The Peace of Wild Things: A Wendell Berry Sabbath Poem

One of my spiritual practices this Lent is to meditate on one of Wendell Berry’s Sabbath Poems. I thought I’d share one of them here. The film is by the On Being Project.


The Lost Art of Accountability

There’s a lot of talk lately about reconciliation and unity. However, one crucial step is missing: accountability.

“We need to move forward,” or “We’re willing to work with you, but we won’t just follow in lock-step ” is what we hear on television.

Critical self-evaluation of past actions is as true for groups as it is for individuals. If we move forward without this important reflection, then it will just be a kind superficial unity. Go along to get along. Old grievances will lie just under the surface and fester into resentment.

In very many ways, the season of Lent is about being accountable for our actions. It’s why the sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) is widely encouraged this time of the year.

Americans are hurting. Collectively, we have had a rough 2020. 2021 looks to give us some respite with the availability and distribution of a vaccine.

But 2020 was just the roughest of a very tough 3 years. Some of us witnessed our friends being attacked for who they are, by people who were emboldened by the rhetoric of political leadership. Last Spring we all witnessed the death of George Floyd, and African-American man. His killer was a police officer who was being filmed, and didn’t care that he was going to be viral. We witnessed the death of Ahmaud Arbery, also an African American man. His attackers killed him in broad daylight; their friend filmed it.

And then there was the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021. The day the Electoral College confirmed Joe Biden for President. The insurrection was played out on live TV and streamed online.

And false accusations of voter-fraud.

And denial of the severity of Covid-19 despite the amount of people dying from it.

There have been other headline-grabbing incidents, but these will suffice.

These happened in public because people were emboldened in public.

You see, there is a LOT that people are reeling from. This is why it is soooo important to hear accountability and responsibility from those who have been a party the above described events.

Maybe they stood on the sidelines and said nothing.

Maybe they refused to acknowledge the issue.

Maybe they place blame solely on those who have perpetrated crimes and have not followed the breadcrumbs.

And maybe they stoked the flames of distrust and anger that lead to the January 6th insurrection. Whatever their level of involvement, we cannot move on unless and until accountability happens.

That’s how reconciliation works.

With this weekends CPAC conference it seems that no one is ready to admit accountability and we won’t get the reconciliation we so desperately need.

To underscore the need for accountability, take a look at this moving story of how Fred Rogers held himself accountable to his grandson. Had he not done, he never would have experiencedthe forgiveness he needed.

Skip to 1:39 for the forgiveness story

From Resentment to Gratitude

When we get offended, we sometimes choose to hold onto anger, bitterness, and pride. None of this puts us in right relationship with God, others, or ourselves. It only serves to alienate us from others.

Father Michael White, “Messages of Letting Go for Lent 2021.”

Resentments will kill me.

Last March I was laid off from my job because of Covid-19. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve worked a side-gig to help make ends meet while also collecting unemployment (NY allows you to do this, up to a certain amount of $$$).

There has been much discussion about Covid relief payments to laid people. Some of it kind, some of it not so kind. Many people are in favor of those like me receiving some kind of relief from the government. A few are not.

It’s those few who have stuck in my mind.

“If we keep giving them money, what incentive do they have to work?” is what I’ve heard in various forms. It’s a rather cynical view of the American worker; that the only reason we work is because of money; if we had the chance, we would choose not to work at all.

My faith has taught me that work is an integral part of who we are; that work makes us more complete human beings. Work can be redemptive.

Nevertheless, I am irked by the notion that getting money from the government will somehow make me lazier. I am more than irked. I actually resent the implications.

Resentment will kill me. It will make me angry, and keep me there. It will color my relationships. It’s just not good.

So how do I turn that around?


As crazy as it may sound, I am grateful to those who voiced their opposition to Covid relief. They forced me to deal with my resentment. That’s always a good thing.

I am also exceptionally grateful for the extra $$$ we get from Pandemic unemployment benefits. Not only does it help us pay our bills, but more importantly, it enables me to be a caregiver to my Dad. While my brother is his primary caregiver, I am my brothers respite care giver. Every day after work, I go to Dad, allowing my brother much needed relief.

If I did not receive this extra unemployment insurance, I would HAVE to work a second job. This would make me almost completely unable to be my brothers respite care giver. He would have no one who could be there on a regular, daily basis. I can be that person solely because of this added relief. There will be a day when we no longer have it, and when it comes I may have some difficult decisions to make. And I’m okay with that, because no matter how long I receive these added benefits, I will always be grateful I had them at all.


Messages of Letting Go for Lent 2021, Father Michael White

Network for Grateful Living

Do What Matters. Do ONLY What Matters

Easier said than done, I know.  I have found that asking myself these two questions before any task can free up some much needed time and takes the “busyness” out of my life.

How special it was today to be able to make dinner. I had the day off and wanted to cook something that my husband, the usual chef, loves but doesn’t really have time to make. A trip to Costco and soon roast beef was turning on the rotisserie. Amazing smells filled our home.

