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January 27, 2007
Such a good time of year to straighten one's office, the garden being its annual state of suspended animation for these winter months. To be appalled, once again, at what has accumulated in the corners, at the unrealistic expectations that cause me to hang onto things I clearly will never use again. To admit that there are some books I simply will not read and many books I certainly will not re-read, and to give them away.

But there is no time to stand appalled. There is work to be done. The straightening brings with it a brisk feeling of personal power, a reawakening of a commitment to beauty upon which it is wise to insist, at least for me. It's not that messiness is immoral or anything. Cleanliness isn't really next to godliness. I am just happier when things are pretty.

Deacon J is taking over my travel arrangements and a lot of the office stuff because I've gotten so absent-minded. This should end the need for the people I visit to tell me the same thing seven or eight times. She has some new calendar tools and a bulletin board to add to the mix here, and she's going to introduce an improved filing system, which should be a great relief, since I really don't have one.

I will still be in charge of the beauty. We are all responsible for our own beauty. It is really for our own souls' health that we mirror, in our own lives, the beauty that God has made in the world. Much of it appears gratuitous -- why must a flower be lovely, a forest, a small bird? But it has a purpose: we attract what we need, all of us -- plants, animals, people. Beauty creates the fellowship we need by its virtue of its power of attraction: we may each define it differently, but we all flock to it.

There will be a way for this tiny office of mine to remain beautiful in my eyes, to attract me here, to the place where I write. Even with a new bulletin board. Even if it means one of the paintings has to go.

Christ Church, New Brunswick, NJ welcomes Barbara Crafton as guest preacher tomorrow, January 27, at 8 and 10am. This historic church dates from the colonial era. 5 Paterson St, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 (732-545-6262
Come for a three day silent Lenten Retreat at wonderful Trinity Conference Center, West Cornwall, CT, Friday evening, March 9 through Sunday noon, March 11. The Rev. Barbara Crafton will be presenting five meditations entitled "Death: The Lighter Side." Cost: $300/person for a double room; $350 for a single room. Two nights, and six of the best meals you will ever eat. To reserve a space contact Carol Rice at 203-322-6390 or Don't delay, this retreat is filling up quickly!
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