what you do matters…

This is an excerpt from the last newsletter I sent out, back in December. (I’m not current doing newsletters.) The message is one I want to share again – a reminder that what you do matters and makes a difference… more than you know.

So often, in various ways, I’ve talked about how you make a difference, more than you realize, even in simply going about your day and in seemingly small ways.

Smiling at someone. Holding an elevator door long enough for someone to get in without having to wait for the next time. Sending a text to ask how things are going. Responding to a text, to let the other person know you heard, you care, you like being in touch. Giving someone four quarters in exchange for a dollar bill so they can get out of a parking garage.

These are a tiny, tiny fraction of examples – and they’re examples from my own life, small acts of kindness given to me during very stressful times at hospitals and surgery centers these past months.

And I can’t even begin to tell you how much small things like these helped me during those times, and how I’m so very grateful to everyone (many of them people I don’t know and will never see again) who helped in any small (or big) way or showed any small (or big) kindness. (And really, I don’t believe any kindness is too small – I believe all kindness counts, and I believe the world could benefit very much from more kindness.)

These kinds of things matter. What you do, how you go about your day, your acts of kindness, your words, your smile, your prayers, your thoughtfulness – it all matters, it all makes a difference.

And you never know when your small touch of kindness, or one sentence, or one smile, will be the thing that helps someone hold on a little longer, or will ease their fear or struggle even just for a while.

Of course, doing “bigger things” out in the world or with your work can make a difference and matter too. But so often these days, I think we hear so many messages of “going big” or “changing thousands of lives” that we can forget how even our ordinary days, even touching the life of one person, matters… and can matter more than we ever know.

So please remember that what you do, in your ordinary everyday life, does matter – and you create ripples in other lives you often never even know about.

You make a difference.

 

writing Ruth…

Something I’ve always done is write out Bible verses and passages I want to remember and reference. Verses that are helpful, uplifting, comforting. Verses that remind me of God’s love and who Jesus is.

I have pages of those handwritten verses, some of the pages dating back decades, tucked away in Bibles and notebooks.

I’ve got stacks of index cards with a verse on each card. Some are placed around the house or in drawers where I’ll come upon them unexpectedly. Over time, I’ve filled two or three spiral-bound “index card journals” with verses.  Several years ago, I started keeping a large ring of index cards with verses, and I continue to add to it.

Copying verses by hand has been, and will continue to be, important and valuable to me.

But something I’d never done – until this month – is copy out an entire book of the Bible.

This month I wrote out the book of Ruth.

And what a blessing it has been!

Sometime last spring, as I was roaming around youtube looking at videos about Bible journaling, I came across Cat Woods’ channel. This month she’s had a challenge to write out, copy out, the entire book of Ruth.

Ruth isn’t a long book. It has only four chapters.

I figured I could manage four chapters in a month, so I decided to take on the challenge.

I gathered the journal and the Bible I wanted to use. I settled on the NLT, the New Living Translation, for my writing.

And I decided to use a purple pen… just because I love purple pens.

(The fact that the purple ink went along with the color theme of my journal was a happy plus.)

I chose to use a separate journal for writing down study notes, name meanings and word definitions, map notations, and various things like that.

At the beginning of this month I got started. I didn’t follow a plan of writing certain verses or a set number of verses each day. I wrote as much as I felt guided to write each time (and also going by how my eyes were doing, since that’s something I have to be mindful of).

I finished a few days ago.

The whole experience has blessed my life.

Writing out an entire book has helped me see the whole context, and receive the message of the book, in a deeper and richer way than ever before.

Over the decades, I’ve heard sermons and Sunday School lessons about Ruth, I’ve done Bible studies about this book of the Bible, and I already knew so much about the story of Ruth and Naomi and Boaz.

But this experience has taken the messages and meanings of this book to a whole new level for me.

Something about writing out all of Ruth has made it sink in more.

I’ll still be copying down individual verses and passages – that’s not going to stop.

I’m adding something else too, though – writing out entire books of the Bible… letting the Word flow into me in an even deeper way as the ink flows out of my pen, verse by verse and chapter by chapter, from the beginning of a book until the end.

I haven’t decided yet which book is next.

But I have the whole Bible to choose from.

 

spaces…

As I continually try to go through my days with more grace and ease, I’m reminded of how spaces can be important.

A space doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to cost anything.

For me, it simply needs to feel right for that moment.

My somewhat new morning routine now includes front-porch-sittin’ time.  Although we’ve lived in our house for ages, until two or three months ago I’d never spent much time on the front porch.

It’s small. It’s narrow. It feels so…exposed (for someone who is highly sensitive, extremely introverted, and socially anxious).

But suddenly I felt guided to spend time out there, enjoy some fresh air, before the day became too hot. So I went outside and sat on the front porch one morning. And then the next. And the next…

And now it’s become a routine I treasure.

My husband has weekends off from work, so the two of us sit out there together, on our old park bench, on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

On weekdays, I head there alone with an ancient, small, battery-operated radio.

I listen to soft jazz. I talk to Jesus. I look at the sky. I breathe the fresh air.

It’s a gentle, ease-full, slow movement into the day.

Another space I’ve come to appreciate more this year is the availability of tables at the public library where I can go to get some writing done away from home.

For the first time ever, I ran into a period this past winter and spring where my writing seemed to flow more easily when I was away from my desk – and not only away from my desk, but away from any room of the house.

Fortunately, the public library held the key to unlock my writing flow.

My space at the library offers a different view, different routine, and different feel than my familiar surroundings of home.

The writing is once again flowing when I’m at home  (and I’m so grateful!) but I’ve decided to continue scheduling days when I pack up my writing gear and head to the library to work.

A change of space, a change of pace, a change of view…

Finding the right space for that moment.

It can be a little thing. But it can be powerful.