Monday, December 29, 2008

Worth Repeating

This post was originally published on December 30, 2007 after I watched "The Sound of Music" last year. It was the first time I had watched it all the way through since I was a child and I had a totally new experience of it as an adult. While watching it again last night, I kept thinking of this post and how much it still resonates with me. So here it is again:

I know that at least one of the major television networks shows "The Sound of Music" every year around the holidays. For me it must be one of those things that is such a holiday staple I haven't really watched it all the way through or paid any attention to it since I was a child. And even at that, I admit that my memories of it are inextricably linked with the family I grew up across the street from. They were a naturally talented family. The three children loved "The Sound of Music" so much I remember they performed the "So Long, Farewell" song (with the choreography) at a neighborhood party which required each of them to play the part of at least 2 of the von Trapp children. I must have been memory is so vivid!

At any rate, I'm fairly sure I have not allowed myself to enjoy this classic movie completely in my adulthood. And that is a shame. I'm sure that I never fully appreciated the love between Maria and Captain von Trapp as a child. Or Maria's struggle between her faith and devotion to God and her unexpected love with the Captain. Not to mention the sensitive issue of political and patriotic loyalty as Hitler was brainwashing his followers...I mean the music is pretty but what 8 year old can fully grasp THAT! Or, for that matter, the beautiful truth that the Reverend Mother shares with Maria about climbing every mountain, etc. I, as a full grown woman who strives to live a God honoring life (while finding and living my dream), and who also longs to be a God honoring wife, find myself especially moved by their love, discovery of their love, and declaration of their love. And watching (as an adult) Maria and the Captain sing these lyrics:

"Perhaps I had a wicked childhood
Perhaps I had a miserable youth
But somewhere in my wicked, miserable past
There must have been a moment of truth

For here you are, standing there, loving me
Whether or not you should
So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good"

Well, hearing those lyrics as an adult struck something primal in me and brought me to tears. I think that it struck a primal fear of feeling worthy. And as a Christ follower, it simultaneously reminded me of how truly amazing God's grace is. For here He is, standing here, loving me, whether or not He should. And it's NOT because somewhere in my youth or childhood (or adulthood), I ever did anything good. With faith in the truth and grace that Jesus Christ fulfills, I am worthy of His love - regardless.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

On the 12th day of Christmas

On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me- TWELVE awesome concerts prior to 1996. I have some friends who tease me about how blessed I am with great concert experiences by exclaiming "FOUR TIMES FOR FREE" every time I start a sentence with "I saw them..." See my day 11 post for more info! Here are my twelve favorite shows prior to 1996 in no particular order:

1. The Police, Ghost in the Machine Tour, April 1982- need I say more?
2. R.E.M., Pre-Construction Tour, Wittenberg University, May 7, 1985- show was in small gymnasium, paid $5 for tix, long-haired Stipe performed with back to the crowd, I've seen them 6 times since that show- but that will always be my favorite.
3. U2, Joshua Tree Tour, TWICE, Detroit-April 1987, Lexington, KY later in '87
4. Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine Tour, TWICE, Bogarts
5. Sarah McLachlan, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy Tour, July 1994, Count Basie Theater, Red Bank, NJ- saw her 3 more times after that but she was never better than that night, including when I sat in front of her parents at the Beacon in NYC (for free)
6. Red Hot Chili Peppers w/Faith No More (original line-up)@ Bogarts. This show is notable because I spent more time talking to guys in Faith No More (got their autographs for Sandy) than paying attention to Chili Pepper's set until I noticed there were probably more uniformed cops on the floor than fans. Why? It was the tour where the Pepper's played with nothing but socks on their cocks.
7. Tori Amos @ State Theater in New Brunswick. Not only was Tori amazing, but this show is memorable because as we left the show a friend told us that O.J. was on the run (after killing his wife). We walked into our favorite bar and it was packed but EVERYONE was glued to the chase on T.V. -Very surreal!
8. Oingo Boingo @ Bogarts, Fall of '88 w/longtime friend P.J.- so much fun!
9. They Might Be Giants @ Bogarts, don't remember what year, John & John were great!
10. PIL twice @ Bogarts. I think both shows were on Thanksgiving, 2 consecutive years, 1985 & 1986?, John Lydon is a hoot on stage!
11. Seal @ Beacon Theater in NYC. Seal at his best in mid-90's. Great show!
12. INXS, at least 3 times and they were the opening act every time! First time they opened for Adam & the Ants, and another time they opened for Men at Work, can't remember the other time(s).

