Thursday, August 18, 2016

Hidden Bonus

A recent Associated Press article grabbed my eye. It was titled, "Sit All Day? Find Time for an Hour's Walk."
See, the thing is, I'm whatever the step is beyond ADD and am afflicted with a sitting attention span of about 20 minutes. Not really a good thing for a writer.  
After a while, my large muscle twitches begin to contort my body into a sort of macabre computer chair dance that makes bystanders think I'm petitioning for rain. 
So I get up, go wash some dishes, put on a load of laundry, do a lap or two around my writing cave and get back to the keyboard for another 20 minutes. 
After a few rounds of this, I'm ready for a change of scenery so I take my first prayer walk of the day. One of many. 
What a pleasant surprise it was to see this article that reinforces that prayer walks are not only good for you spiritually and emotionally, but physically too.
According to a 7/27/16 paper published in the medical journal Lancet, "It takes about 60 to 75 minutes of 'moderate intensity' exercise to undo the damage of sitting" for long periods of time. "Being sedentary is known to be a risk factor for problems including diabetes, heart disease and cancer."
Studies show that brisk walking "helps prevent insulin resistance, keeps the brain active and strengthens the heart, muscles and bones."
And if you add prayer to the mix, walking helps strengthen the heart in more than one way; it floods the darkest chambers with light and droughts of fresh air as Papa God blows out the cobwebs with His sweet, refreshing presence. 
Can't beat that for a bonus round!
So I encourage you to join me today in at least one prayer walk. We can put our twitching muscles to good use, retire the rain dance and maybe even avoid a flood.   

Thursday, August 11, 2016


It was Thanksgiving.

My extended family had gathered from far and wide around the food-laden table: grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, my dear husband and our own beloved children.

The souls most precious to me in all the world.

Noisy, messy, hungry, healthy, happy.

The fact that we were all there together went straight to my heart. I was overwhelmed with gratitude to Papa God for this incredible blessing.

As conversation swelled during the passing of food and heaping of plates, I quietly fled. The lump in my throat threatened to suffocate me and I simply had to find an isolated spot in a back bedroom where I could let loose and weep a little weep (one of my fave lines from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women).

Can you recall a time when you, too, were overcome by emotion?

I came across such a scene in scripture recently ... it was the story of Joseph, when his treacherous, treasonous brothers from his painful past had suddenly reappeared around his own table, not recognizing him, and bringing with them a multitude of conflicting feelings and the little brother he didn't know he had.

"Joseph made a hasty exit because he was overcome with emotion for his brother and wanted to cry. Going into his private room, he wept there" (Gen 43:30, NLT).

I found this passage very confirming and even comforting. We don't always have to be strong ... stoic ... appearing to have it all together. Being overcome with emotion is a good thing sometimes. It cracks the plaster wall of self-confidence we've erected to protect ourselves from wounded feelings.

But when we filter out hurt feelings, we risk forgetting how to feel at all.

So Joseph's plaster cracked. The dignified, game-faced ruler of Egypt, felt that day. He felt deeply. And he wept.

It's okay for us to feel too, dear friends. Weeping a little weep can cleanse the soul.

One parting observation about this passage - I had to LOL at verse 31, which occurred immediately after Joseph's secret purge of erupting emotion:
"Then he washed his face, got a grip on himself, and said, 'Let's eat'" (MSG).

HaHaHa! It's good to know that somebody else is governed by his stomach just like me. How about you?  Does a growling tummy trump your need for a Kleenex?

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Collared by Choice

To tug or not to tug ...
My pooch Fenway wears a - wait for it - Boston Red Sox collar.  Bet you didn't see that one coming, huh?
He didn't choose this particular collar, in fact, he much prefers a nekked neck, But because his human daddy is a diehard Sox fan, Fenway received, for his first Christmas in our fam, an official handy dandy Red Sox logo collar. 
The catch: it didn't fit. Fenway has a S neck and the smallest size in the store was M. But because Fenway's human mama is a theme fanatic (and more to the point, the pricey collar was unreturnable), onto his skinny little neck it went.
Our first foray into the neighborhood with the new collar revealed a problem. With a duck of his head just so, Fenway could easily shuck the collar to pursue a taunting squirrel or passing bicycle or whatever captured his fancy at any given moment. 
After the tenth screaming-meanie pursuit of said escaping dog by Alpha Mama (me), Fenway finally caught on that although he could buck the system at will, he shouldn't if he wanted his yummylicious peanut butter & apple flavored doggie treat when we got home.
For him the reward was pure heaven. 
So Fenway made a choice. He stopped ducking his head just so and opted to remain within the parameters imposed by his collar and leash. He wanted to run free, sure, but he wanted something else more.
You know, at some point in time we'll all be treading in Fenway's boots (or should I say paws?): we want to run free, but we want something else more. We crave Papa God's smiling approval. Not His love, mind you, for we'll have that anyway no matter how many squirrels we chase.
Yet we - as a child of God - yearn to feel our Papa's pleasure when we make good choices.  Choices resulting from our decision to delve into, hear and obey His Word.
So the next time a temptingly fuzzy squirrel whizzes by, I need to remind my trembling self of the thing I want even more: a proud pat on the head from Papa God.
For me the reward is pure heaven. 
How about you?