Make Your Dot

By appreciating her simple center-of-the-page dot, Vashti's teacher opened her student's eyes to see that even those who believe that talent eludes them can create art.  We learn alongside her as we read Peter Reynold's book, The Dot.  What began as a fictional tale in a book has grown into a worldwide movement.  In fact, inspired by the tale of Vashti and her dot, people around the globe will celebrate International Dot Day on September 15 or, according to the official website - "September 15th-ish."  The founders of Dot Day encourage participants to "celebrate creativity, courage and collaboration."

I encourage you to read a copy of The Dot and, therefore, I will avoid giving away too many details that Reynolds artfully includes.  I will, however, share a bit.

Vashti doubts herself.  "I can't draw," she protests more out of self-doubt than obstinance.  However, as stated before, Vashti learns to believe in herself due, in great part, to the efforts of her teacher. 
We relate to Vashti - don't we?
  • Those who draw - don't think they draw as well as someone else.
  • Those who sing - doubt that their voice is important enough to be heard.
  • Those who are told they're beautiful - doubt their beauty when they compare themselves with another.
We underestimate the value of our dots.

In my passion for the Ordinary Life, I urge you to see your worth and the value of your dot.

  • Take pride in your "B" for which you studied diligently.
  • Draw for the sake of drawing - no matter how many (or how few) people see it.
  • Love your kids when they succeed and when they fail.
  • Strum your six-string even if you never stand on a stage.
After you finish reading this sentence, go make your dot and celebrate it on September 15th-ish and beyond.


Christians Like Cheese

Christians like Cheese.  I should have typed the word "are" between Christians and Cheese.  Let me explain.

There is a day in June which provides the Green Bay Packers and other residents of Wisconsin an opportunity to celebrate.  Somewhere along the way, a keeper of calendar dates declared June 4th National Cheese Day. 

While Americans eat just over half as much cheese per year as the French, 34 pounds per person does sound a bit excessive.  I eat my share of the national average - mainly through the regular consumption of Anchorage's Moose's Tooth pizzas.  (They're amazingly tasty!)  

If you want to begin making plans for a 2020 Cheese Day celebration, the folks at provide this advice . . .
"If you want to celebrate National Cheese Day, then all you have to do is enjoy cheese in one of its many forms.  You can have cheese soup, a cheese sandwich or maybe just some cheese ravioli.  Maybe your idea of a good time is having some cheese on crackers or eating a cheese pizza.  How you celebrate this holiday all depends on your personal preferences." identifies 1829 different types of cheese.  Notice that whether one eats Aged Gouda or Zwister, one eats cheese.  All cheeses from A to Z are types of cheese.

While I am mentioning numbers, I will shift from the topic of cheese to the matter of Christianity.  The keepers of statistics, whomever they may be, identify the total number of Christian denominations at over 33,000.  Notice that whether one attends an Anabaptist church or a church belonging to the West Syriac Rite, one attends a church.

While not all who attend church truly follow Christ, many do.  Therefore Christians of any of the 33,000 denominations, whether living in Afghanistan or Zimbabwe, share the identity of a Christ-follower. 

Just as Cheddar and Brie taste different and are presented in differing ways, Congregational and Baptist churches vary in style and nourish distinct "tastes."  Despite their differences, both of the former are still cheeses and both of the latter are still Christian churches. 

As you gather with friends to enjoy the great variety of cheeses from Aged Gouda to Zwister, perhaps
you will choose to eat a grilled cheese sandwich or spoonfuls of cheese soup. All are cheese.

As you gather at church with other Christians to celebrate Jesus, remember that Christians who meet in a church different than ours, still gather in a church.  All are Christ-followers.


Matter of Minutes

According to historical record, the shortest war in history lasted 38 minutes.  On August 27, 1896, soldiers by land and sea from the United Kingdom and the Zanzibar Sultanate engaged in battle.  The British Navy took the day - or should I say .026 of the day.  

Very few events of significant importance occur in just over half an hour.  However, in our clock-watching culture, life is measured in minutes.  Minutes constitute hours, hours constitute days, days add up to weeks, weeks add up to months, and months combine to make a year.  

Followers of Jesus Christ can benefit from a look at those measures.  We can use the various components as guides for our self-evaluation of how well we live our everyday, Ordinary Lives for Christ.  We can use them, specifically, as markers of progress as we ask introspective questions. 
  • Did I really listen well to my spouse / friend / child over the last few minutes?
  • During the last hour, did I treat others as I would like to be treated?
  • Today, did I spend time praying?
  • Today, have I read my Bible?
  • Did I give my best at work this week?
  • Did I make time for rest this week?
  • Did I serve someone else this week?
  • This month, have I actively engaged in church?
  • Did I stick to healthy living this month?
  • What did I accomplish last year?
  • What have I accomplished so far this year?
  • Have I grown in my relationship with God this year?

These are some of the near-countless helpful introspective questions one may ask.

When you finish reading that last sentence, go use the next 38 minutes well.  (I don't suggest war!)