Finding Grace in Each Day

I keep looking for the intellectual capital we all know is within our capabilities….and the heart capital we also find buried in our souls, both necessary to a change in intention, a change in processing information, a change in rhetoric and a change in how we each represent ourselves in a way that models our sense of character, integrity and civility. A way we can joyously invite our children and grandchildren and every generation to follow a view of hope through our care and concern…and action…to effect that hope for all. I have no doubt we can live into our best selves and offer our society the unique gifts we have been given to heal a hurting neighborhood, a hurting community, a hurting state, a hurting nation, and a hurting world. 

My mind returns time and again to the choices we can make that begin with our daily lives. Our outlook defined by the responsibility we bear not just for our own actions, but the thoughts and considerations that drive those actions. Do they represent who each of is called to be and empowered to be? Do they represent introspection that calls for unwavering convictions that might lessen suffering and support hope and change? Do we set aside the quiet time that kind of introspection requires? 

And then…can we translate our uniqueness and intention to positive interactions that can lead to resolutions rather than judgment and a divisive stance, whether those interactions are in person, in print or on social media? 

I have noticed these last years in particular, it is often the small kindness that makes the biggest difference! It may not include tangible gifts or tangible assistance…it may simply be presence through a call, a visit, a note, a text! Caring for one another takes on many forms and is not limited to those we know. Being a part of doing what is best for everyone is an important reflection of how care and concern are defined. We are connected in a myriad of ways that call for working together for the best result.

My Dad used to tell me to do “what God puts before my feet”……he made an amazing impression, explaining that looking at the wider picture would overwhelm and I would end up doing nothing! He also admonished my “feet had to move”! Outside, away from my personal spaces. Oh, my, what great advice that has proved for my life! My world became much wider and introduced me to new friends across this city I would never have had the privilege to know. I have learned from each of them. But it wasn’t their job to teach me! The most important result was becoming part of a community, one I would never have encountered without intention and good leadership. A community where we became friends, sharing the communion of meals, sharing joys and sharing sorrows. Like I said. Friends.

This time we live in more than affirms my Dad’s reference to becoming overwhelmed! I need not describe the layers of chaos and suffering we have all witnessed and continue to witness, the way information is accepted without a depth of reading past a paragraph, the way we have allowed others to determine our thoughts and reactions. I know of no easy answers. Those answers are people dependent. Heart dependent. Soul dependent. Prayer dependent followed by paying attention to the answers those prayers provide! 

But I have learned, our individual behavior becomes our message. Looking for opportunities each day, in the simplest circumstance, to make a difference is the structure we need to support any collective answer. It IS the collective answer! When our arms encircle, rather than support a raised fist, when our answer is thoughtful rather than an echo from someone else, when we are intentional in recognizing need, physical or emotional, when we become proactive rather than reactive, our day can take on a new tenor. At the very least, it can give us hope and affirm our potential as human beings who love one another. At the very most, it can become part of a world that does change.

Lest you think I’m a “pie in the sky” kind of girl…..I am well aware and heartily support ongoing verbal and written…and lived out…advocacy; the tangible responsibilities we each have to foster systemic change; the importance of informed voting and voting access…and on and on. All things I have made every effort to do alongside teams of hardworking servants! These efforts paint the wider picture of care and concern in our daily lives, too. We can all work to litigate those changes within the required framework.

But we have all experienced our inability to litigate matters that require our hearts to change! We can do that…it is within our personal power to decide our own message. 

Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem famously ended:

“For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it.

If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

A Quiet Prayer

maybe we should

take a stand


sitting down

in circles

of diversity

the quiet

our call

to center

allow grace


calm the



breathe our

very lives


common space

do the hard work


living into


that celebrates

our sameness




spirits joined





we can stand


when it’s





Looking Back

I often wonder how these days of the pandemic will be written and read about when they become an important element of our nation’s history. I can picture a young student reading about what this looked like, felt like, much as we do now with the information around the “Spanish flu.”

