Monthly Archives: March 2015

Spring “Cleaning”

crocus   Ask anyone who knows me and they would tell you I hate house cleaning. I love to cook, I don’t mind grocery shopping and doing laundry. But I despise cleaning. All of a sudden this weekend it hit me: spring cleaning is a lot like Lent (which, I must admit, I haven’t been too diligent about lately either). I went to confession this past weekend and, like almost anything that requires a commitment (exercise, volunteer work, church, etc.) I dreaded going and then afterward felt much better having gone. As I walked out of church to my car, I saw, in the dead grass along the sidewalk, a single yellow crocus just starting to bloom. And I thought, we are all like that little flower in the spring, coming out of winter hibernation. We need to struggle to rise above the “dirt” – guilt, regret, judgment, resentment – that’s been weighing us down, dust ourselves off, and re-commit ourselves to our relationship with God. The Bible says, “Now acquaint yourself with Him and be at peace; thereby good will come to you…If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up; Then you will lay your gold in the dust, the Almighty will be your gold…for then you will have your delight in the Almighty and lift up your face to God. You will make your prayer to Him. He will hear you.” (Job 22:21-27) But we have to make room – to clean out the clutter first – so we can actually be open to Him. I’m finally getting that Lent, spring, is more than giving up sweets and losing weight…it’s a time to prepare, to make ourselves ready for the joy of Passover and Easter. I think this morning (since I go into work late) I will get out the dust rag, clean house and put out my spring decorations, then say a prayer of thanks. I know I’ll feel better after I do.

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Words of Encouragement

17.-Encourage-sunset  I was teaching a publishing course to continuing ed students at Cecil College again this past weekend and before I started, one of my students approached me, excited. She was usually quiet, shy, and during the past few weeks of the fiction writing class I was teaching, having difficulty getting pen to paper (or sentences onto her computer screen) to begin her book (although she has a very powerful story). But this day was different. She said she had begun, had actually written a synopsis and had begun to write her novel – and she thanked me for motivating her to write. We were both close to tears – for me tears of humility, for her, I think, tears of joy. And I realized all over again (as I often do at book signings and speaking engagements) that being an author, speaker or teacher is not about the money, or recognition, or quantity of people reached – the reward is about making a difference in one person’s life. In Deuteronomy, we find out Moses is not able to enter the Promised Land after all, so God tells him to encourage and strengthen Joshua, Israel’s next leader, “for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see.” That had to be tough for Moses, having hiked 40 years through the desert, being asked by God to encourage someone else!  But look how Moses has been venerated by humanity throughout history.  I was the one encouraged by my student  (I had been feeling frustrated and impatient all over again when told by a literary agent recently that I have a lot of work to do on my next manuscript – and here I thought it was ready for prime time!) As life – and God – always work, you always get back more than you give. I looked up the definition of Encouragement: it is “the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.” Let us all encourage someone this week – and be encouraged that God will repay us many times over.

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