Category Archives: Inspiration

We Don’t Talk Anymore!

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Today everything is done on the fly, so to speak. One day, I realized that I had not spoken to an old friend for years, though we email each another on a regular basis.  So, I decided to shock her. I picked up the phone and dialed her mobile number.

She said that she started not to answer because she did not recognize the city nor the number. She also said that she considered blocking it.  When she discovered that it was me, we both laughed and admitted that we have allowed social media to take over our lives.

Since we had last spoken, her land-line number had changed years ago and that says a lot about our current state of affairs when is comes to real communication.   When I used to call my older relatives, they would often say, “It’s so good to hear your voice.”

Nowadays, we shy away from actually talking to each other for a host of reasons.  We are too busy or though we may not say it, texting and emailing is a convenient way of not dealing with each others’ feelings and emotions.  When we shoot a brief message over to someone, we don’t have to deal with their being lonely, worried, sad, overly-excited or just too long-winded.

I recently saw a Twitter message where a woman basically wrote, “Text me or email me.  Don’t call because if you do, I will just look at the phone ringing.” I thought, “This speaks volumes and it perfectly makes my point.” People don’t have a lot of time or they are unwilling to spare it to listen to others.

I am currently reading a book called Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell which was written in the mid-1800’s.  Mary Smith, the narrator, has a bird’s eye view and she shares what is going on in the lives of the people in the town of Cranford.

Reading this book is comparable to taking a slow stroll in the park.  The reader gets to see the houses, the roads, the carriages and the gardens.   We feel the silk dresses of the women and witness the threadbare clothing of Captain Brown.  We smell the fresh roses and breathe in the frigid air as the townspeople commune with each other in a variety of settings.

The pace is slow enough where they truly get to know each other and accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  Their visits often last weeks if they are visiting from another town.  They have real face time.

Today, we have allowed our little screens to dominate our existences and we are missing out on a large part of simply being human.  Talking and listening to one another are still vital to our wholeness.  It reminds me of Charlie Puth’s song, “We Don’t Talk Anymore.” Think about it!

Lynn M.                                                                                May 18, 2019

Because He Lives!

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Perhaps during the burning of the Notre Dame Cathedral, the gargoyles performed their duties well.  Though much was lost, much was gained and retained.  It brought the people out in large numbers as they cried, held hands and sang hymns in one voice.

Whenever the burnt-out interior was shown from Paris, the huge golden cross stood starkly for all to see.  During this Holy Week, I thought of the song, “Because He Lives , I Can Face Tomorrow.”  They said that even a well-known bee colony survived the fire.

The cross is still offering hope and serves as a silent reminder that it stands to address our wants and our needs.  It reminds us of our brotherhood because in times of great fear and sorrow, we cling to one another.

And as the gargoyles worked overtime, much was salvaged, and billions of dollars have poured in from around the world.  The towers still stand and much of the structure of this beloved building seems to be sound.

No matter how much we have gained materially, we still have a deep childhood respect for the church as a vital part of our community and civilization.  Some may not have sung hymns in years because we have allowed our busyness and social media to run rampant in our lives.

But this frightening event made us all pause and realize how far we may have ventured off course.  As we take things and people for granted, in times like these, we stop to reclaim our direction as we lean on what has proven to be tried and true.

Lynn M.                                                                  April 20, 2019

Filling Up Space!

“… precept upon precept,
line upon line;
here a little and there a little.”
Isaiah 28:10

We can apply this quote as we wait on change.  The lull time between high activity and down-time presents a perfect opportunity to look around at our immediate surroundings. We may notice those things that have quietly fallen into disarray during our busy seasons.

So rather than worrying about the outcome of impeding situations, this is a good time to fill up those spaces with meaningful, mini-projects. We can start a to-do list of things that need to be done and not sit in one place adding more wrinkles to our brows.

