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September 1, 2020

Gail Oliver Cambridge | September 1, 2020

Engage your senses, don’t be on autopilot!

The other day I was feeling down in the dumps…I hope a few of you remember this slang! Thoughts filtered through my mind as I wondered what brought on the gloomy feeling—the pandemic, lost lives, violent unrests? Then a memory of baking bread flashed across my mind. Immediately, the image and the recollection of the aroma of freshly baked bread cheered me up. I first tried baking bread a few months ago and the outcome was great. Even now as I remember taking out the freshly baked bread from the oven, cutting a thick slice, slathering on butter that soon melted, and then adding cheese, ham, etc., oh how my mouth is watering for it! 

A study found that the aroma of freshly baked bread made people kinder to each other. The sense of smell, who knew? Our senses are on autopilot in various ways as we go through our day, so we don’t ever stop to think about how we engage them. This led me to thinking of the diff...

August 1, 2020

Who Are Your Friends? In thinking about this question, I am sure your mind invoked images of your besties and others who are in your inner circle. So, what type of people are they? Are their cultural backgrounds similar to yours; are they from another country; do they have the same religious beliefs as you; do they belong to the same political party or club; are they in the same line of work as you, or do they play the same sports? It’s natural to be friends with people who reflect our similar ideals. However, it is much better if our friends are different types of people as we would get the benefit of a broad range of perspectives and share in the flavor of their lives—so let’s cast our nets wide.

Forming relationships with others unlike ourselves is one solution to the racial divide. Some of you may be hesitant in getting close to your co-worker because s/he is not of the same race or background. Others would straight out admit that they do not want to know anything about anyone…just...

What are you doing in your spare time?

Before the coronavirus lockdown, I am sure there were many of you who wished for a four-day work week or that you could work from home. Well, your wishes have come true as most of you are working remotely! This period has provided extra time for you—although you are technically working. So, how is that going for you? What are you doing in your spare time?

“Necessity is the mother of invention,” according to Plato, and we are certainly seeing this play out. Some people have become experts at innovation as they used the spare time to experiment and bring their ideas and dreams into reality. I have seen many people baking, gardening, sewing, completing home projects, and doing things that they have never done before. However, others are not in this zone. If the lockdown

has left you drained and off-kilter, here are a few tips for you:

  • Vent for 10 minutes about what’s not going right in your life.

  • Have a drink to take the edge off.

  • Eat a hea...

Let Us Pray

Dear Heavenly Father,

We come before You today acknowledging You as the Almighty One and seeking Your guidance in all things. We pray that You open our minds and hearts to Your wisdom and the understanding of Your word. Father, there’s a storm in our land and we need Your healing. Many of us have had our hearts broken and we are in despair because we have once again witness injustice. Black men and women are killed for no valid reason, and people of all color are tired of this callous treatment. Lord, we are crying out to You. Help us to lean on our faith and stand up for what is right. You have stated in Your word that You will never leave us nor forsake us; You are our helper and we will not be afraid. Let our voices be heard as we come together as one in this protest. We pray for Your love to surround us while we demonstrate, and Your shield of protection to keep us from the dangers of violence and the virus as we march in unity.

Lord, we pray for a change in the attitudes...

Let’s show our best selves!

You may remember the hit song by The O’Jays, We're All in This Thing Together. With all that’s going on presently, this is truer than ever before. I have often written about how connected we all are. However, unless we are directly impacted by an event, we sometimes fail to see the connection. In my blog, Fall is Here, I gave examples of the way we sometimes go through life blissfully unaware of tragic events around the world, but in a twinkling of an eye all that can change when something hits home…and it certainly has with COVID-19.

There are many lessons to be learned from this season of our lives—good and bad. Emotions of anger, anxiety, fear, frustration, resentment, sorrow, and stress are unleashed. In my household, voices are raised in argument. What, I wonder, is triggering such a loud response in me? I believe, in part, that although I am wrapped in my security bubble, the link to others is undeniable. Seeing the despair and inequity this virus has ca...

April 1, 2020

COPING IN UNCERTAIN TIMES

I greet you with this prayer by the Apostle John: Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. (3 John 2 MSG)

In these uncertain times, we see different sides of people. There are none more worthy than those on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic who have to confront it each day, such as the doctors, nurses, technicians, cleaners, EMTs, fire fighters, police officers, grocery store workers, truck drivers, delivery people, volunteers, etc. To make their lives as easy as possible, it behooves the rest of us to do our part by obeying the instructions from the officials—primarily, to stay at home. For people at home, the Internet and News outlets offer lots of information on ways to cope and to help others. I have seen innovative ideas, funny things to do, and many heart-warming stories of people coming to the aid of others in different ways.

However, there are some people who are fe...

February 1, 2020

Stop and think before you act!

I must admit that I don’t always have a loving disposition towards people I dislike,

nor do I act right when situations are not aligned with how I want them to be. However,

as a Christian, I am called to a higher standard. For most of us, there will be times when people or circumstances push us close to the edge and when that happens, we must be careful of the way we respond. Consider the two scenarios below and think about your reaction:

1.  At work, the boss gave the promotion you worked hard for, and pinned your hopes on getting, to someone less qualified. Then he assigned you to work with the person on a project. She’s loud and arrogant, and the two of you didn’t get along even before the promotion. Additionally, your work styles were different. She loved being the center of attention, monopolizing the meetings with graphs and charts, while you prefer getting down to the fundamentals of doing the job. 

2.  At home, you have a certain way you do things...

November 1, 2019

YES OR NO? 

I mentioned in a recent blog that you should say “no” to the things you don’t want to do. While I still hold that to be true, especially in cases where someone is pressuring you, I do believe that you should be aware of your motives before saying “no.” You may be unavailable or have other genuine reasons in denying the request. However, I hope the reason isn’t that you are afraid to get out of your cocoon. Yes, I know it feels good being in your comfort zone, going along your merry way with your regular schedule. Nevertheless, there are times when you should take a chance and do something different. It may be unfamiliar but can offer the opportunity for growth and the experience of something new.

Someone recently asked me to do something I wasn’t comfortable doing. However, the “ask” was so persuasive and powerful that I immediately said “yes.” When it dawned on me all that it entailed, I groaned and fretted to the point of pulling out...but knew I couldn’t do that. The resul...

September 5, 2019

Anticipate Better Days

I write these blogs, aka love notes, to share what I believe to be a good way of being in right relationships and developing into our best selves from a Christian perspective. I talk about personal stuff and the experiences of others, sharing funny stories and quotes—all with a slant to inspire positive change. Do I have all the answers? Certainly not…I am with the Apostle Paul when he declared in Philippians 3:13-14, “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”

What I do know is that life can be short and we should be living joyfully, doing the things we love and being comfortable saying “no” to the things we don’t want to do. Now, when things ar...

Turn it around! 

We all have been disappointed at some point in our lives, so know the bitter taste it can leave in our mouths. Disappointment always comes at the wrong time and hits like a whammy! It can be in the form of someone letting us down by saying or doing something hurtful and out of character, or from a lost opportunity or failed expectation.

When things don’t work out for me, my first reaction is disbelief—say this is not happening! Then comes sadness, followed by that well-known, one-word question, why? Depending on what it is, the disappointed feeling may last from a few minutes, with a “oh well” shrug, to days as I recall the issue…aargh, lots of SMH! The latter occasions called for much prayer as I go through the futility of the countless “what if” reasons.

It doesn’t bode well to allow the sinking feeling of disappointment to percolate as it can turn into depression or anger. Although for some people it has to sit for a while before being purged, the key is to let it go s...

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