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At the Door
AUTHOR
Jill  »

The turkey is still roasting; every potato, string bean and dinner roll has been precisely buttered. The table linen and silverware is elegantly set and the center piece’s vivid colors are cascading from the light of the chandelier. Still robbed you swiftly dash to your bedroom throwing on the ensemble you laid out hours before.  A glance in the mirror and then a swift turn toward the clock; and panic takes hold because its 10 minutes til dinner time. Ding dong! Guest are already arriving, “I am not ready” you anxiously begin to repeat to yourself as you pace the floor of the kitchen. Turkey isn’t done! Ding dong! I forgot to get ice! Ding dong! OMG, where’s the cranberry sauce! Ding dong!

 In our lives we sometimes are concerned and panicked by the undone. The list of intangible order we wrestle with day to day. Reflecting and dissecting past conversations and those regrettable big mistakes; the “If’s” breach the space where sanity and faith reside. Ding dong! Christ is at your door. He is waiting for you to invite Him in, so He can relieve you of those patterned pressures you pledge your silent hours to. Perfection and order isn’t needed before He can be welcomed in our lives. I used to believe I must have it all in place to have a “real” relationship with Christ. I was ashamed of the list of things that I religiously muddled through that kept me away from God. Christ desires us as we are; He who is our freedom is standing at the door of our hearts.

 Ding Dong!  Will you let him in? Or keep Him waiting at the door?

 

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Share A Cup of Hospitality
AUTHOR
Mark  »

Being hospitable can be a most challenging trait. At the Cenacle we borrow the line from the Benedictines: when a guest comes, Christ comes. The idea being that we must be welcoming and hospitable to all. It is easy to have a very narrow gate, to allow just a few worthy souls to enter and receive your hospitality, at the appointed hour; it is quite another, to have an expansive sense of hospitality, which includes the unscheduled and unexpected.

“Do not neglect hospitality,” Sacred Scripture reminds us, “for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels” (Hebrews 13:2). Again, it can be easy to prepare for the times we expect to be hospitable, when holidays approach or planned gatherings happen. This we know and thus prepare to be hospitable perhaps by cleaning up, making arrangements, by preparing gifts or food especially things our planned guests may like. It’s the unexpected, the welcoming, the hospitality at the many unexpected guests and instances where we didn’t plan to have a comfortable cup of tea ready, or our time expended in listening to another. Try as we might, being hospitable is not dependent on being proactive (though it helps to be prepared). Being hospitable is a mindset, and a choice: a choice to welcome, a choice to share, a choice to lay previous plans aside to honor, help, and welcome another whether or not they are expected. Having a hard time with hospitality? I’ve found that gratefulness is a regular companion with hospitality. Perhaps there are other ways to engender a spirit of hospitality, to encourage us to say yes, and to understand that, whether angels, persons, or Christ himself, when someone approaches us we can choose to be hospitable.

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The Son Remains
AUTHOR
Jill  »
It’s the constant rotation around the sun that offers us a delightful optimism each year. This steady orbit grants us the seasonal evolution to shape and form our most fundamental occasions. Whether it is sharing a laugh with a friend or holding the hand of someone we love-each obtained second flows into the next. The minute into the hour, into the day, and so on we find ourselves growing and maturing spinning around the sun. As the golden rays turn the leaves into various hues of chestnut and auburn; our lives also lead their very own seasons. Some seasons are transformative and some are just formative, but in due time we will be propelled into another portion of life.

 

 There is an unwavering grace in each season the Son reveals. In every unwelcome circumstance mercy and hope resides there. During the transition between seasons we must have faith and sow seeds of thanksgiving. When the nights grow longer or there is a pain from a loss or disappointment, the Son will remain. And when the days are yielding the sunlight across all spaces overwhelming us with immense joy, the Son will remain. The sun is steady but never changes, as our world transitions season to season our God the creator of all things great and small will remain.

 

Are you looking toward the Son to help transition you through your greatest and most challenging seasons in your life?

 

  

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Power To Shape Minds
AUTHOR
Steph  »

“Gratitude is like fertilizer for the mind”

Robert Emmons, PhD

According to studies conducted by Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, gratitude is like fertilizer for the mind. When practiced, it activates multiple brain systems in ways that support mental and emotional well-being.

In a series of experiments, Emmons found that when people focused on their “blessings,” as opposed to their hassles or complaints, they significantly increased feelings of joy, happiness, and overall well-being.

What makes gratitude so powerful? Like an amplifier, gratitude pumps up the volume on the good in our lives, Emmons says. Our minds take the shape of the thoughts and emotions that flow through them.

What is shaping your mind today?

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A Servant’s Heart
AUTHOR
Jill  »

As we embark on this season of giving thanks, let us remind ourselves thank you is not just a fragrant expression for the moment. But should also be the gratitude of our hearts through the works of our hands. While we gather together, break bread and give thanks; may we also serve one another with love. Giving thanks for the blessings bestowed on us should catapult us into moments of thankful service. If thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude then gratitude is the fruit of a servant’s heart.

 

How often do we use words when our actions could make a greater impact?

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Grateful Living

 

https://www.brainyquote.com/photos/m/meistereckhart149158.jpg

 

Grateful Living 

I’d sure like to learn to be a more grateful person if for no other reason than an obvious one: being grateful makes you happier; ingratitude diminishes happiness.  Fortunately, many wonderful people have taught me lessons of gratitude.

  • A friend, Adrienne, when she was diagnosed with cancer, began keeping a “Gratitude Journal.”  Every morning she writes down 10 things that she was grateful for. 

  • Brother David Steindl-Rast inspired a worldwide Network for Grateful Living. Check out its interactive web site: Gratefulness.org.  I feel energized every time I visit it. 

  • Thich Nhat Hanh has taught countless people to find joy in the present moment.  He says, “Every morning we have 24 brand new hours to live.  What a precious gift!”

In these days of such troubling daily headlines (in addition to our own personal struggles), we all easily are in touch with the dreadful part of life.  At the same time, life if full of wonder.   For our own happiness and to help us become more expansive and generous, may we always grow in gratitude.

We all know people who radiate gratefulness.  What’s their secret?

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