The End in Mind

I learn a lot of life lessons from my hobby, pottery. Sometimes I go to the studio and just want to express myself in a creative outlet. By thrusting my hands into the clay, I touch a substance that can express me, but isn’t me. Who knows what I’ll end up with?

Actually, it’s better to have a small notion of what I’m aiming for before I begin. Adventure and the unknown are good for certain things, but flying by the seat of your pants doesn’t usually improve your results.

When I sit down at the wheel with a round ball of clay that I’ve carefully patted into shape, I first get out the air bubbles and center the mound. Then I start making something. However, I have to at least know if I’m making something bowl-shaped or cylindrical, since that will determine how I begin. What I end up with will be far different from what I intend, if I don’t decide beforehand.

Thankfulness …

Hoping your turkey-eating, family-seeing, time-enjoying holidays are wonderful! No matter what’s happening a daily thankfulness habit is as good for your day as a session at the gym or a handful of vitamins. Or better. But at this time of year, I stop and look back, then look forward, filled with the certainty that all is well, and will be. God is good.

Limping, Strolling, Running

I was thinking today about the different ways people come to God. Some don’t come until very late, others not at all. But those who come do so in different ways.

First, there’s the limp. Life has beaten us up. We’re emptied out and bruised all over. Maybe not even sure God has noticed or cares, but we still go, limping. Our journey may be slower because of it, but that’s okay. We get there. And we get a lot of TLC along the way. Or maybe limping demands more effort than our strength can supply, so we crawl. I’ve felt like that. I’ve also crawled in the other direction at times, too hurt to look at Him.

The Beauty of Decisions

Years ago a woman at church shared something I have always remembered. She commented on how many decisions we make every day, in the thousands, without even thinking. It struck me how much autonomy we have over our lives in the small and large decisions, and even the automatic ones. So many things we think of as reflexes are really small decisions, made in the blink of an eye.

It got me thinking. Thinking about decisions I make daily, without much thought. Or the ones I give a passing thought, little decisions, seemingly inconsequential. Of course, we cannot agonize over every decision, but if we bring to consciousness some of our knee-jerk decisions, won’t we have less conflict, get more done, stay closer to God during the day, trust more instead of worrying? Wouldn’t we live according to our values more often, weigh the value of spending time with this versus that?

Gets kind of overwhelming, doesn’t it?

Two Worlds

Starbucks in Paris. A tourist’s haven from heat and culture stress, as well as a Saturday meeting place for Parisian students. The typical population—well-to-do teens, traveling families, twenty-somethings in summer fashions— filled the comfortable chairs drinking lattes, espressos, and frappucinos. A woman “of a certain age”, as the French would say, entered an alcove by the window. In one hand, nails encrusted with black, she held a steaming beverage. In the other, she clutched two pastries...

Je Positive

My very first experience on French soil occurred in 1989. I spent two weeks in southern France helping with English programs in a church there. I’d studied a bit of French, oh, about nine years earlier. Not too much left in those archives. I recalled a smattering, though. That is why I was so perplexed when I kept seeing a billboard with these words: “Je positive”. That means “I positive”. That’s right, no verb. I knew enough French to know that it made no sense at all. Years later I...