Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Gratitude for Our Constant Companions

It must be hard to be the youngest.

I realized that last week, when my youngest daughter made the off-hand comment that she had never seen Disney's Beauty and the Beast.  She casually noted this when a commercial came on, advertising that it was being re-released in 3D.

What?  I mean, what a classic movie!  We even have the DVD up in our playroom.  Really, how could I have neglected her so?  My oldest daughter was the only grandchild for a while.  Believe me, if there were a Disney movie out, be in it theatres or on DVD, she not only saw it, but she had the matching Barbie and was wearing the princess' dress.

But not my youngest.  She was the baby in the bjorn on soccer fields, falling asleep as Mom cheered her older sister on.  She was the four-year old staying up past her bedtime as her older brother's baseball game went into extra innings.  She thinks all second graders are whisked away after school and driven from one activity to another -- a few for her, but a lot for older brother and sister.

She's got the sweetest disposition and cheerful nature because of it.  She'll have fun anywhere, because she's always had to look around and make friends with the other siblings, the other little ones.

But still...I felt bad.  Beauty and the Beast reproached me.  Didn't I ever just have time for her?  And so on Friday, we went and saw it.  Just the two of us, with some popcorn and fruit punch.  What a treat to see her enjoying such a glorious movie for the first time on the big screen.  The soundtrack, the animation...Disney at its finest.

I looked over at her in the theatre, her little face rapt, her 3D glasses too big, her mouth crunching popcorn...and my heart swelled up with love for this littlest child. 

It's good to appreciate your constant companion every now and then.

You all probably know, or at least have heard the bible verse about our own constant companion:

Even the hairs on your head have all been counted.  Do not be afraid.  Luke 12:7.

That statement strikes me with incredulous comfort each time I read it.  Does God actually know the number of hairs on my head?  The bible promises he does...but do I ever think about that?  Am I ever grateful enough that God himself would ever know something so trvial about me, someone so trivial?

And yet the words are there.  The words that have resonated throughout history.  The words that have lasted throughout thousands of years remind me, too:

Even the hairs on your head have all been counted.  Do not be afraid.  Luke 12:7.

It's good to consider these words, and like I said, to appreciate our constant companion.

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Little Things, and a Little Way

It was a dark and stormy night (apologies to Snoopy).

It was actually a dark and stormy morning here in North Carolina.  A rainy Wednesday, and no one wanted to get up and make breakfast.  No one wanted to go to school and take tests.  No one wanted to go to meetings at work.

But we had to, and so to make it just a little bit easier, I served hot crescent rolls for breakfast.  This is a big treat for my kids because I don't think they are a particularly healthy way to start off the day, but they sure did cheer the kids up.

Then, as I surveyed my messy house and pile of laundry, I decided to make myself a cup of tea before diving into the housework of the morning.  As the water heated up, I had to choose between my favorite mugs:

"Owl" -- the picture of my new nephew.  Isn't he adorable?

      Or, "Good Morning Beautiful", which my teenage daughter got me for Christmas and because I thought it was very ironic this morning:

Or, my happy little ladybug-garden one my sister got for me:

Now, how can anyone be sad when you use that mug?  Isn't that ladybug adorable?

So, I chose the "Good Morning Beautiful" one because it reminded me of my daughter...but I'll use the other ones later in the day for my decaf!

As I sipped my tea and set about the  tasks I do, it occured to me that just a small thing -- choosing a special mug-- changed my whole mood.  Likewise, a little thing for my kids -- unrolling pastry and cooking crescent rolls-- cheered them up, too.

I reflected on how Little Things count so much.  Like my sister's blog, Jen's Fun Little Things.  She makes beautiful quilts, cooks yummy food and delights in cute bargains.  It just makes her blog -- and her home-- very warm and loving.  I think anyone who visits her -- physically or virtually-- has a respite from their troubles, a soothing friend to chat with.

And I thought of one of my heros, Saint Therese of Lisieux.  She's one of my favorite saints because she seems so approachable.  Although she died when she was only 24, she wrote an autobiography called The Story of A Soul.  In it, she describes her humble "little way" in which small, kindly  gestures demonstrate God's love in the world.  And I think this resonates for me everyday.  Odds are, I am not going to don shining armour and lead the French army.  Odds are, I am not going to spread my faith throughout foreign lands.  But if I can do a little thing everyday -- let someone cut me in traffic with a smile, hug my kids, volunteer for just one more thing, and say a prayer of gratitude each night...well, maybe that's enough for little me.

