I Can Do Hard Things, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

I Can Do Hard Things, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

“Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly,
Or do I choose to live and die in fear?”
                                                         Pema Chodron

I can do hard things.
 
I didn’t know that when I was younger. I thought it was all about being talented, special, and somehow gifted. I knew I was not those things. So, I believed I could not do hard and difficult things.

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Why Their's and Not Mine?, by guest blogger Jacqueline DeSelms-Wolfe

We woke up this morning to a large red ring around my daughter’s belly button. Thankfully this episode was on a regular weekday instead of a Sunday. It was like God listened when I prayed for some weekend medical relief, or rather wrote all about it here. He must of forgotten, however, that we were just at the doctor yesterday for her 7 year check-up. 

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The Blessing, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

The Blessing, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

I too frequently wake up in the middle of the night with my mind whirling in a thousand directions at once.  That’s when I listen to podcasts.  I am comforted by the drone of other voices other than my own lulling me back to sleep; unless, the podcast is interesting. 

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A Place Without God, by Stephanie Shockley, MA

A Place Without God, by Stephanie Shockley, MA

One of my daughters invited me on a European trip before she began a study program abroad. We started our adventure in Germany, moving into Austria, then the Northern lakes of Italy, on to Switzerland, ending our trip in London where she will study for the fall semester.

Our first sightseeing point of interest was Dachau, one of the concentration camps established by the Nazis during World War II. My daughter did not want to go and was kind enough to appease her mother for an afternoon in anticipation of the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg, the one thing she was most excited for on the vacation.

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Shattering Moments, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

Shattering Moments, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

I don’t like summer.

I know, I know!  Most of you do like it!  My husband loves it.  He loves to be hot, to feel the sun, and the extended light of the long days.

I love rain, clouds and dark days.  On those days I feel free and exempt from all duties.  My soul feels free!  Maybe it was because my Baptist Grandmother always gave herself permission not to go to church on the Sundays it rained.  She believed being in the rain made one sick!  So I have permission to make my own choices on dark rainy days.

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Participation, by Suzy Newman

Participation, by Suzy Newman
What I have seen is the totality recapitulated as One,
Received not in essence but by participation.
It is just as if you lit a flame from a live flame:
It is the entire flame you receive.
    --St. Symeon the New Theologian
(949-1022)

I absolutely adored this when I read it this morning.  I love the imagery of the flame because it makes total sense to me.  The “essence” St Symeon is referring to, I believe, is God (the flame)…and to believe I am the essence of God is a very comforting thought.

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Life Force, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

Life Force, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

It seems much of my life has been filled with meaningless activity.  In my younger years, without much of me to operate with, I tried to please as I was hoping for value and purpose.  I worked at jobs I hated, tried to stay in struggling relationships for the “sake of the children”, and was mediocre at parenting.

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Lenten Tradition, by Stephanie Shockley, MA

Lenten Tradition, by Stephanie Shockley, MA

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season in the christian faith. During the 40 days ending on Easter Sunday, we are asked to reflect upon our relationship with God by fasting or sacrificing something important in our lives. In the past, I have chosen to give up food or drink I love and this year I am deleting social media from all my electronic devices. In addition, I am adding an act of service to my daily routine in the hopes of enhancing the life of someone in need who makes sacrifices every day.

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The Kingdom of God, by guest blogger Gail Cooney

Tonight at my bible study group, we were talking about worship. One of the qualities of worship that I identify with is an awareness of God's presence in my life.  I started thinking about the way Jesus talks of the Kingdom of God as something we experience on earth, not just something known after our death.  It feels like a parallel universe and we strive to be aware of it and live both at the same time.

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Receiving Comfort, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

Receiving Comfort, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

As I was driving home I noticed two signs posted on church announcement boards.  They both got me thinking and feeling about the difference in comfort levels of their messages.   Seemingly the same, they had a very different feel to each of them.

Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
- Mathew 11:28

The other read:

If you are in trouble, I will rescue you.
 - ???
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