Winding Down 2018

annual-reviewOn Sunday, many Christians start a new liturgical year. I begin a new journal and a new planner. The reflection and preparation for the new year that most people start the last week of December or the first week of the new year I started last week and and will be winding down this week.
2018 has been up and down for me. There have been significant loses and struggles, but there have also been some positive changes that have set me up beautifully for 2019.
My word for 2018 was Shalom. I didn’t know everything that word meant when I started the year, but I came to understand that it was much more than peace. Shalom is the peace Christ has and spread. Shalom is a peace that passes understanding, a peace that springs from wholeness.
As I look back on the year, that is exactly what I found: wholeness.
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Black Friday


I’ve seen a lot of posts on social media this week, arguing for or against Black Friday shopping. Some argue we should stay home and be thankful for what we have. Others are grateful for the chance to save for holiday gifts.
IMHO, it’s a personal choice, but I wonder how many people are really choosing the craziness of holiday shopping.
For me, we’re moving into the liturgical season of Advent, which is a time of reflection and emotional/spiritual preparation. I want quiet. I want peace.
The last thing I want is to be in a store with 100 other people spending money I don’t have to impress people I don’t even like.
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Reducing Our Waste

One of our main goals in living a more sustainable lifestyle is reducing our waste. We’ve started with trying to be more conscious of buying products that reduce packaging. We also try to recycle and reuse as much as possible.
We took a big step this week in getting our compost bin up in the yard. We have a small compost bin for the kitchen that we use for our every day compost (cooking scraps, paper towels, etc.). We empty it into our outdoor compost bin every few days.

We’ve gone from a traditional 13 gallon kitchen trashcan that gets empty every 2-3 days to a smaller 8 gallon trashcan that gets emptied once a week. We’re not at zero waste, but we’ve made a significant improvement, going from over 30 gallons of trash per week to 8 gallons or less.
Like most Americans, we occasionally partake in online shopping, which comes with cardboard boxes, but we can now shred the boxes and add them to our compost.
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Struggling with my Inner Martha

Georg_Friedrich_Stettner_(attr)_Christus_im_Hause_der_MarthaLast week, one of the Gospel readings included Mary and Martha–a story that has always troubled me a little.  I want to be Mary at Jesus’s feet, but inside I’m Martha, as I think most Americans are.

Luke 10:38-42 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus Visits Martha and Mary

38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”

41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

When this Gospel reading comes up in the liturgical year, you can see people squirming in the pews a little. After all, we’re all about getting things done and to many of us, we want to complain just as Martha did that those around us aren’t pulling their weight.
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