• chocolate bar raspberries

    Seeking To Do Good: Turning Our Deepest Sorrows Into Blessings

    SEEKING TO DO GOOD   In his book, Meaningful Work, Shawn Askinosie details his journey from competent criminal defense attorney to successful chocolatier. Leaving the stress of his law practice behind, he set out to build a successful chocolate company from the ground up using his unique set of visioning tools, tools that can be used by each of us to create a life of meaning and purpose, no matter what work we do. In addition to building a successful company, he and his team at Askinosie Chocolate have been a positive force for good throughout the world. How exactly do they go about blessing the lives of so many? Often, it begins at their work meetings, where they turn…

  • Extending Hospitality

    Extending Hospitality

    Everyone has a story to share, though I didn’t always realize it.   There was a time when I hid in my house behind locked doors, blind to the happenings of others. Why? Out of shame for my own story. Shame for certain things in my life that I preferred to keep hidden. “Yes, remaining hidden would be best,” I thought. Until one day…   One day, a peculiar thought entered my mind. I felt I should invite someone over for dinner. And I knew exactly who. There was a young family at church who had a child the same age as ours. I would invite them. I would somehow build up the courage to invite them into our home.…

  • Neighborhood sunset senses

    My Neighborhood: A Feast For The Senses

    My afternoon walk around the block was a feast for the senses.   After working on my to-do list all morning, I decided to take a quick walk around the neighborhood. The weather was so beautiful, and the neighborhood so still, that I slowed my pace and began noticing the things around me.   Perfectly clear blue skies. The warmth of the sun on my face. The sound of birds chirping. The smell of fall in the air.   Sight. Touch. Sound. Smell.   “What about ‘taste’?” I wondered. One glance at the homes around me provided the answer. Let me explain. I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 17 years. These days, it’s rare to live in a neighborhood for…

  • Words that encourage purple flowers

    Words That Encourage

    “You’re very special!”   Those were the last words I whispered to my daughter as I gave her a squeeze and prepared to send her off to bed. When her body stiffened noticeably and she became quiet, I wondered if perhaps those words had made her feel uncomfortable. Early the next morning, she stood near me and in her soft voice whispered, “Mama? You know last night when you told me I was special?  I liked that. No one has ever told me I am special before.” That was a bittersweet moment for me. On one hand, I was grateful that she felt comfortable enough to share her feelings with me. On the other hand, I felt a certain pain that…

  • The Secret of Hospitality

    The Secret Of Hospitality Is Often Evasive. The planning of an event is always unpredictable, with unexpected twists and turns along the way, but, somehow, through means I don’t fully understand, the event always turns out perfectly. The planning of a recent Fall Potluck proved no different. Case in point. The glass jug of apple cider I was excited to serve during dinner fell and shattered on the sidewalk while being transported from the car to the house, leaving our front yard smelling like apple juice for the rest of the evening;  I completely ruined the homemade ice cream (don’t ask!), although my children, never ones to let food go to waste, insisted on eating it anyway; and the carrots…

  • yellow rose

    An Awkward Interruption

    God interrupted me today.   Sometimes His awkward interruptions make no sense to me. I had just purchased the most beautiful yellow roses to take to a friend. It was to be a surprise. As I walked to my car, with flowers in hand, I found myself thinking about how the great men and women in history let their light shine during the most trying of times. Then I thought of the elderly man who stopped to visit with me earlier in the day as I held the door open for him. I thought of the way he enthusiastically said, “I will!” as he hobbled down the sidewalk with the help of his cane when I said, “Have a nice…