I’m learning that my deepest lessons are learned when I look at what someone has said or done to me that was hurtful and ask the question, ‘How have I done this to others in my thoughts or actions?’”

 

Article by Malcolm Marler, Edited by Dee DeWitt

 

As I sat in the meeting with a group of fellow co-workers (not my chaplain team), I was caught off guard by the comments of one of the group members. He critiqued a workshop that I had recently led in front of the group, and he told me how disappointed he was that I didn’t talk enough about some things he thought would have been more helpful to the audience.

 

I felt my face grow warm with embarrassment and I was aware of the tightness in my throat and the defensiveness in my voice.  Finally, I just sat back and listened, though I could feel the sadness in my heart and the pit in my stomach that he (and maybe others) was not impressed.

 

He did not approve.  I was not all that he wanted me to be, I had failed to impress or to be held in high esteem by this individual.  My stress level was on high alert.

 

Can you remember a time when you were criticized by a co-worker, a family member, or your spouse or partner? Read More »

Posted on 1 March, 2010 in Happiness, Simplify
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… It calls us home and reminds us that life is good, and that we need to be still and quiet.”

 

Article by Malcolm Marler, Edited by Dee DeWitt

 

A few months ago I wrote the following words to my wife, Mary, in an email:

 

“When we move from the lake, my hope and prayer will be that whatever and wherever it is, it will be a step toward radical simplicity.  A step towards making time for relationships, yours and mine, as well as with others, and a lifestyle that is enriched by doing what we love, and not what we feel like we have to do.  I don’t know what all of that means, but I like to dream of it.”

 

And so my simplicity journey began. It was a step, a beginning, a stirring, a calling to walk a new pace.

 

In Richard Foster’s book, Freedom of Simplicity, he states that simplicity is rooted in the spiritual.  Simplicity is not about becoming an ascetic and hating material possessions.  It is about understanding that happiness through owning stuff is limited, and our peace, joy, and inherent value comes from God. Read More »

Posted on 23 February, 2010 in Balance, Simplify
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Article by Dee DeWitt, Edited by Dee DeWitt

 

In our world today, we’re on the move all the time … one activity after another, always one more appointment to get to, one more errand to complete … and when we stop we’re exhausted mentally and physically.

 

Constant activity and movement are our default modes, if not with our bodies then at least with our minds, with our attention.  Even when we are sitting still, most of us we have the television on, or we’re on the computer checking email and Facebook, or we’re texting friends on our cell phones.  We are always on, always connected, always thinking, always talking.

 

There’s no time for stillness.

 

Even when we’re in line for something, or waiting at a dental appointment, or on a plane – we often get antsy, and search for something to do.  Some of us will have our mobile devices, others will have a notebook or folder with things to do or read … and still others will fidget.  

 

Being still isn’t something we’re used to.  And it comes at a cost: we lose time for contemplation, for observing and listening … and seeing God in the world around us.  We lose peace. Read More »

Posted on 30 January, 2010 in Balance, Happiness, Simplify
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Article by Malcolm Marler, Edited by Dee DeWitt

 

I want to say “yes” to people.  I want to be liked.  I want to be the person others come to when he or she needs my time, my skills, or my resources.

 

And yet if my compass is simply to be liked by others and say “Yes” to them, I’m in big trouble…

 

I’ll lose my way.  I will look up one day and say, “Who am I?  What do I love to do?  Where is my passion”?

 

Each “Yes” I commit to means a “No” to something else.  I can only do so many things.  Each “No” I say makes room for the possibility for a new “Yes.”

 

I’m trying to live more simply in 2010.

 

I am learning that living simply requires me to make one of two choices.  “Yes” or “No.”  Over and over again … every day.

 

My prayer is that I will choose wisely.

 

Malcolm

 

“We need to teach the next generation of children from day one that they are responsible for their lives.  Mankind’s greatest gift, also its greatest curse, is that we have free choice.  We can make our choices built from love or from fear.”

-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

 

Malcolm Marler is Director of Pastoral Care for UAB Hospital in Birmingham, AL.  In addition to his interest in spirituality and health, he loves to identify physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of persons, then design and build programs that help meet those needs.  His warmth and humor along with his powerful message of hope and grace is his greatest strength.  Malcolm grew up in Alabama and attended Clemson University (S.C.) on a football scholarship as a defensive back where he graduated with a B.A. degree in Psychology.  He is a graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY with Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees.  Malcolm lives on a lake in North Alabama with the love of his life, Mary Bea Sullivan.  He has two open-hearted, loving stepchildren, Brendan and Kiki who are both freshman in college.  For more information or to contact Malcolm, please visit www.MalcolmMarler.com.

 

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Posted on 18 January, 2010 in Balance, Simplify
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Article by Malcolm Marler, Edited by Dee DeWitt

 

As I begin the new year of 2010, I’m thinking about simplifying my life.

 

What I mean by this is … owning less stuff.

 

The time I spend in maintaining cars, fixing things around the house, and keeping up the yard makes me wonder who really owns what? 

It wasn’t always like this in my life. 

I used to want to “own more.”

 

But no more.

 

I’m also watching and learning from the finches and grossbeaks on our deck flutter as they enjoy our bird feeders each winter morning. 

And I am reminded of what Jesus said in Matthew 6:

 

25 ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

26Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? …  

34 ‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.’”

 

As my wife Mary and I consider this next step of living our lives in an empty nest, all I know is that I want our nest to be smaller, simpler, less cluttered.

 

How about you?  Do your things own you?  Or do you own them?  I’m ready to simplify my life so that I can fly.  Want to join me?

 

Malcolm

 

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

-Matthew 6:19-34 (NIV)

 

Malcolm Marler is Director of Pastoral Care for UAB Hospital in Birmingham, AL.  In addition to his interest in spirituality and health, he loves to identify physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of persons, then design and build programs that help meet those needs.  His warmth and humor along with his powerful message of hope and grace is his greatest strength.  Malcolm grew up in Alabama and attended Clemson University (S.C.) on a football scholarship as a defensive back where he graduated with a B.A. degree in Psychology.  He is a graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY with Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees.  Malcolm lives on a lake in North Alabama with the love of his life, Mary Bea Sullivan.  He has two open-hearted, loving stepchildren, Brendan and Kiki who are both freshman in college.  For more information or to contact Malcolm, please visit www.MalcolmMarler.com.

 

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Posted on 7 January, 2010 in Balance, Simplify
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