But we had no gravy. Now, I could have gone to the store and bought it myself. After all, I have the day off, right?


I asked myself the two questions, and the answers were Yes & No. Yes, it needed to be done. No, it did not need to be done by me.


My Reasoning:

Yes, I could’ve gone to the store, but it wouldn’t be the wisest use of my time and resources.  Shopping for just one item would have taken at least 30 minutes, factoring drive time and time spent in the store. Additionally, what a waste of gas!

My husband, however, passes at least three grocery stores on his drive from work. He can easily hop on and off the highway without adding much time and wasting any gas.

It just made more sense for him to complete this shopping task.

That half hour that I would’ve spent getting one item was actually spent on you dear reader. This post was created.

Just in time for my husband to come home.

How to Plan NOTHING & Get Stuff Done.

This week I was on vacation from my day job. I had my choice of what I wanted to do: work on my Thirty-One Business; work on my Organizing Business or plan NOTHING.

I opted for the latter.

My, how daunting and freeing it is to plan NOTHING. I could choose to work on either business. Or not. I could choose to blog. Or not.

Plan Nothing.Do What's Right

My week of PLANNING nothing doesn’t mean I DO NOTHING. It just means I had a lot of free time to do the important stuff.

Stuff like writing this blog post on a sidewalk outside my local coffee shop.

Reading The Tao of Pooh (because yes, I recently saw the new Christopher Robin movie and have been moved by it

And doing Tai-Chi. Because it’s an amazing moving meditative practice and because I am also on track to being a Taijifit Instructor.

Here’s My Instructor:

Oh, and COLORING! What a wonderfully meditative practice it is. Read more about it HERE.

I am currently coloring this beauty by Zondervan:

Gorgeous, right?

In the end, when I plan nothing, regular stuff like laundry, dishes, vacuuming, etc. gets done. BUT what happens in the between time is being caught up in the beauty of things.


What do you do when you plan nothing? Tell us in the comments below 🙂

Truthful Living

“What is Truth?”

–Pontius Pilate

I’d be lying if I said I knew exactly what I was going to write next. I feel like I don’t need to write anymore–you will all just know what I’m writing about and you will nod “yes.”


It just seems so absolutely necessary to say something about the truth right now.  And the truth is, I just don’t know what to say that hasn’t already been said by countless others. Maybe all I can do is ask one simple question:

How can we live the truth?

Maybe the answer is: just do it. Just look at my life as it is right now, in this moment and ask myself: “Am I living in an honest way?” Or  “Am I being true to myself?” “Do my actions support the vision I have of my life?”  If I can say yes to any or all of these, then I think I’m doing pretty good.

If we live truthfully and honestly, then it’s easier to recognize the truth in others. And it’s easier to recognize inauthenticity as well.  And there’s a LOT of inauthenticity going around these days. So much so it can be depressing. I cannot control others–I cannot control what they say or what they do, but I can control what I say and what I do. And as I am writing this, I realize the only way I can combat the malaise of half-truths and whole lies is by living an authentic life. And therein lies the abundance.


A Woman Named Jesus

She was dirty.

She was homeless.

My friend saw her in the parking lot. She wanted to reach out to this ragged woman, but groceries got in the way.

“Hold on a sec,” my friend said.  But when she turned around the woman was already talking to someone else.

When she was done talking, the dirty, ragged woman returned to my friend. My friend reached for her wallet, but, instead the woman asked for a hug.

My friend hesitated, but obliged.

What happened, next, my friend said, changed her completely.

The woman prayed a quiet quick prayer for my friend.  Moved by the experience, my friend asked her newfound friend her name.

“Jesus,” she said.

“Is your name really Jesus?” my friend asked.

“That’s what they tell me.”


This is one of those small moments in life, that, if we aren’t paying attention, can escape us. Or maybe they don’t so much escape as much as we don’t really understand their depth.  But really, it’s these small, deep moments that can radically change us.

We think we are in a particular place or moment for a particular reason. Then God does a whammy on us and gives us a gift  we didn’t even ask for.

What was my friends gift in this situation? I couldn’t even begin to imagine. But I can tell you the gift I got in her recounting it: that when I think I am the one doing the giving, I am the one who is actually doing the receiving.

What I also learned is that things are not always what they seem; that people are put in our lives for a few minutes, or for a few decades. And that one is not more important than the other. I suppose what’s important is what we do with that that encounter.

What encounters have had a profound effect on your life?


Tuning In To What Matters

I had a plan. I really did.  But I’m sitting here tonight, in front of my screen, unprepared for what I was going to write about for the weekly Tuesday Abundant Living post. That’s okay. I mean, it’s not as if I haven’t been doing my research. The thing is, I am still doing my research, it’s just that I haven’t had the time to complete it for this post.