Deciding which shows were my favorites was tough. I should mention the very first concert I ever attended was in 1980 with my two older sisters. It was The Commodores & Kurtis Blow opened. Stop laughing. The Commodores were all the rage in the early 80's! Other honorable mentions: Depeche Mode, The Cure, Erasure, Robyn Hitchcock, Guadal Canal Diary, The Cult opening for Metallica, The Kinks... I gotta stop now.

On the 11th day of Christmas

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me- ELEVEN awesome concerts from 1996 - present. Since I'm doing day 11 & 12 in one sitting, it's probably obvious by now that day 12 is about the 12 awesome concerts prior to 1996. Also, the fact that I am devoting both days 11 & 12 to my favorite concerts should be a clue how much I love music, especially live music. I don't think it's a stretch to say I have seen over 100 concert productions, and that's not counting how many evenings I've spent in bars & coffee houses enjoying local musicians. I love the energy in the air during a live performance. So here are some of my favorites since 1996 in no particular order:

1. Over the Rhine, most recently at the church across from my apartment 4 days ago.
2. Josh Ritter opening for Jamie Cullum in Indianapolis, October 2006.
3. Morrissey on Valentine's Day in Akron, OH in 2000- How hilarious is that? It's my all time favorite Valentine's far this beats any typical VDay with a man!
4. Sting, Broken Music Tour, April 2005- he did mostly early Police stuff and very little of his solo stuff. Such a great show!
5. Lyle Lovett w/KD Lang opening, July 2007-Cheryl's b-day, great show!
6. 80's Regeneration Tour, August 2008, longtime friend Brian and I had so much FUN!
7. Live w/Luscious Jackson, summer 1997- 'Nette, Urs, & I had back stage passes-Great day, Cool show.
8. BoDeans, most recently- April 2008 @ 20th Century- Nothin' beats BoDeans live!
9. Ingrid Michaelson, Jan 2008 @ 20th Century w/Chelle- very fun show
10. John Hiatt, etc.- Tall Stacks, October 2006-several great acts played Tall Stacks
11. The Connells, most recently in 1997, Bogarts, got in free unexpectedly

By now my rock star lifestyle has probably impressed you to pieces. Don't get me started! ;-) To paraphrase Bono, it's not decadent if you notice and are grateful. For sure, I have a keen awareness and appreciation for my live concert blessings!

Monday, December 22, 2008

On the 10th day of Christmas

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me- prayers answered ten-fold. I'll spare you the listing of ten answered prayers by making it a random number of prayers answered ten-fold. One involves my trip to Portland (see day 8). One involves an unlikely friendship that probably only exists because we each choose to do ALL things through Christ. And most recently learning that a guy I've known for three years is the writing partner I've been praying for to help me manifest an overwhelming vision. This answered prayer is still in the process of blowing my mind. So, I'll keep my gratitude brief here...God knows I can't thank Him enough for this one. Suffice it to say I prayed a seemingly simple prayer for a writing partner for several years and waited patiently for the Lord. Once again, God's vision is way bigger than my vision.

On the 9th day of Christmas

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me- a nine year old car I love. Well, I bought my car used in 2006, and she is a year 2000 model. So she is nine years old, but I've only had her for about three. Her name is Beatrice. She's lime green. She's a five-speed turbo(I love leaving trucks in my dust). She's a Volkswagen Beetle. She has heated leather seats. A six CD changer in her boot. Her nickname is MC Bea Bug. She gets compliments from complete strangers in parking lots. I love my little green turbo bug!

On the 8th day of Christmas

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me- eight great vacations. I'm making this up as I go along, but I'm sure I can come up with eight. Starting with my most recent week long vacation in Portland, Oregon last July. Portland is a great city, I had a great time, and I had a specific sweet encounter that only God could have orchestrated. Sometimes God is so kind for no other reason than to show us how much he loves us.

