by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, in which he discussed the hardship of prayer during his last days on earth dying with cancer. (Not that I thought I was dying, but I identified with the hardship of prayer during that time.) In his book, the Cardinal said that we have to set aside “quality time” for prayer. It can’t be done “on the run”. We have to put aside good time, quality time. He shared that he gave God the first hour of his day, no matter what, to be with him in prayer and meditation. He shared that this practice helped him put his life in a new and uplifting perspective.  Although I do not give God the first hour of my day, I do set aside quality time for the Divine connection. But during my hip surgery and recovery, I was not able to find the “energy” or the “time” for the practice of prayer, even though that’s all I had, “time”. I remembered reading about this prayer dilemma in the Cardinal’s book.  The Cardinal said that he was taken “aback” when he realized that during his period of convalescence, immediately after one of his surgeries that he did not have the desire or the strength to pray. He admonished us to, “Make sure that you pray when you’re well because when you’re sick, you probably won’t.” We sometimes think that our faith is waning when we are not able to pray as intensely as we might have before.  But don’t be surprised. I’m thinking maybe... read more

Life – A Team Sport?

Growing up in Nebraska, mostly everyone is a football fan. Go Big Red! I never realized how much a blessing this was until I had been down for the count recovering from a hip replacement.  Since I had my surgery right before Christmas I had two options for my TV viewing – Hallmark Christmas movies (most of which make me cry even more in my weakened state) and football bowl games (between schools I’ve never heard of).  Opting for the stronger option I chose that of the football playoffs. In this one particular game between Houston and Army, I noticed a subtle difference with a powerful message. The Houston players all had their individual last names on the back of their uniforms.  The Army players only had the team name, ARMY, on the back of theirs. An obvious display in the differences in the approach to the game.  Now even in my “in and out” state of trying to wean myself off the pain meds, I got the message. We are all in this game of life together….sometimes we manage individually but for the most part, life is a team sport. We get by with a “little help from our friends”, as the song lyrics go. For there can be no “them”, only an all-inclusive “us.” The circle of our love has to grow so wide that no one is left outside. That is our life’s task and we we’ll achieve it on God’s team.  In creating the world and all that is in it, God left his fingerprint on every creature. We are all part of God’s handiwork coded to... read more