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The gift of tiny miracles

While a young mother waits at a post-office-counter, her four-year-old daughter occupies herself with the opportunity for self-entertainment, exploring the lobby, looking, prattling, not an item left untouched.
The girl finds a penny on the floor. “Look momma,” she says proudly, “a penny!”
Her mother, busy with a clerk at the window, mumbles an acknowledgment.  Others in line smile, while some shake their head and cogitate about the regrettable decline in discipline. The girl walks to the other side of the lobby and places the penny back onto the floor. Feigning surprise, she says, “Look mamma, I found another penny!”
Delighted, she keeps at her enterprise, placing the penny in a different location, until she has found five pennies, each one of them “brand new”.
“We must risk delight.” Poet Jack Gilbert reminds us. “We can do without pleasure, but not delight.”
Yes, the story is infectious in its charm.  But then… my “consumer mentality” kicks in. And I want to know the answer to the “How” question. You know, “how do we live that way?” After all, it must be a matter of technique. So. What are the steps?  And what is the secret?
Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760 and founder of the Chassidic movement) was asked: “Why is it that Chassidim burst into song and dance at the slightest provocation? Is this the behavior of a healthy, sane individual?”
The Baal Shem Tov responded with a story: Once, a musician came to town—a musician of great but unknown talent. He stood on a street corner and began to play. Those who stopped to listen could not tear themselves away, and soon a large crowd stood enthralled by the glorious music whose equal they had never heard. Before long they were moving to its rhythm, and the entire street was transformed into a dancing mass of humanity.
A deaf man walking by wondered: Has the world gone mad? Why are the townspeople jumping up and down, waving their arms and turning in circles in middle of the street?
“Chassidim,” concluded the Baal Shem Tov, “are moved by the melody that issues forth from every creature in God’s creation. If this makes them appear mad to those with less sensitive ears, should they therefore cease to dance?”
Here’s the deal: They dance because they have tapped (embraced)—in the words of George Fowler—the “unmined gold” that is inside.
Yes, the infectious dance that says, “Look mamma, I found another penny!”

Okay. It’s always tempting to give steps, but it can feel like an assignment, so, let’s go with invitations.
Invitation number One: Sometime today, take delight. It sounds so simple. And yet, we find any number of ways to rob delight of its essential joy.
I love that my morning walk allows me the gift to pause, and savor the exquisite beauty and wonder in the diminutive. This morning, dew drops on the red berries of a deciduous huckleberry growing out of a century old tree stump. A tree frog, making me smile big. And a handful of blackberries off the vine. Another penny indeed.
Jennifer Gayle’s reminder, “When you look at life through eyes of gratitude, the world becomes a magical and amazing place.”
And I love to cook. The tastes, scents, a glass of wine, with music and conversation, the camaraderie. (But taking delight isn’t a given. Recently, I saw an advertisement for the magic bullet, which promises to make the fastest omelet ever, in 10 seconds or less. So now, cooking has changed, from a delight, to a race. And this is beneficial… why?)
“In Hebrew the opposite of holy is chol, which is translated not as ‘profane’ but as ’empty’; in other words, ‘not yet filled.'” writes Irwin Kula. “The word for holy in Hebrew is kedusha. A more accurate translation of kedusha is ‘life intensity.’  To be holy is to be intensely dynamic, ever-changing, and ever-realizing. The Biblical command ‘You Shall Be Holy’ is an invitation to celebrate what philosopher Mark Taylor calls ‘a maze of grace that is the world.’ Live as richly and passionately as possible; that’s as close to meaning as you will get.”
And Invitation number Two: Share your delight (your discovered penny) with someone else.
The freedom to stop, and say, to anyone around, “Wow. Did you see that?”
True, to experience delight is a risk. And to share it with someone is also a risk. But when we do so, we are affirming that there is indeed another way. In this life, we can risk loving. We can risk living less than tidy lives. We can risk asking for less than perfection from others (and ourselves).
In a glance. In a word. In a touch. Yes, in a gesture, there is healing and kindness and hope… and the permission to dance is offered. We cannot change the pain in our lives or the lives of others. However, we can (and must) accompany each other, and along the way, look for pennies.

