730. What to think about today

Fall Sky.jpg

This past Sunday our minister's sermon was on this text from Philippians, which gives a gentle push to thoughts of a higher order.

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

I needed this reminder and perhaps you do too. These words are a touchstone that serve as not only wise guidance, but permission, yes permission, to at least occasionally turn thoughts away from the evening news, away from fears, away from sorrow, away from grievances, away from social media trivialities, away from [fill in the blank], and toward what is noble and right and pure and lovely and excellent and praiseworthy.

This morning I'm blowing the dust off something I wrote long ago. In Just Think: Nourish Your Mind to Feed Your Soul, I launched from this verse in Philippians to write a bulleted list of reasons to stock one's mind well. Here are some of the bullets in that list:

  • To be catalyzed, expanded, and ignited. Those of use who have battled a blah spirit and lifeless mind on one or more occasions won't find it difficult to draw a link between the state of our spirit and the state of our mind.
  • To stay optimistic and not lose hope or vibrancy. The world is full of wonderful things.
  • To link reason and imagination. To see the chasm between what is and what could be. To see possibility. To see opportunities for greatness.
  • To know the richness, vastness, and beauty of that which has been divinely created.
  • To form a solid foundation from which to launch action
  • To provide sufficient mental content of beauty and joy so that we are less likely to gravitate toward content of despair or fear.
  • To be equipped for creativity.

It's always OK to be a student of what you've already learned long ago and have needed to learn again and again. May your day be one of joy and hope. The world is full of wonderful things.


[Photo: taken this week of fall trees and sky.]

715. a moment of silence

River Birch.jpg

A long time ago I posted a moment of silence on this blog. I think it's time to do it again. Mid-December and there is so much being done, so much yet to do. If you've landed on this post and want to play along, just close your eyes, take a couple deep breaths, and let your mind be still.


You're welcome.


[Photo: taken of our backyard river birch] When you're done being silent, you can read this old post, "Why Silence?"

702. The duty of delight

The duty of delight.jpg

The Spring 2016 issue of Comment magazine has an essay by visual artist Christen Borgman Yates, “Justice, Beauty, and Habits of Waiting.” The essay emerges from a review of a new book: The Justice Calling by Bethany Hanke Hoang and Kristen Deede Johnson.

It was an ink and graphite drawing in the piece that first caught my eye, and the pairing of the drawing with its title that held my eye and my thoughts. This image of a woman, head tilted back and to the side, with a smile broad enough to match the finest piece of good news has the title, “Having Considered the Facts.” Usually facing the facts is a grim sort of task, but here Yates reminds us that there are also facts that delight, and perhaps these are the facts that supersede all others.


You can see the full image of the drawing at Yate’s website at this link (scroll down). I hope you'll click around on her site and enjoy her other work as well. You can also read her full essay/review in Comment at this link. I particularly liked what she wrote about Dorothy Day and her commitment to “the duty of delight”


[Photo: Upper: taken of bee balm on the campus of the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota earlier this summer; lower: taken of page from Yate's Comment essay/review.]