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Volume 6, Issue 2 | February 2017

heart Hello! I trust you had a Happy Love & Friendship Day AKA Valentine's Day. It is always a day for me to reflect upon the relationships in my life and to send greetings to dear ones. I am grateful to have such folks in my life.

As you probably know, I do not practice nor endorse any organized religion. And, due to my background, I can still be a bit wary to read words of people of the cloth. That said, I recently came upon the blog of Michael K. Marsh - don't ask me how - who is a priest of the Episcopal Church serving in the Diocese of West Texas; he practiced law for fifteen years before going to seminary. He strives to live contemplatively with silence, stillness, and solitude and to base all that he does and is in a life of prayer and study. I appreciated his writing very much and now subscribe to his blog.

A recent topic he blogged about was the choices we make. Many of us label our choices as 'right' or 'wrong'. Yet even when we know a choice was right, it may have left us feeling empty, like something was missing. Despite getting what we wanted, what we chose, our life was not enriched, made full and vibrant the way we thought it would be. Instead it felt diminished and impoverished.

Such experiences tell us there is something more. Michael concludes that there is really only one choice to be made: the choice between life and death. It is both the ultimate choice and the ultimate criteria for making all other choices.

"Is what we choose to think, say, or do life-giving? Does it sustain, nurture, and grow life for ourselves or another? Or does it destroy, diminish, or deny life? Does it leave us bereft of life? Does it impoverish life for ourselves or another?"

We make the choice between life and death in so many ways every day of our lives. We make that choice in the ways we choose to see and look at ourselves and others. It's in our thoughts. It's in the words we speak as well as the things we have done and left undone. So what if we intentionally chose life in every decision we made?

To read the full blog post, visit Interrupting the Silence.

If you'd like to share your thoughts or an experience regarding this, I'd be delighted to hear, so email me.

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Inspiration and Contemplation
From the Tao

Humans are born soft and supple.
Dead they are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant.
Dead they are brittle and dry.
Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding
is a disciple of life.
The hard and stiff will be broken.
The soft and supple will prevail.
Humble and Kind
Speaking of choices and being life affirming, you might enjoy this song recorded by Tim McGraw.

In June of 2016, Tim McGraw earned a No. 1 hit with his single "Humble and Kind." Written by Lori McKenna - who included her version of the song on her 2016 album, "The Bird & the Rifle" - the track and its accompanying heartfelt video not only became a commercial success, but set off an entire #HumbleAndKind movement, promoting humility and goodwill.

McKenna envisioned none of that when she penned the heartfelt tune; rather, she wrote "Humble and Kind" merely as a message to her five children. Read more about the story behind the song.

Listen to the sing below.

"Humble and Kind" 
People Helping People
The New York Times Reports on "Not-Gloomy" News

In a recent early morning briefing email from The New York Times, they offered up in And in other not-gloomy news a Congolese refugee family of five, exempted from new U.S. restrictions, who arrived in New York after an 18-hour flight from Africa, and found their Hudson Valley home stocked with food and their dinner table set - with flowers.

Also in this edition was news about a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing who is marrying the firefighter who rescued her; a nanny who donated part of her liver to save a toddler's life; and the donations that will allow a 110-year-old World War II veteran to stay in his home.

Now wasn't that a lovely way to start the morning?...

May you and I think, say, and do life-giving choices, and stay humble and kind. Doing so I think will fill each of us with joy and contribute to a better, more peaceful world.

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