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Time to Leave the Comfort Zone - Sukkot Meditation - Part 1

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Our family has been celebrating Sukkot*, and other biblical fast and feast days, since my oldest was 3. That makes this year the 17th year that we have celebrated this feast. When I remembered this morning that Sukkot was about start, I did not feel the joy and excitement of my younger children, who ask me all year, “When is Sukkot?” The first thing I thought about was the discomfort of eating and sleeping outside in a booth. “I don’t want to be uncomfortable.” I thought to myself. A moment after that I realized, “That’s the point. That’s the whole point of Sukkot. It’s not supposed to be comfortable. It’s supposed to be happy and joyful. But it’s not meant to be comfortable.” Every so often something will happen that reminds me that our home is not actually ours. We have lived here a long time, but we are just tenants. Our landlord is the one who has the final authority. This week he cut down trees, most of which needed trimming, but some seemed to be trimmed too harshly. I loved

Show Your Work

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I am thankful for makeup tutorial videos. They show me that with a little every day wizardry, and some choice products, I too could look luminous. They show me that no one wakes up looking that way. If I wanted it enough, I could invest time and money, and practice until I was good at making my face look flawless every day, or, at least, enhanced. I love it when people show their process and let you in behind the curtain, so you can see how much work went into them getting to where they are. Donald Miller , in a webinar I watched last year, estimated that he rewrote Blue Like Jazz 72 times! He goes to bed early, gets up every morning at the same time, and spends 2-3 hours at his desk before he does anything else, including coffee! Jennifer Fulwiler once shared the spreadsheet she used to track laughs per joke when she was starting out as a comedian and trying new material. Her success isn’t magic, it’s the result of hard work, practice, and time invested. For me this is really freeing

Episode 1 - You Can't Give From an Empty Tank!

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If you’ve ever been responsible for the care of small children, you know how important it is to stay ahead of what those children might need. You probably learned the day goes better if your children are well rested, well fed, have a chance to run around and play, and don’t spend too much time on screens. You don’t expect them to behave well when they are tired, hungry, or restless.   (If you don’t already know that, bonus tip, try it. If you anticipate your child’s needs and meet them quickly, you will all be happier for it.)   But here’s the thing. When was the last time you did this for yourself? Often we grind through our days without proper rest, or nutrition, or exercise, and then get down on ourselves for not being the person we expect ourselves to be. You don’t expect your child, or maybe even anyone else, to do well when their needs aren’t being met, but often we forget to give ourselves the same gift. Or we don’t even believe it’s possible.   Maybe right now you are rolling y

Everyday Courage

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At the fruit stand across the highway from my turn off I see an old man sweeping every day, sweeping, until the lot is clean. Every day the trees litter, the leaves blow back across, and he sweeps it clean once again. His once tall back is curved now, in a never-ending stoop, and his white head bobs in rhythm with his arm.  I wonder how many days he has done this, restored order to his corner of the world, fought back the chaos and encroaching entropy with his broom. How much courage does it take to wrest order from chaos, day after day, never letting it win? We come home, after a week away. I see signs of how much we fight against chaos, day by day in all the places that it has taken over in just one week. The balcony is piled high with fallen leaves the drainpipes clogged with them and the mud backed up behind. Bat guano litters the sidewalks. I’m ankle deep in fallen tamarind leaves outside the kitchen door. In the kid’s bathroom the ants have moved in, excavated the foundations aro

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