In September 2007 I went on a road trip to the NYC area to visit several friends I had not seen in at least six years. I used to live in the NYC area, spent a lot of time in the city, and met some fabulous friends while there. They are kinda like family. I happen to love long drives and road trips to begin with. One of my life long dream vacations is to take 2-3 months to drive across the country. And when I go back to NY I like to drive so that I can get myself around to see all my friends (who are now a little spread out in different parts of NJ, CT, and Long Island) in the comfort of my own car with my own music. Anyway, it was a wonderful, fun, relaxing week with no particular agenda but to spend at least one night with a few different friends. Oh, and to see Spring Awakening which I did with Barri.

In April 2006 I went on a service trip to Mamelodi, South Africa. I met some of my current dearest friends on that trip. Including my host family, the Phatlanes. Kgakgamatso just got married in November and I was thrilled that he called me himself last June to invite me. I planned to be there for his wedding until my car broke down twice and my laptop crashed which depleted my funds set aside for my trip to SA. Apart from all that relationship stuff, it was a great lesson in what it means to truly live as if the joy of the Lord is my strength.

Okay, to keep this post from becoming a novel, the other five great vacays will be lumped together in this paragraph in random order. There was a family trip to New Orleans in the mid 90's which was meaningful since we lived in New Orleans for the first 5 years of my life. We drove by the old house, had dinner with old friends, and also did the tourist stuff in the French Quarter, Breakfast at Brennan's, Commander's Palace, Jazz clubs, etc. My parents had a nice time share in Hilton Head for a few years and those trips were always good. We'll count 3 of those. Which means I just need to come up with one more...hmmm...Grand Canyon or Panama? Or San Diego (extended business trip) or .... wait, maybe I should eliminate at least one of those trips to Hilton Head from the list. Did I say I could come up with just 8? The truth is, I'm pretty much content wherever I go.

On the 7th Day of Christmas

Sorry, I was distracted for a few days by a tragic event, prayer services, holiday parties, and hang time with friends. I'm back in the saddle again! On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, SEVEN years of Bill's updates. Bill Yeaton is a locum tenens physician I met through a previous job. Why am I so excited to get his annual updates? Not only is he an extremely nice man, Bill also happens to be an excellent photographer and his yearly newsletters are full of interesting details and photos from his travels. I long to travel as much as he does and I live vicariously through his annual updates. To see some of Bill's photography visit his website:

Be prepared to drool! Not all of his website photos have captions, but the ones where he explains what led him to take the photo, etc. are fascinating. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

On the 6th Day of Christmas

Hooray! We are halfway through this gimmick! I think it's working, by the way. For whatever that's worth. Okay, so on the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me- SIX nifty nephews. I mean that sincerely. All six of them are great. The oldest one is 21 and the youngest one is 10 (I think). Gee, I feel like a horrible aunt for not being more sure of their ages. Anyway, the two oldest (Clif & Spencer) are my brother's kids. The three in the middle (Isaiah, Gabe, & Eli) are from my second oldest sister. And the youngest (Joseph) is from my oldest sister. Yes, totally out of order isn't it? Well, any way you slice it, they are all very good boys. And I am extremely proud to be their Auntie Em.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On the 5th Day of Christmas

This is hard. On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me- FIVE golden friends. Well, I have lots of golden friends. But five who come to mind as extra special for some reason. One of them was featured on the front page of the Cincinnati Enquirer today. She's 2 days older than me, has the same name and we've been friends since we were five. We hardly see each other anymore even though we live just 3 miles from each other. And when we do, we just talk like we saw each other yesterday. We don't bother filling in the details of our lives and things we did since we last met. That would seem almost redundant with our friendship and our history.

The other four make it to my list of five for similar reasons. Although they all have been friends for different lengths of time. My college roommate is one. I just went to see her in November. And we really don't spend much time discussing the missing details. We just hang out like always. We've been friends for over 20 years through many ups and downs. Then there's my buddy from a leadership program I did in the mid 90's. We've been friends for about 15 years, have very little in common but we love each other and again, can just pick up and talk like no time has passed at any given moment. Then there's my friend who has literally helped me through the biggest transition in my adult life, is one of my biggest fans, and treats me like family. She and I have been friends for about 7 or 8 years now. And I have a friend who I've only known a year who totally gets me on every level and I already feel like she's a part of my family and I'm a part of hers.

