Thursday, March 1, 2018


I called her, 'the lady in red'. I'd see her almost every day on the same street. Walking. Walking fast. Wearing a dress, not pants. Not just any dress, though, but one that was flouncy, bright and noticeable from the distance. You'd see the red, the hat, and her quick gait. Her dresses were tight to the waist and then with a full skirt, like 50s style. Red belt, red hat, and red heels, not sexy or tawdry but happy and cheerful, and old-fashioned-like.

Other times she wore a red dress with flamboyant accessories, or a black dress with scarlet accessories, or wearing a bright blue print with red accents. And the handbag, always a large handbag. The big brimmed hat, too. The hat, the bag, and the dressy-dress made her stand out. And her stride. She was in a hurry, places to go, people to see, shopping to do. I looked for her whenever I was driving in that section of town. It was common to see her in the late afternoon. Usually she was on the same side of the street as me, walking on a sidewalk, her back to me as I drove on by.

Her hair was curly, shoulder-length, bouncy, like the determined, bouncy way she walked. I wondered her story. Hers was not the normal stride but that of the person marching to her own tune. I never knew, of course, and I never talked to her. She was walking, and I was hauling a car full of kids.

We moved out of the area. Five years later we were back. A few weeks into our return, I spotted her. She had aged. Her hair was now pepper and salt in color. Her dresses, not quite so outlandish. But she was going shopping, walking fast, carrying a colorful tote bag in hand. It felt good to see her again, to know she was still around. Every time I saw her I would smile. She had a cheerful aura about her, and I knew she had to be a good person by the way she dressed, the kind of person that celebrates life and says nice things to make others feel good. She had character, more than most.

Then one day, years later, the front page of the local paper boasted a picture of her. She'd passed on, and they'd written an article about her. Now I knew her name. Now I learned she'd been homeless off and on but a favorite in town. Now I knew she made a lot of people smile and was loved by merchants and homeless alike. She'd been an encourager to many. In fact, the locals were covering her funeral expenses. The lady in red was going out in style, beloved by many in the community.

I've always wanted to write about her because she impressed me and touched something in me that others have not. Her inner beauty was magical even though she was doing what she did without a concern for what we thought about it. She liked being beautiful. She liked color. She loved red. She liked purpose and was about her business. Though different than mine or others, there was something special about it, and about her.

Look for the beauty and you will find it.

Friday, February 23, 2018



As one ages you bear more burdens: Loss upon loss, heartache upon heartache, disappointment upon disappointment. Even culturally, you seek to adjust to the constant change, some good, but some not so good. I can understand why some people pull in and quit trying so hard.

What to do?

As we age, we must make good decisions and choose to look on the bright side of life. We must look to our best friends for validation and encouragement, and to hear our hearts. We must embrace the love of our Heavenly Father. We must also learn to let go, release, choose to forgive, release, and realize the need to accept there are some things we cannot change, release. Prayer is a huge part of this. God helps us release when we ask him to. He also helps us heal. He guides us on the path.

Okay, how about in real life?

I look at my folks and feel for them. Life is not the same or as enjoyable. Besides the normal aging process with it's health issues, many of my folks'friends are passing on, people they used to play cards with, vacation with, go out to eat with, attend church with. That's a hard thing once you're getting up there in years.

As their children, we try to fill in the gap. We do the little things that make them smile. One of our frequent happy moments is looking out the kitchen window as we view the clouds, blue sky, the Sierra Nevada mountains with snow peaks. We enjoy eating a home cooked meal that we kids brought, or talking about their past or some current event. Our purpose is to help them and make them happy as much as we can.

The point is, we can give, and giving gives us pleasure.

Life is not easy, but life is good. We can celebrate life or we can be overwhelmed by it. I find it easier to celebrate life when I apply prayer for my family and other concerns. It lifts the monkey off my back by releasing the fears, worries, and concerns. I give the details to God and then let them rest with him. I pray blessings on people and situations. Then I do it the next day, and next. . . . God is good, very good. I center myself in this knowledge.

But is there an antidote?

Yes! Decidedly, yes. PRAISE and THANKSGIVING. We find our antidote through the practice of applying praise and thanksgiving in all things. This is a cultivated practice that looks at the problem and sees what it teaches and gives. Giving thanks and being grateful changes your mind and shifts your focus. You can also shift it to another subject. Do you have sight, appendages, hearing, friends, loved ones, food, shelter, education, material blessings, pretty things, music . . . ?

All of these are praise-worthy.

And you're still here, that's a major blessing. Make your words a constant stream of praise to God and your thoughts a river of thankfulness. It will breed a new attitude in you that can face and absorb the endless struggle of life.

Do it. Praise and give Thanks. Report back in a few days, weeks, or months. I hope you do.

Blessings to all on this lovely day.

Thursday, February 8, 2018


Celebrate Beauty
Beauty surrounds us. 

Beauty unfurled-graceful lines, smooth surfaces, varied hues of color, uneven textures, soft whispers, feather light kisses, ocean waves.

Beauty within a person comes out in shining radiance, speaking words of kindness and affirmation, gracing others with its presence.

Outward beauty may be cultivated or found in intricate design of human effort, or it may be present in exquisite offerings in nature’s grand display.

True beauty emerges in a natural form without constraint or alteration; it sings, speaks, heals, lifts, mesmerizes, grips, penetrates, gives.

A person is blessed who looks for beauty in the every day, who cultivates a sense of wonder, and who finds peace and joy in its presence.

Beauty comes from God, the maker of all things beautiful. Beauty is ours because God has given us eyes to see and hearts to feel.
  • Look to the sky today and thank God for it. 
  • Smell the delicious scent of food baking and thank the cook for it.  
  •  Hug a friend and thank them for their friendship. 
  • Clean something that needs it, and thank God for the ability to do so. 
  • Listen to music and be thankful for your hearing. 
  • Touch a soft pillow or the fur of a pet and be thankful for the gift of touch. 
  • Taste a slice of fresh fruit and be thankful for the gift of taste. 
  • Read a newspaper, book, blog, or magazine and be thankful you have something to read.
  • All of these are beauties we are given as gifts to enjoy.
Thank you, dear God, for the beauty that surrounds us, speaks to us, enfolds us, and endears us to it. You are an artist with the earth as your canvass. In every petal, raindrop, smile, we see some of you and your artistry. You make our world lovely. We must open our eyes to see it and rejoice in it. We are blessed by who you are and what you do.  Amen