Perhaps, those closets need extra attention.  Our wardrobes must be changed from winter clothes to spring wear.  Or are there boxes still sitting somewhere in our abodes silently waiting to be unpacked and discarded?  This is a perfect time to dig in and do some spring cleaning.

Many books are being written about becoming more of a minimalist.  We can use this special time to define what needs to be done.  It’s great chance to throw out surplus personal papers and organize whatever we decide to keep in our possessions.

As we stay faith-filled during our wait times, we can gain a tad of encouragement from John Burroughs’ poem Waiting.   He writes:

“Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;
I rave no more ‘gainst time nor fate,
For lo, my own will come to me.”

Amid the flying dust or the upheaval of rearrangement of our things, we might be distracted by a beep signaling an email or text or a ringing phone. We simply pause from our work to answer and hear that there is indeed good news. There has been a breakthrough! After taking the message, we can smile and wonder, “Wow! Where did the time go?”

Lynn M.                                                                              April 6, 2019

Straight & Narrow!

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We have heard that the way is straight and narrow.  As we age in maturity and wisdom, this appears to be truer and truer with each passing day.

Think about traveling on an open highway and we approach an overpass that gives us the option to go in a myriad of  different directions.  If we have a map, we can carefully look for the proper exit in order to reach our destination.

However, if we are unsure of which route to take, we simply sigh, “Oh, my!”  We must make a quick decision and at our earliest convenience, pull over to a safe location and check our Map Quest.  Then, we can get on the road that we will take us where we are trying to go.

As in life, if there is only one narrow route, it’s easier to stay on course.  Yet, if there are multiple choices, chances are that we might lose our way.  If we find that we are indeed lost, we may have no idea of how to get back on track.

Recently in the news, two young girls (sisters) became lost out in the rough terrain.  The older sister recalled what she had learned from her 4-H Club. She was told that that if she became lost, she should stop and stop wandering.  Wandering could only make her more lost.  So, she and her younger sister, stayed where they were until they were fortunately found within two days.

This is such a great life lesson for all of us.  If we find ourselves feeling lost and off-balance, we need to simply stop like the young sisters. We should take the time to think things through and allow the fog to lift.  Eventually, we will see with a vivid clarity, if we don’t give in to despair.

We can graciously fall back into alignment with the natural order of things and trust the Holy Spirit to put things aright again.  Then, we can climb back onto our straight and narrow path as we make our way to our comforting home base.

Lynn M.                                                                         March 9, 2019

Awaiting Recognition!

There are times in our lives when we are looking for something from the outside that we already have on the inside.  Buried deep inside of us are those seeds that are awaiting our recognition, sometimes known as “our calling.”

If we study our journeys, we can see that it is right before our eyes.  We can ask ourselves, “What am I most comfortable doing?  How do I spend most of my leisure time when no one is making demands?  What comes to me most easily and naturally? 

Those questions can point us in the right direction as we seek our purposes and missions.  Our queries continue as we make lists and note our most dominant actions.  Here are some things to ponder.

Do I find myself drawing and sketching?  What am I sketching?  Are they designs of buildings or perhaps designs of fashions?  Am I writing?  Do I have a journal that I furiously protect from the intrusions of others? Do I find myself giving advice to others on a regular basis?  Or, is there a sport that takes hours and hours of practice as I seek to perfect my game?  Do I like to repair things or are am I the one who organizes everybody else’s things around the house?

The answers to these questions can help us to find our passions.  As the old saying goes, “Do what you love, and the Mercedes will follow.”  With this awareness, career choices would come a lot easier and fewer dollars would be spent on tuition costs that are spent in the wrong areas or disciplines.

If we slow down and look around at the things we hold near and dear, we will see the seeds of our divine purpose.  Instead of trying to please others’ ideas for our lives, we will clearly see what we have been put here to do. Then, we can pour water our newly, discovered seeds.  They have been sitting there for a long time simply awaiting our recognition. So, cultivate them.  Preen them.  Cut back the weeds and watch them sprout upward into new growth!

Lynn M.                                                     February 16, 2019

On Track?

