Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Being Understood

The importance of being understood is on my mind and heart today. Last night I had the difficult experience of being misunderstood--or perhaps misjudged is more the word--by a person I'd just met. I found myself flailing inside, upset and trying quickly to figure out how to make things better, to let her know I was an okay person, to make things more comfortable for us both. Nothing I tried worked. Reflecting on it in my quiet time with God later, I could see that I was probably trying too hard, caring too much, working too diligently to try to make things better. If I had been able to simply let the situation be what it was, to listen quietly for God's leading instead of acting from the pounding of my own upset heart, a different result may have arisen. Or maybe not. But either way, I would have been holding the hand of the One who truly understands me, and I would have felt less alone.

Saturday, October 26, 2002

A Silent Moment

To send a prayer for Senator Paul Wellstone and his family, friends, and constituents. His vision, voice, and energy will be missed. We were fortunate to have in him someone who showed us it is possible to balance passion and perspective with a genuine, world-changing love for people.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Knowing Where We Come From

The other day my sons and I were in the car (we spend lots of time on the road, but it's good talk time) and the discussion turned to eyebrows. My teenage son suddenly has these cool, manly eyebrows. :) He was saying he obviously gets his eyebrows from his dad. "I have your mouth," he said. "That's what makes me a good trumpet player." My younger son got in on the discussion. "I think I got my easy-going attitude from you," he said, "but I'm good at football because of Dad."

As the conversation continued, I was touched by how much of themselves my sons attribute to their dad or to me. His hair, my eyes. His romanticism, my gentleness. I listened to them talk as they divided their attributes and qualities into little piles: Mom and Dad. I wondered where their own gifts came into their figuring. And I was moved by how important--and comforting--it is to know where we come from.

I didn't know my father until I was 34 years old, and then it was an odd meeting--I walked into a room filled with people, knowing that any man over 60 in there could suddenly look up and say, "Kathy? Hi--I'm your dad." I didn't realize it until I met and began to have a relationship with this man that I needed to know where some of my interests and abilities came from. And as my relationship with him continues to grow, I see more and more of myself in him.

How important it is to know where we come from! And for those of us who didn't grow up having all the puzzle pieces intact, who were adopted or simply unconnected, what a gift it is to uncover those missing pieces as they appear in our lives. What strikes me most of all, however, is how on a deeper level we all know that we are part of each other as well as part of something larger. I believe we sense that underneath all our surface differences, we all fit together perfectly in the very heart of God. Knowing where we come from--and Whose we are--helps us feel safe, knowing that we belong, knowing we share in something bigger than ourselves, knowing that we are never alone.

Blessings on your day, friend. :) k

Friday, October 18, 2002

More Info, Please

Thanks to Doug Tindal of for sending me this info. The man I described yesterday (who told the story of the American fellow on safari) was Terry Hershey, author of the book Soul Gardening. You can read about his book by clicking the book name and going directly to the page describing it. Enjoy! And, by the way, how's your soul today? Mine's trailing a little behind, like Peter Pan's shadow...:)) -k

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Letting Our Souls Catch Up

The last three mornings I've added something new to my morning routine: Up at 6:00, wake the boys to get ready for school, let the dogs out, and do my yoga (or fold last night's laundry). But earlier this week, when I was looking for a yoga program a friend had told me about, I discovered New Morning, a show produced by Faith and Values Media that runs on the Hallmark Channel at 6:15 (in my area) each weekday morning. This simple little show is peaceful and filled with heart--ideas for staying centered, listening to God, beginning the day in a peaceful frame. It really is an amazing, sweet, gentle way to open a new day.

This morning one of the stories showed a man sitting in a garden. He told a story that went something like this: "A typical American man decided to go on Safari in Africa. He was typical in the sense that he was always in a hurry, always out of time, and he travelled with lots of stuff. In Africa, he hired a group to help him carry his belongings on safari. For each of three days, they made great time--they rose early, they walked fast, they set camp late. On the fourth morning, the man rose with the sun, as usual. He was ready to go. The morning dragged on and the workers didn't appear. Finally, agitated and upset, he approached the guide. "Where is everyone?" he asked. "We were supposed to leave hours ago." The guide looked around with a knowing smile and turned quietly back to the man. "They are waiting for their souls to catch up," he said.

This simple little story felt like a great gift to me. How often I rush through my day, measuring my effectiveness by the number of deadlines I meet, the tasks I accomplished, the kids I delivered on time to various school and social functions. I love the idea of simply letting my soul catch up with my body! Today I'm going to be more willing to walk at a gentler pace, one that allows me to stop and take a breath when my soul needs to smell the roses.