This past weekend has been emotional, but also full of growth.  I opened my heart a little wider to someone and got an unexpected response. It was an “Ouch.”. In the past, my response would have been, “See, this is why I am not opening up to anyone. They will misinterpret and it will hurt.”  I did it, I thought, to protect myself. It was a convenient shell.

Today, I experience the ouch, and still don’t close the door.  I just keep the lines open. That’s it. No need to fly into the face of hurt, and no need to run away from it. It’s a tough line, but the clarity that I’ve been given through having a spiritual experience has enabled me to stay on the right side of that line.

I’m pretty blessed, I have a team of “go to” people who will hold me accountable for sweeping my side of the street.  They’ll tell me where I need to apologize and where I don’t. I think of them as another pair of eyes. Each one of them this time said what I already thought: I was blindsided.


Clarity, I think, is the essence of abundant living. Because, when garbage is all around, all I see is garbage. I am not grateful and I am not happy.  But clarity can also be a lonely spot: you see what others cannot (or will not) see. You can be misinterpreted as a harbinger of doom because you can see the train wreck ahead when all others are seeing nothing but smooth travelling.

Maybe clarity is the only thing the biblical prophets had over anybody else. They were focused and kept their eyes and hearts on what really mattered. Now, I’m not saying I’m a prophet, but I think I am on to something. They weren’t exceptional, they were just tuned in.

My team of people keeps me tuned in to what matters. And therein lies the abundance.

Age-ism: Consider the Alternative

I’ve got mileage and I am damned happy about it. 



prejudice or discrimination on the basis of a person’s age.

As he examined my skin, the dermatologist asked what I did for work.
“Babysit,” I said.
“What a nice Grandma you are!” he responded.
I don’t blame him for assuming I am a Grandma. All the signs are there: the age of my skin, the gray hairs, my date of birth in my chart.

Self-Inflicted Age-ism.

Most women might my age might look at this situation in some sort of negative light. You know, it’s one of transition times in a person’s life: they go from tween to teen; from teen to adult; from adult to parent; parent to grandparent. It’s a natural transition, but we have been taught to look (kinda) negative at the transition from being a parent to a grandparent.
When people my age tell others that their children have children a common response is

Copyright: CountryLiving

“But you don’t look old enough!” it’s often taken with an “ouch” but it’s meant as a compliment and I’d be happy to take it as such. People are only trying to be kind.

Why, though, do we find it necessary to tell people 50+ they look great “for their age” or tell them they “don’t look their age at all?”
Why oh why do we feel it necessary to lie about our age, or worse, demure it to some vague, expansive age group,like, 50+?
We’ve internalized the idea that it is somehow shameful to be old. That we’ve lost significance once we’ve lost our youth.
We say:
50 is the new 40
40 is the new 30
30 is the new 20
What a load of garbage that is. When I was 19, my boyfriend was killed in a freak accident. What he wouldn’t give to live to be my age now, I’m sure.

The Alternative To Age Isn’t Youth. It’s Death.

I don’t want to curve my age down.
I’m 53 and dadgummed happy to be 53. And when I turn 54 in February, I will be dadgummed happy to be 54.
Consider the alternative.
I’ve got mileage and I am damned happy about it.
I’ve done smart things. I’ve done stupid things. But most of all, I’ve learned the difference between the two.  That can only come with age and experience. I wouldn’t wish away this wisdom for all the youth in the world.  It’s a blessing to grow older and wiser.
Consider the alternative.
God bless this Dermatologist for looking at all the facts and being bold enough to state the truth:
Kim Thompsen, you are old enough to be someone’s Grandma.
And I am really okay with that.
Consider the alternative.

The Hard And Beautiful Truth About Abundance

Monday evening. Ambushed by the day, I’m beat. A busy weekend, sometimes filled with the aches and pains that accompany middle-age, I am hard-pressed to see the abundance in my life.

And yet, there it is.

My husband folds laundry as I cross the threshold of our one bedroom apartment. I takeover the task as he begins dinner. Home hours before me, he decided to wait for me so we could eat together.

As I put the laundry away this evening, I wondered about this abundance stuff. What is it in my life tonight? My first thought was that it was the special treat of no sugar added ice cream I would have after dinner. But since I am a compulsive overeater (recovered) it’s no great stretch for me to think this.  Abundance had to be something else.

And then it hit me:

Abundance isn’t about what we have or do. It’s about relationship. 

Relationship.  The Apostle Paul was on to something  when he talked about great speech being fueled by love–if it isn’t, then there is nothing there. It matters not one whit what we say. There is no abundance. But if we have love, then we have abundance.

It’s that simple–and THAT difficult.

We sat there, he and I, last night, enjoying a beautiful Summer evening. The drunken crowd swirled about us, lost in the music of the annual festival. Turning to him, I said, “We really have a wonderful life, don’t we.”

He smiled that golden smile of his and squeezed my hand.

“We sure do.”


Let’s build relationship. Tell us about your experience of abundant living below:

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