My Selfishness as it Relates to Hamburgers

It all happened when I was mid-burger, 2 minutes in and 3 minutes left on the clock to consume the 67% remainder of the tomato-lettuce-cheese-pickle-beef creation in my hands.

I sat there with the tomato-y mayo dribbling down my hands and thought,

“How selfish I am! Here I am, scarfing down a 1/4 lb burger at the speediest (and messiest) rate known to mankind, and I’m hardly even tasting it!

How often do I eat a burger? Rarely.

How often do I eat a burger with the PERFECT ratio of pickles to tomatoes? Even less often.


And I’m just here gobbling it down like my dog would do, and worrying that I’ll choke it my haste!

Now, IF I, as a Christian, am the bride of Christ… and IF all good things in life come from Him, it would make sense that He gave me this burger.”

So I put myself in Jesus shoes (well, I tried at least) and suddenly I felt so small and ashamed.

Here was Jesus, creating a masterpiece of a burger just for me, and watching me to see if I liked it.

And there was me, chowing down in a terrible rush and not even tasting what I was eating, much less thanking the Lord for all the work He put into it, and for choosing to give it to me.


I have a ways to go towards living in the heavenly kingdom, especially when I’m late for my second job of the day.

But I have decided that this earth’s–and, sad to say, especially North-East America’s– style of enjoying food is not for me. I’m going to live out of the peace of the kingdom I was created for, and take time to taste my food no matter how late I am.

And thank the Giver.

So if you want to join me, come on over! We can have some coffee, and take an entire half-hour out of our day to drink it while it’s still hot.

And to soak in the warmth of thankfulness.

Because we are so very cared for, and so very BLESSED!

The 8 Easiest (& Cheapest) Christmas Presents Ever

One of the things I’ve learned about Christmas giving is that Christmas is about loving, not making sure the retail value of the presents you give match the retail value of the ones you receive. Come on, that’s just craziness!

Here are some of my favorite simple Christmas presents.



Adults usually have the means to buy more or less whatever they want, but sometimes love isn’t so easy to come by.

The very simplest present you can give is to write a honest blessing to someone. Make a list of what you appreciate about them! Tell them you love them! If it’s someone you don’t know (or…. quite honestly, cannot stand….) write a blessing for them from scripture. An honest word endures forever.


If you have kids, have them draw pictures for their grandparents, aunts and uncles, or family friends. To take things up a notch, mount their painting behind a frame (yes, those dusty old frames from the attic can be painted, stained and/or sparkled and re-used). Or, attach their tiny masterpieces to a magnet!

If your kids are too young to actually draw something, go modern-artsy with paint! Grab an old canvas (re-paint it a solid color) and let them smear and sprinkle to their heart’s content.


Got lots of broken crayons? Google melted crayon art for fun ideas of how to use them up!

crayon art

Or mount a piece of your child’s origami….


Guys like food. Girls do too. You really cant go wrong! And even though we all know they could afford to make or buy their own, admit it…. everyone gets tired of the same old same old. AND you are saving them grocery store/cooking time!

For families: homemade bread.

Kids: cereal bars (mix their favorite cereal with melted marshmallows, form into bars, let cool, decorate and package festively.)

Health nuts: Make your own trail mix and package it in pretty single-serve bags.

Athletes: Cliff bars, fruit leather or fruit.

Office friends: Chocolate covered pretzels (white chocolate w/ crushed candy canes  sprinkled on top, milk chocolate with peanut-butter chip drizzle, dark chocolate w/ craisins…. the flavor combos are endless.)



We don’t want to think about it now but…. (winter is gonna get dreary and depressing at some point.) Who can help but smile at the sight of a little cactus on the windowsill?

You can score tiny plants for less than $5.00 at most greenhouses.

Tip: Read the tags. Plants that tolerate dry soil and low light, and succulent plants like aloe or burro’s tail will survive the caretaking attempts of those less-green-thumbed among us the best.


