Showing posts from November, 2012

Message in a Bottle

As a lifetime beachcomber, I’ve always dreamed of finding a bottle with a message tucked inside. My treasures are usually colorful bits of beach glass and tiny shells. Yet the continuous tidal action makes the beach a fresh possibility each day. 
As I explored few weeks ago, something bright pink was sticking out of a mound of tangled kelp.

Hot pink duct tape sealed a clear, glass bottle—and there was a message inside! Water had seeped in but the indelible ink clearly showed letters—in a language I couldn’t read.

Carefully extracting five wet strips of paper, I wondered what they all meant. Someone had written one line on each strip. Thanks to Google translator, I quickly discovered the messages were all the same, “Peace in the heart and soul”—written in Swahili, Malay, Finnish, Yiddish, and Slovak.
Ships from all over the world pass through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Did a sailor pitch the bottle overboard? Did it wash in from the Pacific? And why the same message in five language…

The Price Tag of Thanks

I have a hard time with price tags. When shopping, before I decide if I can like something, I check the price tag. How many things have I left on the shelf or rack because of a high price tag? Many. Then there’s the bargain basement. Those price tags are cheap enough, but I seldom find anything I like.
Often I do the same thing with myself. I put a price tag on what I'm worth. I have a gauntlet of requirements: Have I worked hard enough? Done enough for others?  Been kind enough? Am I thankful enough?  It's pretty easy to slap a bargain basement price tag on myself.

I forget that only God puts the right price tag on my worth. My price tag has nothing to do with what I can do for Him; it’s only about what His Son has done for me.How much is the price tag?—The highest price imaginable because Jesus paid for it with his life.

During November we consider all the things we're thankful for. Without question, I’m most thankful for my new price tag. I have a Jesus price tag, and …

Empty Next?

It was actually a typo. She meant to ask how I liked my empty nest. Instead my friend asked what I was doing with my empty "next". I knew what she meant, but wondering what’s next for me is a much better question. When my children moved out I had room for new things to come into the space left behind. What's next?

I'm still years from retirement, but I do have more time now. I have quiet evenings and weekends. If time is a gift, how can I give it to others? What can I do with my “empty next"?
Raising children was a wonderful chapter in my life, now I’m writing the next ones. I can choose to spend my "empty next" time anyway I want. But I don’t want to neglect the privilege I’ve had living in America. Now that I have more time, it’s my turn to give back. And no one argues that America needs her people.

I’m part of the Baby Boomers-Empty Nesters with more time to give. Some argue that Boomers ARE the nation's biggest problem, but there are enough o…

Building Wisdom in us and the US

I used to think wisdom only came with age. While it’s true that older wisdom has experience, younger wisdom considers new options. Recently I saw younger/older wisdom combine as my husband and son worked together on a building project. Oh, they both work differently: my husband works more methodically, while my son is inventive, looking for faster, easier ways. 

Even though they sometimes had different ideas, wisdom told them when to acquiesce to the other. And when they combined their wisdom—elder experience and younger ideas, I saw something else get built—a bond of respect.

Both of them will confess to a few construction-based conflicts, but it didn’t stop them from working together. And in the end, they built more than a structure—they built their relationship.
This brings me to my point: our relationships work best when we work to make them work. This is true in our homes and it’s true in the bigger picture of our nation.  Older wisdom remembers the lessons of the past and offer…

Kindergarten Tolerance

I felt I had an advantage since my sister had already been in Mrs. Dayton’s Kindergarten class two years prior. I knew all about the toys and the fun things we’d do. I couldn’t wait for the first day of school. I confess, as the youngest at home, I was spoiled. I won most of the sisterly spats because I whined more convincingly. But once in school, it wasn’t long before Mrs. Dayton sternly warned me to share the miniature furniture in the dollhouse. I was told I needed to wait patiently in the recess line, play by the rules in classroom games, and not repeat the names kids made up to tease other kids.
About mid-year, as another girl and I faced a frowning Mrs. Dayton, I learned there were two sides to every story, and my side didn’t seem to matter right then. As I went back to my desk, Mrs. Dayton admonished, “Karen, you can be nice even when you don’t get your way.”
On numerous occasions, I carried a note home from Mrs. Dayton. Those notes meant my punishment would extend beyond the …