GIVE: Free Write Day 21

  Sometimes giving is exhausting.   It takes energy and resources to give. Sometimes giving takes more of us than we have to offer—literally.   Sometimes we givers have to slow down and find balance.   But sometimes, we need to dig deep; to prioritize what and to whom we give.   Because sometimes our gift can literally change the future.   START   Sitting in the room with me are men and women who hail from all over the world; Brazil, England, California, Arizona, Idaho, New Jersey, Tennessee.   They are givers.   Money, wisdom, creative thinking, time. Prayers, love, encouragement.   They are the board of Hope Unlimited for Children, and for ... Keep Reading...

DISCOVER: Free Write Day 20

  START   Yesterday I opened my Instagram and saw it on a favorite blogger’s feed.   #MeToo   I read the comments—other bloggers I know telling discreetly of situations in which they had been made to feel uncomfortable, were sexually harassed or abused.   Grown women remembering things they never should have experienced.   Boyfriends, strangers, family members, friends.   I didn’t like what I discovered . . .   So many women, good women, who for years never said a word about their experiences—now discovering they were not alone. Theirs was not an isolated situation. That feeling in their long-ago guts telling them something was “off”?   It was ... Keep Reading...

BRAVE: Free Write Day 19

For the 19th day in a row, you've received a post from me. That's a lot of posts—with more to come daily through the end of the month.   Thank you for sticking with me! Thank you for supporting me as I stretch my impromptu writing skills. Thank you for helping me organize my thoughts.   Thank you, too,  for discreetly hitting "delete" if you don't have time to read a post one day. When I see "one less subscriber" notifications in my inbox, the doubts kick in. :-(   Did you know it takes a little bravery to be a blogger—or sometimes a lot?     START   I love blogging. For the past six years it’s been part of my life.   Some days it scares me silly.   Some days ... Keep Reading...

SHARE: Free Write Day 18

  START   The concept of sharing is one that’s long intrigued me.   If you watch children play, some are quick to share their toys while others pitch a fit royale if someone wants to play with the same one as they.   Is that an innate trait — willingness to share — or is it only taught?   And adults . . .   Have you ever noticed that some are quick to give to others, loaning temporarily or an outright gift . . . while others hold tight to whatever they have? The fit-throwing of childhood is no more, but the “holding on” characteristic remains.   I love to be around people who share — not because I want something from them, but because I love the kind of people they are. They ... Keep Reading...

GROW: Free Write Day 17

  START   What do you want to be when you grow up?   It’s a commonly-asked question. Children have the best answers, don’t they?   What did YOU want to be when you grew up?   The older I get, the more I realize I never really reach a point when growth ends. Grow up? Of course there’s a time when we become “grown ups”, but even then growth doesn’t end.   As long as life keeps us moving forward, we keep growing   . . . but the health of the “plant” depends greatly on our choices.   What am I still learning today—at age 57?   Listen. Be kind. Be honest with myself. Admit my mistakes, my faults, to myself—and others, when necessary. Give others the ... Keep Reading...

READ: Free Write Day 16

START   I walked into the living room and saw him: 7 years old. Long, lanky legs draped over the recliner.   Book in hand.   Intent, he read. Turning pages. Occasionally grinning.   I remembered some of his earliest days of “reading”. He’d sit on my lap, pointing to images in board books. Later we’d sit together on the couch and read his favorites.   Are You My Mother? Blue Goose Good Night, Gorilla   But now he reads “chapter books” that are years ahead of his age. He has a vocabulary that’s out of this world. He lets those books take him to places he’s yet to see.   Perhaps someday …   His little brother is following suit. He’s in kindergarten and reading books ... Keep Reading...

REMAIN: Free Write Day 15

  START   Walk with me, won’t you?   Up a few steps and through the beautiful antique doors.     We’re in the narthex. See the old saddle rooms on each side?   Up another step and into the beautifully restored sanctuary with its buttery-yellow walls and glossy white woodwork.   The organ pipes may eventually catch your eye over in the right corner, but it’s the cross in the center that draws us in.     The cross always draws . . .   Welcome to First Presbyterian Church — Jefferson City, Tennessee. For the past three years, Renaissance Man and I have been part of this church; part of this family.   Today we’ll celebrate the 150th ... Keep Reading...

TRY: Free Write Day 14

  START   TRY (playing a game)   not to laugh not to cry not to blink   TRY (doing something kind)   saying something nice being positive playing well with others doing something nice for someone — “just because”   TRY (doing something hard)   speaking to a stranger comforting my enemy standing up for the forgotten   forgiving without being asked laughing at myself loving someone different from me   not judging not being rude not ignoring people in need   TRY (the unnatural)   to think more of others than myself   TRY   to make today a good day!   STOP   Won't you join ... Keep Reading...

INVITE: Free Write Day 13

  START   When I hit "publish" on a blog post, I'm sending an invitation. You—and anyone else who happens upon this blog—is invited to spend time here. I love it when you do!   But hitting "publish" is sometimes scary. It's like inviting guests to come to dinner, then cooking a fine meal and putting out the best china.   Will they come . . . or will they have other plans? If they come, will they enjoy the meal?   Will the conversation flow easily or will it be difficult?   Every time I invite you here, I risk criticism, self-doubt, second thoughts   . . . because each time I extend the invitation, I'm inviting you into my inner sanctum. I'm giving you a peek at who I am — ... Keep Reading...

WRITE: Free Write Day 12

Wow. We’re already more than a third of the way through this 31-day free-write exercise. Thanks for sticking with me! I’m finding some days are easier than others . . .   START   Some people express themselves through music or art.   I write.   When I feel the need to put my deepest thoughts into some kind of order, I write.   Unguarded.   Spill-it-all prayers in a prayer journal. Letters to the grandsons — for their "someday" reading. Revealing blog posts.   Writing is therapeutic. Sometimes it’s the only way to quiet the whirling thoughts in my mind; the only way to bring order to chaos.   After an all-in writing session, I feel my pulse slow and my spirit ... Keep Reading...

REMEMBER: Free Write Day 11

  START   How I’d love to hear their stories!   The couple in this picture has lived long enough to have a lifetime of memories — some good, some bad.   Same for us, no matter our age.   Life dishes out both hard times and ones we’d like to remain in “forever”. But Life keeps moving us forward, and how we respond to the ebb and flow of it is a choice we have to make.   It’s easy to focus on the hard times, the “what ifs”, and the “could’ve beens”.   But I’d rather take my cue from the wisdom and joy I see in these wrinkled smiles:  Choose joy!   Choose to focus on the beauty, the happiness, the positive memories.   The entirety of our lives make us who we ... Keep Reading...

LISTEN: Free Write Day 10

When it’s “bottom line” time, I need to listen.   Only then will I know when to keep my mouth shut or when to speak up. When to speak Truth or pray for wisdom. When to love quietly or with a voice that condemns.   Only after I listen to the voice of the One who sees the big picture, knows a situation’s every detail, loves without prejudice.   Only after I listen . . . will I understand perfect love.   Only after I listen . . . can I be used to love others as He loves me.   Those words were ones I wrote recently in this post. They ring true especially now as I reflect on today's word-prompt.     START   Tonight is Church Street Cafe. Men and women, boys and ... Keep Reading...