Of late, I have made an effort to (subjectively) evaluate how we will be viewed by those readers. What will be our message in how we responded to a horrific number of deaths that affected millions of family members when you consider the bigger picture? Did we behave with honor and sacrifice, in spite of the many difficult changes required to address the virulent nature of the Covid virus? I find myself appreciating our military men and women whose lives don’t change only during a declared war. Their lives are subjugated to our best interests always, over and above what they might like personally for themselves or their families. Much like we have been asked to do for one another.

In a crisis of this kind, our rights and liberties are best served by considering the rights and liberties of everyone and the way they will necessarily affect the whole, whether that be the unvaccinated wearing a mask or taking a vaccine that will provide herd immunity and eradication of this public health crisis. The ten years of research prior to this event fed and assured a timely offering of vaccination now. I am personally and collectively grateful. Tennessee counts 32.6% fully vaccinated, Williamson County 46.8 and Davidson County 40.1. Even adding the natural immunity of those who had Covid and not knowing the longevity of their response, we have a ways to go.

I hope the books will reflect the “game changers” who will put this now tragic event in our past. Namely, those who researched and provided the vaccines, the front line medical personnel (inclusive), the essential workers who kept us fed and provided our ongoing infrastructure….all more appreciated than can be articulated here.But, in the end, the heroes will be those who cared enough to follow guidelines for many, many months, who became part of the solution for their isolated friends in creative and loving ways, who were resilient in ways that quietly modeled best practices.And those who loved their country enough, cared about it’s people enough, to become vaccinated.

Our American Legacy

Our angst, our sadness, even our anger, deserve personal process and time for reflection. “Moving forward” does not preclude allowing healthy introspection and taking the time to center. Our psyches have endured untold assault this past year in the disconnect Covid has rendered on so many levels.The events of this week add even more.

I pray for the family of Officer Brian Sicknick, who gave his life defending the Capitol premises and those trapped inside, our elected officials convened to conclude the election process. I also pray for the families of the four others who died, Ashli Babbitt, Benjamin Phillips, Kevin Greyson and Roseann Boyland. All of their families are left to grieve.

I try to think ahead to what will be taught in classrooms about this event in the near future as well as the distant future, even 100 years distant. I hope we leave a legacy that reflects, first and foremost, that the laws of our land prevailed. That these events were scrutinized and professionally investigated by measured, methodical means with outcomes applied within the laws we are all called to follow. Lack of accountability at all levels invites repeat behaviors, but more importantly, disrespects and dilutes those very laws and the people and institutions they are to protect.

We clearly need to be a reconciling people and that hard, long term work begins with each of us, in many ways. But work toward authentic unity can’t begin by dismissing the reality that transparency and courageous decision making requires now. Those decisions will become our legacy. They will tell our future citizens we allowed and used a wide lens, patient and thoughtful responses based on the benchmark of law, to exhibit our hopes and dreams for the long term. Citizens deserve to know, both now and in the future, our laws cannot be brushed aside for short term solutions that won’t stand the test of time.

Officer Sicknick did his job. We can honor his life by our responses. We can acknowledge all of those who lost their lives with our prayers.

And then we can become a reconciling people by listening closely for the answers to those prayers and living out those answers. God loves each of us. All of us. I fully trust in his answers that I know will start with loving one another as we love him.

Answered Prayers

Answered prayers

swirl in a wind

we name a

New Year.

Looking for a home

quiet and thoughtful

open to the grace

God promises

his beloved children

the world over.

Health and wellness

a liquid gold remedy

protection for all

a gift without favor.

Oh, the hope of change!

hearing rather than listening

acting rather than speaking

looking forward rather than back.

This year with a

new number

will reap the way

We change.

Reach out for kindness

grab compassion

as they fly by!

Let them settle

into open hearts

and open minds.

His answer is always faith.

His answer is always hope.

