because we all need a duty break now & then

because we all need a duty break now & then

Not many days ago I stumbled upon several grownups engrossed in childlike fun, and I asked myself why we don’t do that more.

Why we don’t break away from daily duty to enjoy life more?

The first was a grown man flying a red triangle kit at the park. The kite was enormous – at least three or four feet across – but flying so high it was only the size of a quarter held at arm’s length in the blue CO sky. (I know because I held my arm up to measure.) Continue reading →

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when the thwap of life gets too loud to ignore

when the thwap of life gets too loud to ignore

I just jumped from my swivel desk chair with a start and raced downstairs to the laundry room to quiet the metallic THWAP THWAP THWAP emanating from my washing machine.

I have one of those still-runs-like-a-champ top loaders. But if I neglect to distribute the towels evenly, the washer barrel takes offense and protests with horrific noises and vigorous scooting, inching the entire washer across the floor with each revolution during the spin cycle.

(Hint: If you leave this problem unattended, the washer wedges the laundry room door shut so you must go out the front door, figure out how to open the garage without car keys which are pinned inside the laundry room, and hope that the other laundry door isn’t blocked too. I speak from experience.)

Imbalance of life

Some days life feels a little like an imbalanced washer – noisy, scooting us in the wrong direction, holding doors of opportunity shut.

Those are the days we feel over committed or so focused on the small things that life gets a bit wonky.

A prayer for today

On days like these we need to grab onto grace and let God reorganize the to-do list– moving this over, taking that out –  so life resumes the balance He intended. Good thing He promises all the grace we need for anything we face today!

Dear Poppa,
May today be blissfully free of the noise and distraction of imbalance because we’re relying on Your grace. Help the duties keep their proper places, leaving doors of opportunity wide open, so we have no trouble seeing Your hand at work. And may we be free of agitation, peacefully at rest with the One who never slumbers or sleeps. Amen.

Photo credits:  washer girl

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surprised by truth in the middle of a movie

surprised by truth in the middle of a movie

I do love a good movie. Give me a bowl of popcorn and a sappy, boy-meets-girl-and-overcome-impossible-odds-to-live-happily-ever-after, and I’m quite happy.

But, I don’t normally expect deep truth there. Until last night when I almost fell off the love seat after hearing:

You’re hoping that when you finally find the courage to trust that your father never stopped loving you, and you tear open that pain you’ve been carrying around, there’s forgiveness inside.

Continue reading →

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what made me pause in the grocery aisle

what made me pause in the grocery aisle

Not too long ago I was struck with a deep thought, halfway between the stationery and the pop at my local grocery store.

Navigating the obstacle course that is the center aisle, I realized I was watching wobbly cart wheels, wan produce, cardboard displays – looking anywhere except the faces of the people I passed.

And the thought struck me . . . Why don’t I really look at people? Why do I go my merry way, skipping around live souls God created? How can I so easily walk past someone without truly seeing her?

I guess it’s just easier that way, easier not to get involved.

I mean, what if they don’t smile back? What if he thinks I’m staring? What if I see something I don’t know how to deal with – like supreme sorrow or listless eyes? What if she actually <gasp> started talking to me?

Or perhaps I’m too wrapped up in myself. Yes, it’s far from pristine, but after all it’s what I think of most of the time – my small, little life.

Or maybe, just maybe, I have nothing to offer them today: no smile, no nod, no hope. Only eyes as empty as theirs might be.

So, I hide behind shyness, glancing at pretty baubles and cardboard – ANYWHERE but at the faces.

Look sign

Later I read the story of the rich young ruler confronting Jesus, and I’m struck by the little “stage direction” before Jesus’ final line in this scene:

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him.  (Mark 10:21)

 Here’s Jesus confronted by a man hoping to gain the “Good Teacher’s” approval. Stopped in His tracks by a man eager to brag of the ways he’s been good and done good all his life. Jesus doesn’t laugh at him or nod disappointedly or tell him, “Seriously? You think you’ve kept every commandment perfectly since the day you were born? Oh brother!”

Jesus instead gives the Pause and the Look. He stops and truly SEES the poor, searching, young man. And when Jesus truly sees this man, He loves him.

I want to be so overwhelmed by this same love and grace toward me that I become proficient at the Pause and the Look.

My prayer? That even in a supercenter aisle, Jesus’ love will stop me in my tracks, discard silly only-me thoughts, and overflow onto others so I truly see them, and maybe, just maybe, they catch a glimpse of great grace.

Janna, Grace Embracer

P.S. Have you ever felt like you’re not truly seen?

sign photo: creative commons, courtesy of timlewisnm
child photo: public domain, courtesy of lisa runnels

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can you hate religion but love jesus?

can you hate religion but love jesus?

I stumbled across an amazing testimony this week by a man who got fed up with a religious system that had little to do with God’s heart. Hmm, can you relate too?

See if this strikes a chord, this heart poem from a man who grew up in Christianity but never saw true grace until he realized religion and Jesus aren’t at all the same.

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