Apologies

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Let me start by saying “I’m sorry.”  No fancy lead in, no rambling excuses, just “I’m sorry”.  I’m sorry my posts have been few and far between.  Life, it seems, rushes by when you are not looking.

In our society ‘I’m sorry’ is used far too often without much meaning.  The message can be a lifeline to a failing relationship.  ‘I’m sorry’ signifies a need to help heal.  Parents say it to children, wives to husbands and vice versa, politicians to their constituents, bloggers to their audience and so on.  What does it mean to apologize?  They are just a few words strewn together to hopefully repair a damage.  Where would we be if we strove to not apologize and instead of a band-aid on a gushing wound, we avoided the injury instead?

Imagine if you will, lies that are spoken never crossing our lips.  Promises that are kept bring smiles instead of tears.  Hurtful words not shouted.  Gossip about another person ends with you.  Our lives are full of reasons and excuses.

Obviously there is a time and a place for a heartfelt apology but I feel if we truly work to never need to use our apologies then maybe, just maybe, we can live in communities that uplift instead of tear down.

Choose your words carefully and travel well my friends.

I Am The Vine

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“I am the Vine and you are the branches…”~John 15:5

I love this quote from John.  It speaks to me on different levels in my life.  Jesus is speaking of how He is the vine and we are the branches.  Saying without him you can do nothing.  Just like the branches of a vine, if the branches are removed from the vine they will wither and die.

In my everyday activities it astounds me how interconnected we are to one another.  I know how I feel when I smile at a stranger, but how does the stranger feel in response to my smile?  If I start my day with happiness in my heart, I know my morning runs a little smoother than if I start off crabby.  It is my interconnectedness with the world around me.  Everything we do in a day effects the outcome of our lives.  Every smile or frown, every kindness or angry word, helps develop our world.  I am not saying all of us will be written about in the history books or win the Nobel Peace Prize.  What I am saying is that everything we do, say, act or believe affects the community we live in.  Just as Jesus was speaking of His belief in each of us, that belief extends to our everyday living as well.  Whether you believe the words written in the Holy Bible or not the message is the same for all of us.  We are all connected.

Be kind to each other.  Be bold in your kindness.  Reach out to your niche in this world and help make it a better place for all of us, because we are all branches of one vine.

Travel well my friends.

 

 

 

 

Ashes To Ashes, Dust To Dust

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“The ashes on my forehead do not represent my wrongness.  They represent His rightness.”-KR

In all my years wandering on this planet, I have never understood a person’s ability to say they are not spiritual.  The encounters with stubborn atheists and fanatical ‘bible thumpers’ all revolve around one central issue, our souls.  The mysterious part of us that makes us…us.  It drives who we are, who we choose to be, and who we will become.  Our soul is a very broad term, which truly encapsulates, how a person views themselves.  Yet, how can a living, breathing, person not be spiritual.  We all have a soul and that soul is what makes us a spiritual being.

On this reverent day in the church year, we remember we were dust and to dust we shall return.  I will attend church with my boys this evening to have those words spoken over each of us.  It helps me to remember we are a fleeting glimpse out the window of the universe’s travels.  My spiritual/soulful self will embrace that reminder, again.

May you find peace in your soul, love in your heart and a joyful spirit that embraces your own spirituality.

Travel well my friends.

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Indulgence

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Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Shrovetide Tuesday, Pancake Day and all of the beautiful names this day has been given, speaks of indulgence.  No where does it say to stay inside hiding from our own personal demons, nor does it say to restrict your enjoyment of this day.  Indulge today, savor your life, enjoy the world around you.  Enjoy an extra Paczki or pancake or whatever you choose to indulge.  Not for the sake of a celebrated day, although it is a great excuse, but indulge because this life is worth indulging.

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Find Inspiration

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I did not attend church yesterday.  I was visiting older friends, out-of-town, who do not normally attend church.  We spent the morning sipping our various warm-wake-us-up-drinks, chatting, relaxing and generally enjoying the calm of another cold winter morning.  The grey clouds veiled the sun from us.  The winds blew whistles in the trees.  We stayed inside, in the warmth, of my hostesses home and her friendship.

Our conversations flowed with the ease of old friends, reacquainting ourselves with each other.  We talked of our children, the Olympic games, favorite foods, and our individual faiths.  We did not rush.  We just relaxed.

