Blanket of Peace

One of the hardest things about discovering I had Stage 1 breast cancer in 2012 was telling our children and their families. You see, they all lived out of state and both families were expecting babies. We had all been together at Disney World just two weeks earlier and had no idea that anything was wrong. My heart soared at a lovely comment our photographer made as she was taking a casual family picture. She asked Kelly and Christa to come up front to be sure we didn’t hide our “Coming Attractions.”

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One Step At A Time

When I read about the cancelation of the Boston Marathon, I was reminded about Maickel Melamed, a 39-year-old man from Venezuela who successfully completed the Boston Marathon. There are not a lot of people in the world who can say they completed a marathon. Completing a 26.2-mile run is a great accomplishment. But Maickel finish was something a bit more special. Maickel has muscular dystrophy. This disorder has given him tremendous mobility issues. Unable to run, he walked the entire course. It took him just over 20 hours to complete the marathon…

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Your Gifts Are Needed

Erin Kemble from Clifton, Virginia, is finding ways to bring a smile and encouragement to her neighbors.  Because of social distancing orders, her catering job is at a pause, but she’s still finding ways to serve many.  Every day she is putting on a costume with an uplifting and funny message.  Her first front-porch character appeared on March 30.  She dressed up in a pig costume with a poster saying, “This little piggy stayed home.”  She was able to smile and wave to the many people around the neighborhood who were walking, biking, or driving by.  Since the first day, she’s been everything from E.T., Napoleon Dynamite, Smokey the Bear, and Rosie the Riveter – each with its own message that’s both relative to the character and current situation, as well as bringing a smile to others.  She’s doing this all because she wants to make people laugh at a time when the world overall is sad.  She is using her gifts of creativity and hospitality to bring light to her neighbors and, now, as far as the online world can reach.

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Active Listening

…when others are talking to us, we are not giving them our full attention.  We are spending part of our mental focus on our own thoughts.  Active listening seeks to first hear the full thoughts of the person we are in conversation with, before we offer our own thoughts.  After all, why speak without all the facts and information?  It could change your answer, right?

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John 14:15-27

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you. “I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. “These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

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Matthew 5:13-16

 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

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Still Our Calling Today

Aimee and I have been blessed to be part of many faith communities in our life. Aimee’s home church of the First United Methodist Church of Cache, OK is one that holds a special place in our heart. For several years, the Rev. R.T. Perry was the pastor of this wonderful congregation in southwest Oklahoma. R.T was a wonderful man who loved God and God’s people. R.T. was a friend and a mentor to us both. It seemed like R.T. ended almost every one of his sermons with the wonderful hymn, Lord, You Have Come to the Lakeshore, by Casareo Gabarain. 

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Help Quiet The Fear

Face masks are the norm now. When I walk in public, more often than not, I see them – some are handmade scraps of children’s fabric, bright and cheerful, others are clinical and sterile. There are bandanas, the sleeves off an old t-shirt, even pillow cases. People are taking precautions to protect others, and themselves, from the virus. Gone are the smiles I could once plainly see. Now, people move quickly and quietly through grocery stores, the aisles eerily silent…

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The Good They Could Do

Detroit is a large city that has experienced many wonderful days. Unfortunately, the city has recently struggled and much of it is out of their control. Once supported by the great auto companies, changes in the world economy have caused the city of Detroit to come close to financial bankruptcy.  One of the many things that has suffered is the city’s parks.  Detroit has over 300 parks which have not been maintained, causing officials to announce they only had the budget to maintain 72 parks…

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He Never Has Failed Me Yet

Do you remember the first time you rode a bike without training wheels?  How about the first time you swam without a flotation device?  Can you remember your first roller coaster ride, or the first time you rode a horse?  How about your first date, or the first time you kissed someone?  Do you remember the first time you drove a car on a busy highway, or when you were married or became a parent for the first time?  Each of these moments in my life were double-edged; I was both elated – and fearful!  Fear led the way, and the “what ifs” were BIG…

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