not a clue, as usual

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After the Election (or how to run a race with grace and mercy)


joggerFor months now, I have seen a man jogging past my home around 7am each morning. He carries a plastic bag with him which flaps in the breeze as he runs by. It was the bag that caught my eye. He uses it to pick up trash along the way. This gentleman will bend and pick up the stray coffee cup or fast food wrapper and can do it while barely breaking his stride. He will even cross back and forth to either side of the road if he notices a piece of paper on the opposite side on his morning run.

I live on a main road in my town so there is much traffic, both cars, joggers and people walking and that means a lot of garbage can get tossed aside. I regularly pick up papers and sometimes bottles and cans along the front of my property. This guy is the only person I have seen in 20 plus years of living here who not just joins me in cleaning up my property but he does this for every property he passes through. He is my hero.

As I was sipping my morning tea and gazing out the window, I saw him jog by. He bent over three times in front of my house and another two times at my neighbor’s home. In the background, I had the TV tuned to the morning news and the reporter was shouting about the “Race to the Finish” and what the presidential candidates would be spending their days doing.

As with so many others, I have felt great stress and anxiety over this election. I am afraid images (4)for my country and its citizens.  But this man and his simple act of community service have helped me refocus. This jogger has found a way to focus his end results, yet never so much that he misses what is right in front of him. He has made a decision to leave a better world in his wake, one piece of garbage at a time. He runs with an attitude of mercy for those who made the mess and displays grace when he pitches in to help clean up. Imagine what kind of world we would have if we all adopted this attitude. Rather than an inward focus which causes us to either ignore or complain about problems, what if we lived life with merciful and grace-filled eyes that would compel us to do more than just see the injustices that occur every day. Rather than shaking our fist at the car speeding by and throwing a McDonald’s wrapper out the window, maybe we simply picked up the wrapper, slipped it in our bag and carried on with our race barely breaking stride.

…live a life a love…

Ephesians 5:2

I am trying to adopt this attitude. While I have my own race to run, I don’t want to continue to miss what is right around me because I am so focused on end results. It’s a classic “stop and smell the roses” scenario. But this time, rather than just appreciate the beauty around me, take a minute to reach down and do my part in beautifying the spot that I find myself in.

il_570xn-729678921_t7xrAfter the election tomorrow, our country will refocus on the issues that face our nation. But we as individuals still have a job to do. Commit with me to leave this world a better place by rooting our actions in mercy and grace each day. Rather than looking for someone to blame for leaving garbage in my path, take a moment to bend down and dispose of the trash. Then continue on your way knowing that what you left behind is a bit cleaner, maybe even a bit better than it had been.

He has shown you, O Man, what is good, and what does the LORD require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. 

Micah 6:8






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Don’t Give up America


One year, my church decided to give us kids little gifts on our birthdays. Maybe there was a little extra in the budget. More likely I just had a Sunday School teacher with a soft heart. In September, my friend got a fun pencil set. In October my sister got some sort of fall decoration that was beautiful. I couldn’t wait until November because that was my birth month. The first Sunday in November, the teacher asked who had a birthday coming (looking straight at me!). I jumped up to claim my gift. I opened the box and found two little black and white pilgrim candles. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful but what seven year old gets excited about pilgrim candles. I was disappointed but dutifully smiled my thanks to a well-meaning and very kind teacher. I didn’t want to hurt her feeling, but – candles? What a letdown.

But that’s the thing about November. It comes on the heels of autumn leaves against windy-day-leaves-1brilliant blue skies, apple picking, apple cider, hay rides and pumpkin carving. November 1st comes right after the sugar high of Halloween and getting to wear the costume that you spent all week working on. By November, most of those leaves have fallen and the few that are still holding on have traded their orange and deep red tones for a quieter soft brown. The trees are taking on a skeletal look as they stretch bony fingers against grey skies. People may decorate their homes with a token pumpkin and cornstalk but not much else. It’s the calm before the storm as they wait for the annual frenzy of Christmas lights. November and Thanksgiving are the quiet time between the “real holidays”.

But this year may be different with all the election hubbub that is swirling around us. I don’t know what will happen on November 8th. I have no words of wisdom to ease worried minds. Only this – November in an election year is a force to be reckoned with. Every news media outlet will be broadcasting right up till the last ballot is counted and the nation will turn weary and worried eyes to the headlines for that first stormy week or so. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the choices we are being faced with. It’s so easy to say, “I’m done, stick a fork in this November turkey.” But don’t. Don’t give up America. On November 9th, we will still have a country. It will look different and hopefully, we will start to see differences in our political parties as the effects of this hurricane of an election blow through.


And something else to remember. On November 9th, God will still be God. He will still love you. He will still reach out to you. He will still guide you along the path the He has laid out. He longs to comfort you. Don’t give up, America.