My nieces are very young, but when they receive a coupon for an adventure with their aunt, they are thrilled! I think that’s because memories are timeless gifts.

So go ahead, think it through, then write out that Adventure Coupon. Plan a slumber party with the grand-kids, teach your co-worker to snowboard, sign your sister up to join a cooking club, take your uncle to see that museum he always talks about or help your friend overcome their fear of water.


TIP: to be sure it actually happens, set a date!


While we’re on the subject of coupons, why not write one out for a night of babysitting, or to fix your neighbor’s gutter, or to help your grandfather split that humongous pile of firewood he’s always working at? Trust me, they will most definitely cash it in!


If you’re at the bottom of your piggy bank, and still want to surprise someone with an extraordinary gift, why not re-make a thrift store find, or something you already own?

For gals: If you can sew it into a scarf or dip it in chalkboard paint, it’s sure to be a success. Also, anything of organizational use.

For guys: Four words: Wood, metal & window panes. If it has at least one of those ingredients, you can paint, stain, weather, sand or re-arrange it into contemporary trendiness.

You can also find some amazing furniture steals online and through local thrift shops if you know what to look for! My favorite haunt is our local Re-Store, a partner with Habitat for Humanity.


Even if you only have 10 minutes, one of the very best gifts you can give is your time! Drop a latte off at your friend’s workplace, actually schedule that Skype call, and make the trip to your great-aunt’s house that you’ve been promising her all year. You won’t regret it!


You’ll NEVER regret giving the gift of love.



a word called GRACE

Driving through the city on that dismal spring day, I could feel my soul slumping like a wilted cabbage leaf.

And I didn’t like it.

A silver car bolted out in front of me in one erratic move, and I grumbled a few choice words under my breath as I slammed on the brakes.Which made my sadness even deeper.

I thought I’d left that kind of talk in my past.

The silver car putzed along ten miles below the speed limit, then, in a burst of sudden energy, repeatedly switched lanes without warning. I was very glad to be behind it.

Stopping at a red light, I rolled down my window and breathed a great lungful of the crisp air, too weary to sort out my troubled thoughts.

That’s when I saw her.

The same lady in that same silver car. She was waiting at the red light right beside me. Rolling down her window, she turned towards me, and the instant our eyes met my mind did a rapid double take. She was a senior-aged woman, dressed in the style of the upper middle-class, her makeup flawless. Only the puffy skin under her eyes and the watery reflection of pain within them gave away a reason for the desperation in her gaze. She had a crumpled piece of paper spread carefully across the steering wheel.

“Excuse me, am I on the right track to get to the L— General Hospital?” she asked, in a voice as fragile as windswept dandelion fluff.

“Yes you are, Ma’am. It is three blocks ahead on the left.”

“Oh… thank you.” the low voice replied, her tone implying total amazement to be on the right path.

“Are you sure you are ok?” I had visions of her collapsing in the driver’s seat.

“Y…es.” She glanced down at the paper. “Thank you so much.”

She soon turned onto the emergency lane, and I was left envisioning an injured grandchild, or a dying spouse. I could imagine the scene all too clearly. I know what it is like to be the person with only a message to hold onto, just waiting and thinking about all of the horrible possibilities and trying not to cry.

You know what? A very strange thing happened as I drove along. My spirit suddenly felt lighter, free.

And it was shocking when I realized why.

The woman knew how to receive grace. And she had allowed me to give it.

Yes, it may have been only the smallest possible interaction, hardly anything really. But do you know what the starting factor to receiving grace is?


We can feel so far from so close.

So, here is an invitation from me to you. Today, ask for grace.

From me. Because I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that you deserve to be cared about.

From a stranger. Because by humbling yourself enough to allow him to bless you, you will heap piles of blessing on his head in return.

From God. Because His grace is free, postmarked by heaven and designed expressly for the one-of-a-kind-masterpiece of the Father–YOU!

Because I know that the peace you will receive in return will blow your mind.