Sunday, November 29, 2009


Just the right amount at just the right time

* How much faster would the line at highway toll booths move if everyone had exact change?
* How much money do we squander by paying for something, putting the change in our pocket, and putting the coins in a place that we forget?
* Even if your change isn't exact, getting close can be good. What a sense of accomplishment to pay $2.06 when you owe $1.31! Then, you receive three quarters, rather than a whole pile of coins. Can it be said that the goal is to minimize the number of coins that are received as change?
* Thanks very much to Karen Mahowald for the idea for this simple miracle.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


A chance to acknowledge our cornucopia of blessings

* This simple miracle originally appeared at CWRU in the fall of 2003.
* In addition to the chance at Thanksgiving for solidarity with my own family, I appreciate the sense of solidarity that all families have with each other. Much of my family will be together, and at the same time, most of the families that I know will be with their families.
* Last week, I discovered that in Spanish, Thanksgiving is "accion de gracias." Literally, this means "action of thanks." To me, this conveys not just the usual idea of Thanksgiving as something that occurs, but also an idea of Thanksgiving as something that you do.
* Among many other things, I am thankful that you read my blog. For what are you thankful?
* Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Friday, November 20, 2009


As unexpected as being born

* If your friend has a birthday, do you call them on the phone? Do you sing them a song?
* The best version of my family's birthday phone call tradition, I think, is to have a full crowd of people to sing "Happy Birthday" and then to leave a message, so that the recipient can listen to it over and over again.
* To Katie Crane, who just had a birthday earlier this month, thanks for the idea for this simple miracle.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Spoken in many tongues

* My brother Nick always makes us laugh. He won't necessarily tell jokes, but his sly, slick perspective on just about anything can be hilarious.
* My sister Missy is the one to tell jokes. For instance, she might ask, "What do you get from an invisible cow?" ("Evaporated milk.") I think that Missy has a great sense of humor.
* My own sense of humor usually receives mixed reviews. If people laugh at a joke that I tell, I think that it is often not because they think that the joke is funny, but because they find it funny that I'm trying to tell such an unfunny joke.
* I have heard that laughing can be very good for your health. What is most likely to make you laugh?
* The simple miracle originally appeared at CWRU in the spring of 2003.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Letting us embark in the morning without extra adorning

* I am right-handed, so occasionally I end up with a toothpaste splotch around the outside of my mouth on the right side.
* One time, at Sunday Mass, one of the ushers alerted, "Hey buddy, it looks like you still have some of your war paint." It was shaving cream.
* Mirrors also help prevent garb gaffes. Just the other day, when I walked into her office, our secretary discretely blurted, "Phillip! Phillip! Your collar!" (My sister pointed out that she is one of the few people to call me "Phillip.") How long had I been walking around with my collar folded in, instead of out? This was distinct proof for my need to look in the mirror before I leave the house in the morning.
* In a pinch, perhaps simple miracle #3 ("Rearview Mirrors") can suffice.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Things once here, now not, yet still present, by our thought.

* I am not, note, talking about what makes your computer run faster (but that can be good too).
* How wonderful is the gift of recalling the past and being inspired for the future!
* It might be pointed out that without the capacity to remember we would not know where we were nor what we were doing. It is our memory that connects one moment to the next and enables us to string actions together.
* Today, on All Souls Day, we remember those who have died. Perhaps you too will pray, "May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace."

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