Our skies here have a wee bit of haze from the fires in the eastern part of Washington state, so we’re being cautious, but I still appreciate the cool evening out on the deck and drinking in the solitude, and smiling big looking down at the vibrancy from the outrageous new clump of sunburst Black-eyed Susan yellow in the garden. “Look,” I say to the sky, “I found another penny!”
And today, Spain reached the Soccer pinnacle beating England 1-0 to win the Women’s World Cup for the first time. A treat to watch.
And over the weekend, Rosalynn Carter celebrated her 96th birthday by eating peanut-butter ice cream with her husband of 77 years, former President Jimmy Carter. Despite serious health problems (Jimmy entered hospice six months ago and Rosalynn has dementia), they still spend most days sitting beside each other in the living room of the bungalow they built in 1961 in Plains, Ga. Jimmy Carter is often out of bed first, waiting in his recliner for his wife to emerge. “Rosalynn comes in the room and makes a beeline for this chair and bends over and kisses him,” said Jill Stuckey, a close friend. They spend many hours sitting side by side. (Thank you WA Post)
And to our friends in Southern California and the Baja of Mexico, we watch the path of the tropical storm and pray for safety.

Quote for our week…
Life is a series of tiny little miracles. Savor them. 


Today’s Photo Credit: “Terry, Grazie (re: The Gift of Enough). Menuha last week at Reflection Lakes, Mt. Rainier (WA),” Timothy Mullner… (Menuha is the Hebrew word for rest, but can also be translated as joyous repose, tranquility, or delight.) Thank you Timothy… And thank you to all, I love your photos… please keep sending them… send to 

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Letters that do my heart good…
–Terry, Thank you for sharing the story of the boy who exclaimed “Wow” at the Mozart concert. It’s been a tough a week of assisting a young family member with addiction issues and an elderly mother-in-law with health issues. I pulled up that recording and it was like a ray of sunshine. I played it for my wife as well. Wow! Grace and peace…
–Thank you, Terry. Yes, I got Wednesdays SM. You have a wonderful ministry to so many for so many years now. Blessings of peace and joy to you. Gratefully, Rita
–Terry, in today’s Sabbath Moment, you wrote “I want to be at home in my own skin with this gift of enough.”  Today’s devotion in “Walking in Grace 2023” dealt with  when is enough enough, using Psalm 90:12 (NASB) scripture. Lynne and her husband were watching a squirrel grabbing peanuts from their bird feeder and whisking away to store it somewhere for winter. These two really spoke to me this morning! I’ll be 90 a week from today and have way, way more than enough… with my husband of 67 years now in assisted living, I’ve spent the past year getting rid of too much stuff here in our home. Thank you for reminding me that God has blessed me every day with the gift of enough! Mary
–Hi Terry. I finally got around to reading your weekly article. I think it’s the best I have read. Robert
–Good morning Terry! WOW is exactly how I feel each morning when I read Sabbath Moment. So thank you for bringing that WOW to us each day. Blessings Mary Anne


Hineini (Hebrew — “Here I Am”)
On this day may I be present
to the Miracle of being alive.
May I reach out to those who are suffering
and may I use my voice as a force for good.
May I have the courage to do what is right, not what is easy.
May I have the strength to shine a light in the darkness.
May I not distance myself from myself.
Joanne Fink

Loving God,
I sense that all is your creation
and everything, and all of us,
are being drawn back toward your loving heart.
Help me to be a person of peace,
To speak about it in an uneasy world,
And to live it among the people
you have put into my life every day.
Light in me a desire to prepare for your coming
to stand in the darkness, waiting, eager and filled with joy.
(Thank you

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