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Gentle Virtues


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11/01/2012 - This year I used an absentee ballot to vote. (We are in Denver for my husband's bone marrow transplant.) I thought voting would be an easy process but it was not. It required a black ballpoint pen.

Being a gel pen lover, I haven't had a ballpoint pen for years. My hubby hasn't either. I buy his pen - gel-tipped ones. Determined to fill out the ballot the right way, my hubby scours our temporary, furnished apartment looking for ballpoint pens. He finds two. They're blue.

The following day my kids and I shop at an unfamiliar grocery store teeming with people, including the Mad Hatter, Alice in Wonderland and a patch-eyed pirate. We load our cart with items on our list - including a pair of black ballpoint pens.

Feeling a sense of accomplishment, we head toward our vehicle with a loaded-down cart. That is, until our cart locks up. The kids and I rock it every which way, nearly making scrambled eggs in the parking lot. Two locals with knowing looks come by. They explain that the grocery carts lock up if they go outside the bounds of the parking lot. We just happened to get a near-sighted cart.

Determined to get the groceries - especially the black ballpoint pens - to the vehicle, we load up our items into another cart. It's smaller but cooperative. Sighing relief, we load up and head to a nearby post office.

So we can avoid parking meters and parking garages, we park in a nearby neighborhood. Before we lock up, my hubby cleverly remembers the black ballpoint pens. We search bag after bag after repeated bag until I find them wedged between the frozen peas and carrots.

Then one of us announces he needs to visit a restroom. We go to the library. It's closed. We go to a coffee shop. Their bathroom requires a number code we do not know. Passing statues, fountains, spices, cupcakes, purple unicorns and bling, we come upon a user-friendly restroom and finally a post office - our voting booth.

Oh Honey, sometimes we need to be determined or we will end up being defeated. We must have determination.

The word determination comes from the Latin root word "terminus". It means "a boundary or limit". Just as that grocery cart had a set boundary, our problems and tasks should too.

When I was newly married, my hubby taught me that my problems at work needed to stay at work. While it was hard to adhere to these boundaries, it was necessary if we were going to have relaxing evenings at home.

I am teaching my kiddos to have determination with their studies, laundry, dishes and resolving conflict. All these things need a successful finish. It not only helps them have discipline and helps our home have peace and order, it helps them to be determined and successful.

For the past four and a half years, we have been contending with leukemia. It has been aggressive and more challenging than mailing out an absentee ballot. But, with God's help and Randy's brother's perfectly-matched stem cells, we are determined to terminate cancer.

Friend, whatever you are facing, big or small, be determined to overcome it. That is how we experience joy inspite of adversity. That is how we shift from surviving to thriving. Take every problem, every challenge, every task to its place of termination. Limit it until it is eliminated. Be as determined as that shopping cart.

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