May today there be peace within.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be content knowing you are a child of God.

Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.
St. Thérèse de Lisieux

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Quiet Twinkle, but A Star Nonetheless

You do know what would have happened if it had been three wise WOMEN instead of three wise men, don't you?

They would have asked for directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, and brought practical gifts.

So funny!  And a good way to remember that yesterday was "Little Christmas" or the Epiphany, where we traditionally celebrate the Wise Men appearing before the Christ Child and bringing gifts.  

Don't you wish you had a star to guide you daily like the Magi?  I know that as I run around trying to grocery shop, clean, and run errands, drive carpool and cook healthy,  satisfying meals, it seems as though my life is pretty much filled up.  Trying to squeeze in a contemplative moment or two constantly takes a seat on the back burner.  Is there really "no room at my inn"? 

And I look at people like the Magi, who seem so certain in their task, so steadfast in their committment to follow the star.  And I feel so small compared to them.

But then God throws me a little twinkling that I can't ignore.  A friend shared with me a prayer by Thomas Merton that I think everyday people in this busy, hectic world can relate to.  And after I read it, I thought, maybe just the discomfort in knowing that I could be doing more is actually okay.  Maybe that's what will keep nudging me, poking at me, guiding me ever so slowly, but ever so surely towards the Christ Child, too. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Welcome!  I'm so glad you have found my little blog.  It's called My Soul Counts because I think each person should have a quiet, comforting place they can turn to and refresh their soul.  Even just knowing that each person has a soul and that it needs to be nutured is a big step, so I'm happy you're here. 

What do I mean by nuturing your soul?  Well, I simply mean that you should take the time to think about why you are here and how you can grow spiritually...and to then return to your tasks, to your duties, to your obligations with a greater sense of peace and serenity.  Relax, reflect, and refresh.

It's so important to tend to your soul!  It's the only one you have!   As C.S. Lewis noted "What can you ever really know of other people's souls - of their temptations, their opportunities, their struggles? One soul in the whole creation you do know: and it is the only one whose fate is placed in your hands.” 

Take care of that one soul you do know... your own.  Take a few minutes to pop on over here and I hope to give you a little something to think about, a small glimpse of tranquility in a frantic world, and maybe even a handy household hint or two...because I live in the real world, just like you!

Martha and Mary Moments
I think we all know about Martha and Mary in the bible.  In a nutshell, Jesus was over the sisters' house for dinner and Martha was busy cooking and cleaning while Mary listened at Jesus' feet as he preached.  When Martha complained to Jesus, he sympathized but said that maybe she was fussing too much about dinner and that she should probably listen, too. 

I know sometimes I feel just like Martha!  And the reality is, my kids and husband need to eat, and need to have clean laundry, and a clean house and...the list goes on and on.  So I try to have shortcuts on my "Martha List" so I have time to tend to my "Mary List" -- such as reading a book, attending a bible study, working in the garden.  Things on my Martha List help me make a nice home with a minimal amount of fussing...things on my Mary List help me nourish my soul.  So here's my quick list for today:

The Martha In Me
Make your home cozy in no time at a tart warmer.  Have you seen these?  You can get them online or even Walmart sells them now.  They're under $20. Simple plug it in, and place a tart in the top bowl.  A tart is basically just scented wax.  As it melts, the fragrance is released and it is wonderful. You can buy these online, or again, Walmart sells them -- I love the Better Homes and Garden one at Walmart called "Line Dried Linen."  So clean and fresh!  You will not believe how nice your house will smell and no smoke from candles!

I also love, love, love the site "Candles from the Keeping Room"  (  My sisters told me about Carol's website and her tarts are just divine.  They smell lovely, her customer service is excellent and the price is very reasonable.

So do yourself a favor, check out a tart burner, and soon you will be plugging it in everyday like I do, happily smelling a new scent each morning -- it clears my mind and gives each day a new beginning.

The Mary in Me
So, new beginnings...and a new year!  Perfect segway! So, on a news show on January 1st, I saw a special for the New Year with three experts designed to give you a fresh start to the year.  The three experts were a Financier, a Nutritionist, and a Psychiatrist.  After I watched them give advice for a while, I realized no one was discussing the most precious, valuable part of a person...the soul.  So I decided to start this blog that stands up and says, "Hey!  People have souls, too and it's important to recognize that fact!" 

So, what can you do this year to nuture your soul?  Something "Do unto others" once a day?  Read a bible for five minutes?  How about introduce Grace at meals?  Let me know...I'd love to hear from you!