...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Friday, December 13, 2013


A late summer Canadian front sweeps across Lake Erie at dusk. 
Our capacity for appreciation is a function of the "human" brain over the reptilian, at least for the times we choose to exercise our God- given capacity for wonder and appreciation. It's worthy of its description as one of the "transcendent" emotions, because it allows us to be human, to love, to calm down, and better endure difficult times.    

One way to counteract the natural tendency of adaptation to good things (the animal brain) is to make a regular list of all the things which we take for granted.

There are two ways to experience appreciation: one, we practice it daily or, two, we undergo the loss of blessings- and we recognize them after the fact.  Adapting to the good can be countered by intentionally remembering the good in our lives. Psalm 73:25, is instructive here: "Do I have anyone else in heaven?" Or, whom do I have to thank?

Another way to embody appreciation is to relinquish what we cling to as our rights. Instead, see them as favors. 

This works wonders in relationships of all kinds, including marriages. You can become a bucket filler by expressing genuine appreciation to others with whom we live and work. Most healthy relationships need daily three, four, even five more bucket drops than bucket dips, and genuine appreciation is one of the vehicles we have for placing deposits in others.   

A third way to nurture appreciation is discipline ourselves to engage in activities that encourage it.

A brilliant musical performance, a museum that houses great works of art, or a breathtaking sunset can all lift our spirit. In the days when I served as a labor coach/dad for my expectant wife, I was to make sure that her focal point was available, that is, a photo of her beloved kitty cat. Why? Because the sight was comforting and peace-giving to her, even in the most difficult pain of her labor.

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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If you want a formula for making the best of the less-than-perfect and making the most of what you have been given, then begin to compare your lot to what you were before you were born, and it will empower you with wonder every time. John Claypool

Making Good Decisions