As the morning waned to the afternoon our hostess excitedly told of a pastor on television that gives a great sermon.  She told us he is not like any pastor we have heard preach and insisted we watch this mornings message.  I will not mince words here, I was not interested.  I take my sermons from trusted pastors in familiar settings, like a church.  I am of an era that remembers the scandals of TV evangelists.  People that got rich from little old ladies sitting in their living rooms trusting the reverend who gave a “great sermon”.  They being of the era that knows their tithing is a direct path to righteousness.  Then the scandals would explode on mainstream media.  The women, and men, who trusted their earthly souls to a person, who took their money for their own benefits and ran.  It is heartbreaking for me to see the trust so generously given, be stripped away so completely.  So, I do not give a lot of credibility to this form of religion.

Yet I sat down and opened my mind to the words this pastor imparted to the millions this Sunday morning.  His message talked about judgment.  How we should not be standing in judgment of others.  Quotes from the bible rolled off his tongue, he added in funny antidotes, and knowingly talked of theologians.  He talked to his congregation as if he was talking with a group of old college friends.  He seemed at ease with his stardom.  Without really thinking about it I started taking notes in my journal.  I was jotting down the bible references, adding in my personal thoughts, just plain wanting to remember the words that he spoke that did mean something to me.

At the end of the message our hostess turned to me with a smile and asked, “Wasn’t that a good message?”  I honestly responded with “Yes it really was.”

You may not be looking for inspiration, but sometimes inspiration finds you.  Be sure to keep your hearts and minds open to our world around us, you never know where you will find inspiration next.

Small Church, Huge Community

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I come from a family steeped in tradition and faith.  We go to church together, when we gather for family events.  We pray the same table prayer at every meal.  We revel in all the history of our family and embrace our past.  It is not uncomfortable to me.  The traditions give me a solid foundation to live my life.  My faith guides my every decision that crosses my path.

This Christmas season my brother, father and I attended the small country church where my mother guides her congregants as their pastor.  I have attended a few times over the years.  Sometimes with my children and sometimes just with my parents.  I like this tiny little church.  It sits on the crest of a country, dirt road.  There is no parking lot, they simply widened the road to accommodate the parking vehicles.  My mother, being their pastor, has a little sign posted at her parking space that reads, “Reserved for Pastor”.  I have always found that to be a kind gesture for this congregation’s pastor, since this congregation shares their pastor with another small church in a town not far from this church.  There is, of course, a small fenced in cemetery next to the building and swing set on the opposite side of the church.  As you park and walk up to the front of the church it has always amazed me at the beauty of this church.  It is not a flashy, fancy church but I have always felt drawn to the building and the community of people who share their own personal faith with each other.

For in this small church is housed a community of people, that feels as welcoming and loving as coming home to family you have known forever.  The attendance is small in number, but the community is huge.  There are welcomes with genuine smiles.  Sharing of stories like you talk everyday.  Then the service of our faith starts.  The light streams in through the stained glass windows, casting colorful patches everywhere.  The organist plays with the precision of a professional.  The congregation joins in with joyful singing.  Prayers go up to the heavens with heartfelt praise.  The sermon touches your soul and gives your mind something to mull over in the coming week.  It is a very traditional hour of worship.  Recalling my childhood, singing songs I have not sung in a very long time and remembering each note like I sang it just yesterday.  The service concludes and everyone gathers in the tiny narthex on this Sunday after Christmas.  We lightly talk of our Christmases and what family we were able to celebrate with in our gatherings.  We talk of the weather, it is so cold today.  We laugh together.  We wish only wellness for each other.  It is community that is much too large for the tiny confines of this quaint building.

As we leave back down the dirt road, which has been freshly covered with white rock, I reminisce of the small country churches I have attended over my years.  I ponder locations, people, faith, and the building itself.  I think by far this small country church on the hill is my favorite.  Just as the children’s sunday school song says…I am the church, you are the church.  We are the church together.

Have a blessed day!

Traveling Along

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Bags packed

dishes washed

plants watered

no lights turned on.

Road trip coming.

Cram the car full of stuff

snuggled in

music starts

I’m on my way.

Right or left?

Which way to go?

doesn’t matter

let’s just go!

The houses give way

to tangled grasses

dirt roads are welcome

no more masses.

I love to travel

anywhere

but a road trip

for a day

will help to keep

my wolves at bay.

For in the stillness

of my feet

I feel a longing

that tears at my soul

and makes me move.

I travel along

with friends

or family

or all alone.

I see the world

all different places.

The call of the road

keeps me going.

Next time I won’t hurry.

Sunday Inspirations

I love Sunday mornings!  It is a meditative time for me.  I feel the beginning of the week will start as soon as I finish my morning devotions.  Whether I am in a church, traveling, or in my church home, I feel once I have taken the time to spend some time “talking” to my Lord I am ready to start a new week.  The world will hurl numerous roadblocks at me in my life. It is my responsibility to be as ready as I can be to take on whatever is in my road of life.