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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

February 2008
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