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You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.  Mark 12: 30

“To live a spiritual life is to live in the presence of God.  . . . Only God counts, and in God all people and all things are embraced with love.  To live in the presence of God, however, is to live with purity of heart, with simple-mindedness, and with total acceptance of his will.  That, indeed, demands a choice, a decision, and great courage.  It is a sign of true holiness.”

to read the rest of this devotional see Show Me the Way: Daily Lenten Readings by Henri Nouwen

Anyone who is not with me is against me, and anyone who does not gather in with me throws away.  Luke 11: 23

“The spiritual life is gift.  It is a gift of the Holy Spirit, who lifts us up to the kingdom of God’s love.  But to say that being lifted up into the kingdom of love is a gift does not mean that we wait passively until the gift is offered to us.  Jesus tells us to set our hearts on the kingdom. . . . A spiritual life requires human effort.  The forces that keep pulling us back into a worry-filled life are far from easy to overcome. . . . It is clear that we are usually surrounded by so much inner and outer noise that it is truly hard to hear God when he is speaking to us. . . . A spiritual life requires discipline because we need to learn to listen to God, who constantly speaks but we seldom hear.  When, however, we learn to listen our lives become obedient lives. . . .”

to read the rest of this devotional see Show Me the Way: Daily Lenten Readings by Henri Nouwen

Before you knew you owned it
by Alice Walker

Expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.
become a stranger
To need of pity
Or, if compassion be freely
Given out
Take only enough
Stop short of urge to plead
Then purge away the need.

Wish for nothing larger
Than your own small heart
Or greater than a star;
Tame wild disappointment
With caress unmoved and cold
Make of it a parka
For your soul.

Discover the reason why
So tiny human midget
Exists at all
So scared unwise
But expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.


Knoxville Tennessee
by Nikki Giovanni

I always like summer
you can eat fresh corn
From daddy’s garden
And okra
And greens
And cabbage
And lots of
And buttermilk
And homemade ice-cream
At the church picnic
And listen to
Gospel music
At the church
And go to the mountains with
Your grandmother
And go barefooted
And be warm
All the time
Not only when you go to bed
And sleep

But take care as you value your lives!  Do not forget the things which you yourselves have seen, or let them slip from your heart as you live;  teach them, rather, to your children and to your children’s children.  Deuteronomy 4: 9

“It is memory that we enter into a nurturing and sustaining relationship with Christ.  In his farewell discourse . . . Jesus reveals to his closest friends that only in memory will real intimacy with him be possible, that only in memory will they experience the full meaning of what they have witnessed.  They listened to his words, they saw him on Mount Tabor, they heard him speak about his death and resurrection, but their eyes and ears remained closed and they did not understand.  The Spirit, his spirit, had not yet come. . . . The great mystery of the divine revelation is that God entered into intimacy with us not only by Christ’s coming, but also by his leaving. . . . In Jesus, no division existed between his word and his actions. . . .  Saintliness means living [as Jesus lived]. . . .”

to read the rest of this devotional see Show Me the Way: Daily Lenten Readings by Henri Nouwen

I was tagged by Clare Martin.

How to play:
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

Some of Us Did Not Die by June Jordan

“I never thought he should skate back into my, or anyone’s community. But I did and I do think he is my brother. The choices available to us dehumanize.”

Okay, so I’ll tag Karen, EarthPal, Shirley, Carol and Jessie.

First Bookworm wrote about (the pursuit of) happiness, then Jana. Two very different perspectives.


“Happiness won’t be found in expensive toys, jewels, homes, cars, but it will peek at you through innocent, seemingly insignificant moments.” Jana Allard “Are you Happy?

Nor will it be found in the attitude that wants more for the self than it’s willing to give others. Happiness and joy are not the same thing. Joy has a more spiritual nature. But both are worthy of human pursuit.


I found an interesting list to answer the question, What makes happiness?

1. Living in a country that is at peace.
2. Having good physical health.
3. Coming from a happy family background.
4. Having a secure job.
5. Being in love.
6. Having enough money to leave on.
7. Not having to depend on anyone else finantially.
8. Having lots of friends.
9. Having children.
10. Being successful in your professional life.
11. Having a nice home of your own.
12. Being able to see the funny side of difficult situations.
13. Having lots of interests.
14. Having a positive mental attitude.
15. Having a strong religious faith.
16. Feeling you are making a difference in the world.
17. Feeling good about yourself
18. Having interesting holidays.
19. Being able to help others.
20. Counting your blessings and realizing there are others much worse off than you.

(see here)

Would you add anything to this list?  If so, what?

“The civil rights movement did not suddenly erupt in the late 1950s. Generations of African-Americans had been asserting their right to equality but the nation was not ready to listen. By so effectively symbolizing our nation’s dedication to justice and fairness, the Mall provided a powerful tableau on which the struggle would be played out.

In 1939, the great contralto Marian Anderson was barred from performing at Constitution Hall, owned by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR in protest and supported the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] as it organized an Easter Sunday concert on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial. More than 75,000 Americans turned out, one of the largest crowds ever to gather on the Mall on that time.” (see more)

See more about Marian Anderson

Then the master sent for the man and said to him, “You wicked servant, I canceled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me.  Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?”  And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all of his debt.  And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.  Matthew 18: 32-35

“God’s compassion is not something abstract or infinite, but a concrete, specific gesture in which God reaches out to us.  In Jesus Christ we see the fullness of God’s compassion.  To us who cry out from the depth of our brokenness for a hand that will touch us, an arm that can embrace us, lips that will kiss us, a word that speaks to us here and now, and a heart that is not afraid of our fears and tremblings, to us who feel our own pain as no other human being feels it, has felt it, or will ever feel it and who are always waiting for someone who dares to come close—to us man has come who could truly say, “I am with you.”  Jesus Christ, who is God-with-us, has come to us in the freedom of love, not needing to experience our human condition.  In Jesus Christ the obedient servant, who did not cling to his divinity but emptied himself and became as we are, God has revealed the fullness of his compassion. . . .  This is the vision that guides us. . . .”

to read the rest of this devotional see Show Me the Way: Daily Lenten Readings by Henri Nouwen

February 2008