His answer is always love.



“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13:13

All Saints Sunday

Our losses

too many

the time

too short

too close

too soon.


become a


each movement

a whisper that

replays the stories

the lives

that lead to

the Christ.

The Corinthians

body of Christ

The Builders Class


sixteen strong!

soon to be the

Robert I Moore Class

numbers to surpass

all others.

Lives of


and care




their blending


their call


These saints

our teachers



the new

the young

even now.

God’s victory

replacing loss!


valued lives

marched with


served with


loved like


Beloved, all

Saints, all.


for The Seekers Class

to honor the Robert I Moore class

All Saints Sunday, 2020

The Election

This long awaited


cries out

for history


for honor

for character

for silence.

For prayers

of unity

rather than



for freedom

hard won.

For the stories

of long ago

when courage

and sacrifice


the common good

a model for living.

For gospel words


center and distill

what justice looks like

what justice feels like

for all.

Words that remind


is a verb.



“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27

The Gift of Fall

The comfort

of same.

Crisp days

the changing



a creation

that offers


Birds heading


fiery colors


every hue


the palette

of fall.

Flowers bending

to sleep

leaves falling

to become

their protector

a time

for rest.

Hold on.

Don’t let go.

Be still.

God reminds


the same.



Justice Through Legislation

I am indebted to Justin Jones and all those who join him on their 59th day at Ida B. Wells Plaza, bringing light to many social injustices that might never be known otherwise. I am grateful to know this young man who has put Divinity School at Vanderbilt on hold to witness to God’s call for justice.
Today, he is highlighting our reconvened state lawmakers who meet to consider legislation around the right to protest as well as limiting liability for businesses and corporations around issues of Covid in the workplace.
We need to be paying close attention to both, as they represent rights of Americans that are long reaching. For several weeks we have wondered why we aren’t hearing from OSHA, our federal agency tasked with setting and enforcing standards to assure safe and healthful conditions in the work place. Many of us have written compliance manuals around OSHA’s guidelines! Over the years, those guidelines have been necessarily
fluid and adjusted to new information.
So, Covid does not require a completely unknown standard, though ongoing information and research will add to the standards for a safe workplace as time goes on. That has always been the case with OSHA guidelines. Nothing new.
Limiting liability for American (or Tennessee) employers does not protect workers who have been exposed to this virus at work, indeed became ill, at home or hospitalized on a ventilator, etc. Legislation that denies legal recourse for workers who worked without standards in place or standards that weren’t followed or standards
that required change and weren’t changed, is unthinkable!
Going forward, these workers have no idea the long term effects of this disease, how it will affect their return to work, their financial futures and the like. OSHA guidelines are to be written on behalf of workers, not corporations or businesses. If workers were protected to the fullness of known standards at the time, that sets
the benchmark and protects employers. If the known standards at the time of infection were not identified and followed,workers have a right to legal action. Think medical workers without adequate PPE throughout this pandemic (there were many options not taken to provide the numbers and quickly) meatpackers, grocery workers who were (and still are) exposed by unmasked customers who feel free to exercise their “rights,” restaurant workers and on and on. Masks and the like should not require a belated Mayor’s mandate; they should be part of the safety requirement required by OSHA. Enforcement would be at the behest of the employer as I have heard has been done well, since the beginning, by Costco, Whole Foods, Fresh Market. Hospitals protected workers as well as patients with a no visitors policy…from the beginning.
Allowing for no liability at the employer level will ask for lowered standards, if any, allowing workers to return to the workplace when they should be quarantined or home recovering. It is an invitation to the spread of the virus because of lack of accountability.
I have been meaning to write about this for some time and fully realize few will read or agree, or perhaps care. These decisions will affect many, many people down the line. People who likely worked so we might have resources, food and health care at their expense. It may be your husband or wife, your son or daughter, etc.
Call your lawmakers, make your voice heard. If you don’t know your representatives’ numbers, just google!