And if you want to give yourself a gift tomorrow morning, find out when New Morning is playing in your area. Here's the link:

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

It's in the Eyes

Yesterday afternoon I had about 45 minutes to do half a dozen things. I ran to the grocery, to the post office (yes, now I know that it was Columbus Day and there was no mail service), and to the pet store. Last stop before picking Cameron up from school: Kinkos.I had 8 minutes to drop off a manuscript to be copied. When I shuffled in, wearing my sweatpants, Christ the King school sweatshirt, and Nike sandals, the place was filled with businesspeople in businesswear. I tried to wait patiently, watching the second hand tick away the seconds on the clock on the wall.

Seven minutes later, I was the next person in line. As I stood biting the inside of my lip and picturing Cameron waiting like a forelorn waif on the empty school sidewalk, a young man with dredlocks in baggy, low-rider pants walked in and went up to the counter. He stood straight as an arrow, right in front of me. The harried clerks continued waiting on their respective customers. Then one employee turned and looked at the fellow. I noticed her eyes--big, blue, wide-open, *tender* eyes. She stepped up to him and said softly, "How can I help you?"

The young man cleared his throat and asked whether they were hiring. I was touched by the practiced way he held his head up; his gaze, his stiff shoulders. I could feel how tense he was.

The woman was a model of gentleness. She spoke with him as though he were the most important person in the room. She told him what their hiring policies were. She explained the jobs she had open. She gave him the name of the HR manager, along with his phone number and the hours he worked. She wrote the information down on the back of one of her own business cards. She went above and beyond just normal people doing normal jobs. She was loving this kid, showing him that his questions were important, that she honored his decision--and his courage--in coming in to ask about a job. Those eyes said it all. She valued him and he was welcome. What a nice gift for a kid who probably gets more scowls than smiles in our world.

The clock on the wall? I forgot about it and thanked God for that woman's example to me. It's not about the seconds you spend with someone. It's about looking at them tenderly--with love, with intention, with kindness. It's about being tenderly present with people in a way that lets them know you see them and shows them you're glad they're there.

And somehow, miraculously, I had a heart realignment and I still made it to school in time to see Cameron walk out the front door with his friends. Thanks, God.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

I Love That Guy

This morning I had an interesting experience. I was driving my son Cameron to school and we were listening to the radio. A listener called in and was talking to the radio host about something...and I rolled my eyes and changed the station. "Why'd you do that?" Cameron asked.

"The guy was obviously making that up," I said. "He just wanted to get on the radio."

After dropping Cameron off at school, I thought of my reaction and wondered why it irritated me. I started to talk (in my head) to God about it.

"Oh, I know," I suddenly imagined God saying, "I just love that guy. He's a hoot, isn't he?"

That thought stopped my irritated, why-do-people-do that? kind of thinking. The image of a smiling, loving God, shaking his head and laughing lightly about the crazy things we do for attention, for love, for affirmation, to feel better. He understands us. He knows what drives us and what we need. He loves and smiles and pats us when we need it.

I'm not going to judge that guy on the radio anymore. God loves him. And me, too, thank God. :) k

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

New Issue of OPENINGS

Hello! Today I published a new edition of OPENINGS, the free enewsletter I write that shares simple faith essays (much like this blog but with a bit more room to write). If you'd like to check it out, click here or visit when you get the chance. If you'd like to get on the list for OPENINGS, just drop me a note at

I hope you're enjoying the fall wherever you are and you take a moment sometime today to feel the good changes coming in as the geese fly over... :) k

Thursday, October 03, 2002

A Kind Day

This was a day of unexpected kindnesses. The person on the interstate letting me in, the smiling teachers at Cameron's school, happy clients and kind emails, funny stories and shared moments with family. Some days the kindness just glows from people, like sunshine or good thoughts or offers of help rising naturally from a loving spirit. I'm grateful for these days when that glow is so easy to see. :) k

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Sending a Smile

In keeping with that last post, I thought I'd send along my favorite God cartoon, courtesy of The Far Side: :) k

Lightening Up

I'm saying a quick prayer for all of us who get stuck in stress mode, who tend to take things a wee bit too seriously, who *work* at our faith and *work* at our relationships and *work* on ourselves. Sometimes I totally forget about one of the most wonderful acts of worship: Laughing. Laughing and loving means relaxing and opening up (and sharing) what God gives me in this moment. It shows God--without me *working* at it--that I trust him. It reminds me that nothing is that critical and helps me remember what I know--that God is unfolding things gracefully, that I am right where I need to be right now, and that I am fully enjoying being alive in this moment. And that, I think, is perhaps the best way to say Thank You. Let yourself laugh today! It feels good. And I think it's music to God's ears. :) k