The best part of these 5 specific golden friends is that they are a small sample and example of my many other friends. These 5 are consistent, either due to length of the friendship or depth of bond. But I am blessed to have dozens more friends who are very dear and special to me on many and varying levels. I love how God uses friendships to demonstrate His deeply profound truth, grace, and love.

Monday, December 15, 2008

On the 4th Day of Christmas

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me- FOUR great bosses. Well, there's four that I answer to on a daily basis, then a couple more here and there. My favorite thing about my bosses is that they all appreciate my sense of humor. Having worked in environments where my humor was less than welcome, this aspect makes work so much more enjoyable! In fact Deb instigates much of the hilarity by making prank phone calls, silly emails, door rattling shanannigans, etc. And Eric has just gotten used to me laughing hysterically at his odd requests. Like the day he called and asked me to order a compass for him. I assumed he meant a directional compass and I accused him of starting a Boy Scout troop in his office (he is an Eagle Scout). Then he explained he had been using a CD to draw his circles. In the meantime, we were both laughing so hard we could hardly complete the phone call. And Joe posted the hilarious homemade Pinky & The Brain birthday card I made for him to everyone's delight. His birthday was in August and it's still hanging in the lab.

Ralph melts my heart on most days. There are only a few days of every month I feel otherwise and on those days I have a posse of peeps supporting me in that he's being unreasonable. In fact, he just stopped by my office to tell me there's an ice storm coming and I should go home now. How sweet is that?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

On the 3rd day of Christmas

Welcome to day 3 of this gimmick! On the third day of Christmas, my true love (yes, still God) gave to me, three super siblings. Really. We have very different approaches to life and often don't really understand each other. And there is no doubt that we all love each other, flaws and all. We always enjoy spending time together which usually includes hearty laughter over something totally silly...past or present.

As a child, they were as much care givers as siblings. I'm the youngest. They are all several years older. My oldest sister,Beth, is exactly 10 years and 23 days older than me. Then there is Sue who is 8 years older. And my brother, Ned, is 7 years older. We did not have the typical sibling scuffles. We had scuffles, but due to some specific family dysfunctions, they weren't typical. Our family loyalty and love has always prevailed. For that, we know we are blessed beyond measure.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

On the 2nd Day of Christmas

Yes, forging ahead with this cheesy gimmick. On the second day of Christmas my true love (uh...that would be God, right?) gave to me, TWO cuddly kittens! Well, actually they are full grown cats and I've had them for 14 years. And I'm allergic to them. But they are the sweetest reflection of God's love in my life.

Unfortunately, the photo I planned to post of them didn't make the transfer to my new laptop. The gray one's name is Cica (pronounced Tsitsa) which is Hungarian for kitten. The white one has David Bowie eyes (one is hazel and one is ice blue) and her name is Chim Fi (pronounced Chim Fee) which is Chinese for spot. When she was tiny she had a spot on her forehead that looked like Gorbachev's birthmark- the spot disappeared within 6 months I think.

Why such unusual names? That's just the kind of gal I am! I got both of them at the same time (they are from the same mother but 2 different litters) and wanted to name them something different. I was bartending at a steakhouse in New Jersey at the time. One of the servers suggested I name them something common, but in another language. It so happened that my fellow bartender was Hungarian and the entire kitchen crew was Chinese. So after asking for several translations to common pet names, Cica and Chim Fi stuck. Don't worry, not many people remember their real names. One friend always referred to them as Dim Sum and Chick Pea.

They greet me at the door, they cuddle with me and purr sweet nothings in my ear, Cica makes an excellent kitty-alarm-clock (I'm convinced she can tell time), and I'm sure they have expressions of concern on their fur covered faces when I'm sad. Oh yeah, they know all my deepest, darkest, secrets and love me for who I am. Just like God does!

Friday, December 12, 2008

On the 1st day of Christmas

Sorry. I'm not a fan of the song Twelve Days of Christmas. I'm using this gimmick to motivate me to post something every day for the next...well...twelve days, as the song goes. But maybe it will create a new habit for me in the meantime and I'll start posting more than once or twice a month.

