Today Let Me Appreciate

“To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” -Johannes A. Gaertner

The message came in late one night. My husband and I had just arrived home from a wonderful evening with dear friends. Thanks to the lingering warmth of flavorful sangria and the company of those I love, I felt peaceful and relaxed. But in less than sixty seconds, a five-sentence message turned my blood ice cold. My hands, hovering over the keyboard, began to shake. The words on the screen became blurred through my tears.

There were few details included in the message. But in this case, details were simply not needed. A reader of my blog was telling me her child had been murdered in August.

Each day I read – no, make that skim over – this eight-letter word in the news. But tonight there was no skimming. I read it over and over and over again. There was something about reading it here, in my inbox, from a dear soul one email message away that grabbed me in a chokehold. Murdered. For a few moments, I forgot to breathe.

And then I went there—crossing that line of “what if” and for one split second tried and to imagine if my child …

I can’t even type the words.

And cowardly, I couldn’t even imagine such devastation … so I quickly retreated back to the safety of here and now. I bolted upstairs, taking two steps at a time, to get to my precious children. I found them, as I prayed, peacefully sleeping in their beds. With each child, I rested my head on her chest just to feel her breath, just to feel her life.

In that moment, I made a silent vow to my dear reader one email message away that I would not say: “There are no words.”

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How to Expand a Heart

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” – Paulo Cohelo

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned that my family got a kitten. Although saying we “got” a kitten doesn’t really do justice to the providential manner in which Banjo came into our lives. I have been drafting this post in my mind for months. But it wasn’t until recently that it became clear why this story needed to be told in this space. This story contains a four-letter word that is the essence of living “Hands Free,” and it is not by accident that I publish this post the day after the US Presidential Election. May we let go of the bitterness and anger and regard one another with open hearts. 

This is our story …

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