Article by Mary Bea Sullivan

 

Nestled in my favorite green chair, warmed by the fire and MIss White’s hand-sewn quilt, I was enjoying an unusually peaceful evening alone.

 

Suddenly the stillness was shattered by a low, snarling growl from my dog, Daisy…

 

Hesitantly, I stood up to turn the outside light on when I spotted the object of Daisy’s over-zealous protection – a raccoon swinging from one of the bird feeders on the deck.

 

My involuntary reaction was disgust.  Those stupid raccoons make such a mess!  Ugh!  What a waste of bird seed!

 

I was about to shoo the intruder away when I paused for an instant.  Instead of a messy pest I noticed a sweet face staring back at me and returned his gaze.  Stillness hovered under the moon-lit sky as we silently watched one another.  Looking into his eyes, I began to soften…

 

Where there was repulsion, there was now attraction.  Moments before, yelling at the raccoon seemed the most appropriate response; now that I knew him, that felt like a cruel way to treat a fellow creature. Read More »

Posted on 9 March, 2010 in Gratitude, Making the Day Count
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When you remember me, it means that you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are.”  Frederick Buechner

 

Article by Mary Bea Sullivan

 

How often do we take time to remember the people who have made a difference in our lives?

 

Take a moment and think back to a time when you were going through a rough patch and someone stepped in to make a difference in a significant way …

 

Maybe it was a teacher who noticed you were having trouble “fitting in” and she helped you feel safe.  Or perhaps it was a neighbor who noticed you were sad and she took the time to listen to your troubles.  If we stop and think about it long enough the list of kindnesses we have received in our lifetimes are innumerable.

 

Wouldn’t it be nice just to remember a few?

 

So … go ahead.  Take just minute and REMEMBER someone who has been good to you.  What did he or she do that touched you deeply?  How did you respond to their kindness?  Have you ever told them how they made a difference?  Would you want to tell them again?

 

If you haven’t ever told that person the impact they have had on you, would you want to now?  If you do, feel free to let us know how it went.  Remembering … a way to relive the gift.  Acknowledging … a way to share the gift!

 

Who do you remember? Read More »

Posted on 17 February, 2010 in Gratitude, Making the Day Count
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Article by Kevin L. DeWitt

  

There is a close relative who appears – to the casual observer – to have most things our modern culture tells us we should aspire to. He has a beautiful home with a pool and a view, a lucrative retirement after a highly successful business career, an intelligent wife with her own professional career, and a life mostly of leisure …

 

And yet I know he is not content. In fact, he is one of the least content people I know.

 

He’s not alone. Many people feel that there is something missing from their lives. Despite having everything they need they aren’t happy, aren’t content, cannot find satisfaction.

 

Personally, I have been through several stages of discontentment in my life … and in fact, I’m in one now as I experience the frustration and fear of searching for a job in our tough economy.

 

But I also know that I have climbed out of these valleys more than once. Many times in fact. It isn’t easy. But I know from personal experience that it’s possible. And all the while, I try to be thankful for the many blessings God has seen fit to give me.

 

Thinking over these times in my own life, here are a few things I’ve learned we can do to bring contentment back into our lives. I don’t profess to be the expert – far from it! – just someone who is walking this path and trying to learn as I go:

 

• Change our attitude and perspective.

• Take some kind of positive action.

• Do something that gives meaning.

 

These things can be done all at once, one at a time, or in whatever combination works for you personally. They can work alone, or in tandem: Read More »

Posted on 13 February, 2010 in Gratitude, Happiness
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Article by Mary Bea Sullivan

 

Miss Raz must have sensed my confusion when she sidled up next to me at the table littered with sign-up sheets.  Or, perhaps she waited there skillfully culling volunteers.

 

Hey Kid.  Why don’t you join me on the altar guild?”  Clueless as to what this meant, but vain enough to do anything for anyone who called me “Kid,” I scribbled my name on the sheet.

 

That first Saturday morning I joined the other women who patiently explained to me every detail that goes into preparing the altar for service.  Ms. Raz confidently directed her troops.  Martha remained close to me, easing my anxiety with her humor. When I forgot the proper name of an item she smiled and whispered, “Or you can call it the ‘holy napkin.’”  Candles were re-filled with oil and gently wiped down.  Before they could be placed on the altar, candelabras were presented to Ms. Raz who made sure they were lined up, eyeing them with drill sergeant-like precision.  Patti and Phyllis arranged flowers with conscientious care, and what deceptively seemed effortless ease. Read More »

Posted on 28 January, 2010 in Gratitude, Spirituality
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Faithful:  Adhering firmly and devotedly, as to a person, cause, or idea … steadfast in affection or allegiance.”

 

Article by Malcolm Marler

 

I have learned the most about what faithfulness means from people I’ve known.

 

My father showed up at hundreds of athletic events I played in from the time I was in the first grade through college graduation.  And more importantly he showed up as a father, mentor, and friend during dark times in my life as well.  The bottom line is … he was there when I needed him.

 

Others who have been on the sidelines of my life have also taught me about faithfulness without knowing it.  Like Girdie and Mr. Pepper.

 

Girdie was an African American waitress at a BBQ restaurant in Birmingham, AL for over 25 years called “Ollie’s Barbeque.”  I went there as a boy with my Dad, and then in high school when I could drive myself.  I always sat at Girdie’s counter. Read More »

Posted on 28 December, 2009 in Gratitude, Motivation
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