So, without further ado, on the first day of Christmas, Crossroads gave to me- 1 hour of laughter. We have many talented creatives in our community and Neil Smith is one of the best. He created this for our current series "We Wish You a Messy Christmas" - Enjoy!

As our senior pastor says, "I don't care who you are, THAT'S FUNNY!"

(If you are unable to view embedded video, here's the link: )

Monday, December 8, 2008

Walk On

This is for Stacie, her sister, family and anyone grieving the loss of Sam Dillard. Stacie wrote a very articulate blog post about some deeply profound feelings. Well, the blog post is actually an excerpt from her journal. What she shared on her blog made me think of the lyrics from “Walk On” so I will attempt to tie them together here. I will not share all of what Stacie wrote, but you can visit her blog yourself for the rest:, the link is over on the left.

Stacie said:
I'm conflicted because one moment I seem to "get" that this life is temporary. I mean, I don't just acknowledge it but really fully feel it. This world and this life is only a very bad copy of what we're created to be and of the reality that God exists in.

I sense it so strongly sometimes that I almost feel like I could go out and kick the car in the driveway and it would crumble up like tissue paper. And if I blew into the air the clouds would part and the sky would ripple like a curtain - that's how strong a sense of falseness I have at times about this life. But then I stick out my foot and rest it on the coffee table. And realize how hard and solid it is. And the sense of hope I had from my (very) brief moment of understanding is gone.

As an artist I feel like sometimes I'm trying to communicate something I've actually never experienced. To create something with a beauty I've never actually seen but that I'm so sure of that it's painful and makes my chest hurt to think about it. I have no doubt that that beauty does exist, even though its full view is hidden from us.

I think what some people consider "the muse" is really just an unconscious act of "getting it." But they suffer less emotionally if they don't realize it's a real thing they're inspired by. It's easier to call it the muse; it doesn't make you so homesick (homesick for a place you've never been!)

Sam's death has made me homesick that way. Not like my sister would feel, wanting to be with him again. Mine is due more to having to continue to admit I still believe God is good. Which means that Sam is in that place now - the place that is just out of my reach when I think I have it, or that surprises me when flashes of it show through just the right combination of color and transparency. Or a photograph. or a song that makes me almost cry - not because it's sad but because they lyrics or melody remind me of that place where I belong but have still never seen.

Well said, my dear friend. And here’s why the U2 song “Walk On” was the soundtrack in my head while reading Stacie’s blog:

And if the darkness is to keep us apart
And if the daylight feels like it's a long way off
And if your glass heart should crack
And for a second you turn back
Oh no, be strong

Walk on, walk on
What you got, they can't steal it
No they can't even feel it
Walk on, walk on
Stay safe tonight...

You're packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been
A place that has to be believed to be seen
You could have flown away
A singing bird in an open cage
Who will only fly, only fly for freedom

And I know it aches
And your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on, walk on

Home...hard to know what it is if you never had one
Home...I can't say where it is but I know I'm going home
That's where the heart is

So, for Stacie and her family who loved Sam and knew intimately the ways he demonstrated God’s truth and grace daily- walk on. God is faithful and Christ is our redeemer in ways we can’t even imagine.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Making Room

Lately I've been noticing how busy everyone seems to be. My friends who are married with children stay busy taking care of their family. And my single friends seem to stay even more busy. In talking to some of my single friends we have confided in each other that when all the busy-ness is done, at the end of the day, there is a little loneliness lingering. I am always busy. And I like it that way, mostly. Every once in a while I think I should stop being so busy and then there would be more time for things I say I want or think I need. Inevitably, when I make an effort to be less busy, it lasts for maybe a month. After about a month, I start to think I should get more involved in something. If I'm not busy I notice I spend too much time doing things I don't really care that much about.

Being the single witty, wise, sexy redhead that I am, some friends wonder why I'm not dating anyone. The answer I usually give is that nobody has asked me out. One of my guy friends (who is married) said I've probably had guys who wanted to ask me out, but since I wasn't interested or attracted to that unspecified guy, I didn't notice and therefore no opportunity was created for an actual date. I sometimes wonder if it is because I'm too busy. But I know that's not it. Because we can always make room for love. Ask anyone who has made room for Jesus in their heart. They will probably tell of how their time commitments have changed as a result.