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We must remind ourselves that it is still close to the beginning of the year.  There is plenty of time to look at the promises that we made as we vowed to make fresh beginnings in the New Year.  We can ask ourselves during this second month of 2019, “Am I on track?  Am I on the right track to achieve what I am setting out to accomplish this year? Am I mindfully setting down new footprints in the sand or have I already fallen back into the old, familiar territory?”

According to the groundhog who did  not see his shadow, spring will be coming sooner than we think; so we need to be ready. The birds have already begun to sing in the wee hours of the morning and they surely know nature’s plans.  We don’t want spring to burst forth and find us still living amid last winter’s drudge.  Nor do we want to be caught behaving as if it is 2018 and encompassed in yesteryear’s rusty angst.

We want to be in tune with the new wonders that are around the corner.  So, we should continue to get rid of the old, unnecessary things of the past that have served their purpose. Otherwise, they simply become weights that will hinder our movement. We want to make way for the new and awesome things that the universe has waiting.

So, take a moment and look down at the ground.  Locate the tracks underfoot and make sure that everything is in alignment.  Check to make sure that all is truly in divine order. Pull on that train whistle and shout, “All systems go!” and chug-a chug, chug right on down the track!

Lynn M.                                                                                         February 9, 2019

Truly Frozen!

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As I look out across this winter wonderland, it has become somewhat surreal.  We are not viewing a movie.  This is real-time Chicago that is being held in the grips of Old Man Winter.

We are reminded of our dependency on both our infrastructure and our utility companies.  We realize how co-dependent we are as we lean on each other for comfort and reassurance.   Yes, we are fragile and dire circumstances reawaken us to that fact.

We know from our history lessons that  Rome was not built in a day but once it was built, it all eventually came to a crashing halt.  So, it would behoove us to cling tight and hold on to our faith as we ration out our resources and look out for our neighbors.

We should take nothing and no one for granted because we see how quickly it  all can float away like debris down a river.  Perhaps we are being nudged to go back to basics.  We must scale down, get rid of some of the fluff in both possessions and in arrogant, haughty attitudes. Over time, none of it will count as a little more than a hill of beans.

We should reapply The Golden Rule and truly do unto others as we would have them do unto us.  If we can reign ourselves in, cut back on the unnecessary things and treat others well, then we can unfreeze our hearts.  We can come out on the other side and look forward to a budding spring encased with a warmer heart.

Lynn M.                                                                                                     February 2, 2019

Exit, Stage Left!

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It’s still January and we are continually setting down the new frameworks that we intend to follow for the new year.  We have promised ourselves to release the old things and people who no longer benefit us.  Parting with material things is difficult enough but parting ways with people we have known is even harder.

Just like a worn-out pair of shoes, those relationships are no longer comfortable and in fact they may simply hurt.  If we keep wearing them, we will find ourselves winching from the pain; so, we eventually must let them go before we do more damage to our feet.

Last Sunday, Carol Burnett, the comedienne, received a special Golden Globe for the many years that she brought so much laughter to her viewers.  She closed her weekly show with a song that said, “I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together.” Then she would pull on one of her earlobes as if to seal the deal.  We can use her lyrics as we give thanks for those that we have once known.

As we clean out our lives, we can remember the hours of deep conversations and moments of hearty laughter that we have shared. Surely, we have been enriched from the encounters and for that we should be grateful.  Our fellowshipping may have stretched out over several years or it may have been short and sweet. Yet, we know when it is time to move on.

Children are weaned from their mothers so that they can advance to the next stage of growth and we adults must do the same thing.  If we try to hold on to that which we’ve outgrown, pain is guaranteed.  So, we unfurl our grasp and grip on people, open up our hands  and simply let go as we watch the parting shadows exit stage left.

There may a tear in the corner of our eyes but if we are honestly in touch with our real feelings, we will slowly smile.  In time, precious memories will flow to the top like marshmallows on a cup of hot chocolate and all the bitterness will remain at the bottom!

