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Grasse Memorial Clinic

Calico Rock, Arkansas. I’m here for my quarterly check-up. It’s a hard thing. It’s a brave thing. A nurse will poke me with a needle. I’m not good with needles. It’s what I must do to keep up with cholesterol and blood pressure. I look around. Sweats, jeans, and jump suits. This is a place for the tired, the poor, the broken. Exactly where I belong. The people here carry colds, flu, aching bones, sick children, high blood pressure. Those worrisome things. The nurse comes to the door and calls a name. Everyone grows quiet and looks around to see who will rise. This time, it’s the big man leaning forward to get his bearings before standing. All eyes are on him. No one says a word. We watch as

Gratitude Jar

I think I keep reliving the Garden of Eden story where Satan lurks and waits for that vulnerable moment and moves in. Satan, of course, has enough venom for all of us, you know. Never is there gratitude from Satan. Ingratitude. That’s what he gives out. Adam and Eve, too. They gave out some ingratitude. God gave everything to them, everything good, and they disobeyed. Humans. Not grateful. Likewise, God gives to me every day. I am not always grateful, either. Sometimes I’m numb to it, busy, indifferent, taking things for granted. I have to be intentional, go against Satan to do something for another person, to be grateful. This week I sat with an ice pack on my lower back, but I made myself

A Few Tips for Living in This World

Outside, the wind whips its way down the porch, a big chime plays in the key of G, and the willow dances. A swarm of gnats blows by in mid-air. A brutal ride. Our guest walks around the yard snapping photos of birds, trees, the cabin. She is taking time out from the world to process stressors in her life. (That’s why people come to the cabin. Time with themselves. Time with God.) The woman slept ten hours last night, apparently the first good night’s sleep she has had in months. God at work. We take no credit. It’s all God. Rest, good for us. Our minds, bodies, emotions function better when we get rest. I am reminded of a time when I did not sleep for five nights. Much suffering. I wanted to


Another cold day and I wait. I wait for a tree to fall, for my husband to come back from the other end of the valley, for the amaryllis to bloom near the window. The greenery of the amaryllis is healthy, and I see a life bud. Tender and long-awaited in the winter. I’m writing this on January 6, Ephiphany, the day to say, Ah-ha! Maybe the wise men said such words after traveling and finding Baby Jesus. I’ve been working on a manuscript for months. My most recent goal was to get it to the editor by Epiphany. (Last night, I hit the Send button on my computer.) I have to have goals and deadlines or it won’t happen. A general goal of mine: I want to bless others with what I have learned during my


It’s a name straight out of the Good Book, and she is staying at our house this week. It’s Christmas break from college stress, from flatlands, from busyness. I’m half-sick with sinus infection, so I’ll take all the Rebecca-time I can get. Rebecca is calm and adds no pressure. Easy to talk to, easy to listen to, a quick thinker. And she whips up mean chocolate-chip pancakes in no time flat. No way to avoid sickness or pain in this world. We all know this. No way to avoid it unless we avoid love. Well, I’m not doing that. Yesterday, Rebecca and I talked about college. Her memories of her first week, my memories of my first week. We both declared it to be “another world” unto itself. Plenty of

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