For further example of my point, I will share a quote from Brian Andreas titled "Making Room." I first became a fan of Brian Andreas when I stumbled upon his stuff in an funky artsy fartsy store in Philadelphia in the early 90's. Being a writer, the first print of his I purchased included a quote about stories. For several years after that my mom gave me either a Brian Andreas print or book for every Christmas and Birthday. So, I have a nice little collection. Anyway, this quote is how I suspect things will happen when my future husband and I meet:

"When I first met her I knew in a moment I would have to spend the next few days re-arranging my mind so there'd be room for her to stay."

I guess my prayer is that my future husband and I are not so busy when we meet that we think we can or should re-schedule that time to make room for each other to stay.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Power of Forgiveness

My writing partner is a bigger film geek than I am. He often brings my attention to films I would not have heard of otherwise. "The Power of Forgiveness" is out on DVD, but I have not seen it as of this writing. For more information visit - In the meantime, here is an interview with the filmmaker:

An Interview with the Filmmaker
Writer and Director of BONHOEFFER
Q. How did you come to make this film?
A. Well, this film really had its origins a few years ago. Dan Juday and I went down to a conference in Atlanta, Georgia, where researchers, mostly scientists, were presenting the results of the research they were doing in the world of forgiveness. You had psychologists, you had health care physicians, and what you really saw for the first time was the confluence of two worlds coming together around the topic of forgiveness. You have the tradition of the faith communities - all the great faiths talk about the value of forgiveness; they have for centuries - but now you had the scientists and the healthcare world talking about the virtue of forgiveness.

We had about a hundred story ideas that we were looking at to come up with the stories for the film. We wanted to make sure that we had stories that spoke both to the faith tradition and to the new work that was being done in science. We also wanted to do one other thing, which was to say that forgiveness works really on a couple of different dimensions. It's about one person being hurt and forgiving one other person. But sometimes too the idea forgiveness works for groups, communities, and nations. And it was a balance of that personal and collective sense of forgiveness that I thought would make for an interesting film.

Q. What was the most memorable part of the process?
A. Forgiveness is really one of the hardest things we’re asked to do, in terms of our relationships with other people. The word itself opens up the deepest chambers in our heart and soul. One of the aspects of forgiveness that I had not really thought about until I started doing the film was the aspect of self forgiveness. Even the best people have a hard time getting to forgiveness, being able to forgive themselves for what they’ve done or what they’ve failed to do. As we began to see the stories unfold, this aspect of self forgiveness seemed as though it was playing a role in each one of the stories again and again. For me it's become one of the most critical learning moments in the making of the film.

Q. What's the relationship between forgiving and forgetting?
A. Somewhere along the line the words forgive and forget got joined at the hip, and I'm not sure why. People would say to us, “I can't forget what happened, so how can I even begin to forgive?” But what we're hearing from people was not about forgetting what happened. It was about how you remember, and what you do with that memory, how you incorporate the memory of that pain and suffering and how you get over that pain, how it affects your relationships going forward. In some ways it is redeeming to feel as though you aren’t being asked to forget what happened, only to come to a new awareness of how you're going to carry forward a memory that you can't get rid of anyway most important lessons in making the film.

Q. What's the relationship between forgiveness and justice?
A. I think in the 21st century we're living in a justice-focused culture. Justice is about righting the past. But that's always done by human beings who are as imperfect as we are. So you don't always get the justice that you hope for. Sometimes you don’t get justice at all. You don't have control over it. But you do have some control over how you want to see your relationships unfolding, and that's where forgiveness can really play a big role. You have control over what you want to forgive someone for, outside of the justice program. Justice, in terms of forgiveness, is not about opening up the prisons and letting the prisoners go. You have an obligation to protect yourself and to protect your loved ones. People do terrible things, evil things. But how do you exact that justice? Is it done in a spirit of anger and revenge, or is it done with some level of balance and compassion? Sometimes getting to the world that we want to get to means not exacting a pound of flesh. Sometimes compassion and mercy actually can get us to the place we all want to get to.

Having just celebrated Thanksgiving, I am also reminded of the power of gratitude. Here is one of my favorite quotes about gratitude:

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more…It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
~Melodie Beattie

Here's to exploring the depths of God's truth and grace through practicing gratitude and forgiveness.