So much gratitude

I’m relieved for the elections to be over, but I know there are those of you reading this today feeling sad and disheartened. Maybe even discouraged or scared about the future. I’ve seen anger and frustration vented on Facebook, and I know there’s despair simmering in others who don’t have Facebook as a place to vent, and so I want to ask all of you to stop for a moment today and focus on gratitude.

We’re two weeks away from Thanksgiving here in the United States, and a friend of mine Wendy Anderson Schulz posted a lovely idea on her blog this morning about how to make Facebook a kinder, more joy-filled place for the next few weeks. Her idea is simple: post one thing you’re grateful for each day and post only that one status update each day. She promises that limiting ourselves to just one thing each day will become more and more difficult, as we look around and see the abundance of blessings in our lives. How right she is.

You may recall that I hosted a gratitude challenge on my blog last Fall. As I was looking back through last Fall’s posts to prepare for today’s post, I was struck by the similarities in what I’m grateful for again right today. Continue reading

How friendships are like a garden. Or why I hate Facebook.

If I had subtitles for my posts, the subtitle for this one would be: “Or why I hate Facebook.” Instead, I’ve put it in the title, too, because I don’t want you to miss it.

I know Facebook and other social media outlets give friends a way to stay in touch and see pictures of each others’ children and keep updated on what’s going on in our busy lives, but it also strikes me that Facebook has created distances between friends, too.

Under the best circumstances, Facebook feels like a junk-food approach to maintaining friendships, when what we really need to strengthen our connections with each other is real time together, talking, hugging, laughing and even crying with each other. Continue reading

When it’s time to repot

You’ve heard the expression, “Bloom where you’re planted.” While I believe it’s a good saying to encourage us to make the best of our circumstances, I also think it’s true that sometimes we simply need to move out of particular situations to improve our lives.

If you’re like me, you’re already looking around your garden preparing for Spring and planning what plants you might need to repot or move to a different part of the garden. Repotting or transplanting plants can be essential to those plants’ survival. Maybe the pots are too small for their roots to thrive. Maybe their spot in the garden has become too shady for them to grow and bloom and flourish the way they should.

The same may be true of your own life. Sometimes staying put and making the best of a situation is simply not the best strategy. Maybe it’s a destructive relationship that we need to leave behind. Or an untenable work environment. Or an addiction to something unhealthy. Or simply a lazy habit.  Continue reading

Isn’t there an app for that?

Confession time, again: I’m addicted to my iPhone. But I don’t have a ton of apps. I have exactly 26 apps on my phone, including three game apps (no, Angry Birds isn’t one of them), a dictionary app and all of the apps that come preset on the phone.

Apple’s web site touts 425,000 apps for iPhone. So no wonder they’ve trademarked the phrase, “There’s an app for that.”

I got really excited about one of those 425,000 apps the other day. My Real Simple magazine this month told of a free app called Leafsnap that could help me identify trees using pictures of their leaves. Knowing how I love trees, are you surprised that I’d be happy to download that app?  Continue reading

Can I tell you about my BFF?

Last week, I wrote to you about the unmistakeable sign God sent me at a writers’ conference I attended the weekend before. He was telling me to “Forgive,” by placing that word in hard, cold metal form on a table with my name pointing to it. If you haven’t had a chance to read the post, you may want to check it out before reading on.

This week, I’d like to tell you about a second sign: the name of God on the paper where conference organizers had taped my name. As I mentioned last week, a prayer room was lined with tables where we could find our names attached to a sheet of paper with one of the names of God, such as Adonai, El-Shaddai, Elohim, and Yahweh. Here’s what I saw:

My name taped to the top of this page;
Jehovah-Shammah, the Lord my companion

Continue reading