Lynn M.                                                                                               January 12, 2019

Yeah!

thg9giwc1iWhen newly laundered clothes come out of the dryer, they normally have a fresh and crisp smell.  They make us feel like going on as we graciously crease and fold them.  We can compare this New Year of 2019 to a clean wash because we have the chance to take a deep breath and start over.

New resolutions have either been written or spoken as we vow to do better in a variety of areas.  We can only hope that we can live up to these self-imposed challenges as we strive to grow and go forth.

Just like the dried clothes, we have folded the situations of the past year into neat, little piles and tucked them away.  We have greater insights as we see that some things blessed us; some confounded us and some even spooked us.  Yet, we continue and keep on keeping on.

We may have had to hum Gladys Knight & The Pips’ song, I’ve Got to Use My Imagination for encouragement.   They sang:

“I’ve really got to use my imagination,

To think of good reasons

To keep on keeping on

Got to make the best of a bad situation….”

We realize that we have pulled on a lot of resources to get us to New Year’s Eve night when we witnessed the ball drop as the world rung in the New Year.

Those sources may have included things like the reading of spiritual literature and good books, writing our innermost thoughts on a regular basis or listening to calming music.  Or maybe it was our relaxing during yoga classes and poses, dancing during Zumba classes, taking long walks by the waterfront or communicating with loved ones either in person or on social media.

Our silent helpers may have been seen and several may not have been visible to us.  But, their well-wishes were heartily felt as we triumphed and closed out the old year.

So, in 2019, we start by counting our abundant blessings for there have been many.  If any obstacles or hurdles present themselves on our path, we can view them as a bunch of bowling pins.  They are there waiting for us in formation.

We simply pick up the right bowling ball, position our thumb at the perfect angle, take a careful aim and heave the ball towards them.  And, we just might hear our cheering section scream, “Yeah for you!”

Lynn M.                                                      January 5, 2019

Tick Marks!

Over this holiday season, I have had the opportunity to revisit several movies and take another look at why they remain special to me. Each reminded me of where I was living and what I was doing when I saw them for the first time.  Some things change yet some remain the same!

I saw The Graduate again. It came out during my freshman year of college. I loved it this time around as much as I did way back then. The lyrics to Simon and Garfunkel’s song The Sound of Silence came rolling back to me as if time stood still.  Dustin Hoffman’s dilemmas and moves obviously etched scenarios in my mind.  I was there inside his mental space with him.  Since that time, I was able to make it to the UC Berkeley campus and I later owned a convertible Spider similar to his Alfa Romeo Spider in the movie.

Then, I saw Claudine again with Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones. It was a big hit at the time because though she was a domestic with six kids, she fell in love with a garbage collector.  He almost abandoned her and her children because he realized he did not make enough to feed them.  It takes a hard look at the traps of the welfare system but ultimately love won! The music written by Curtis Mayfield and sung by Gladys Knight and The Pips kept everyone going On and On.  I was teaching high school at the time and oh, the memories from that era came rushing back in!

Seeing Agnes of God baffled me as much this time around as it did when me and a couple of my co-workers from a community college saw it for the first time.  I remember that day because we did a movie marathon and saw two movies on the same day.  Jane Fonda fashionably chain-smoked as she tried to figure out who impregnated a young nun that murdered her newborn. I thought of how unattractive smoking is today and how it is now prohibited in most public places.

Both she and the talented Anne Bancroft acted superbly in this drama and this time around, I was able to connect a few more of the dots.  Plus, I did a little more research to see what drove the playwright to write the play.  He based it on a true story of a nun in Upstate New York; but, it was less of a mystery because that nun had spent time outside of the convent for a conference.

Over time, we grow.  Society rules change.  I have changed.  Several of my perspectives  and points of view have also changed.  If I stood against a measuring stick and compared where I was then to where I am now, I would have to reach up really high to strike off my new tick marks of growth!

Lynn M.                                                                                               December 29, 2018