By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate the "quality of purpose" you're presently living out?
    What's your number?
    The majority of people confess to living a substandard life that lacks passion, breathes boredom, and falls into the resigned category of "unfulfilling".
    Bugger and blast ... this is no way to live!
    There are things we can do about this state, and questions we can ask ourselves, to improve our present state.
    The following assignment consists of twenty questions which will lead us into valuable insights and give us a reference point to begin our next chapter from.
    The stength of this assignment requires written answers.
    Grab a pen and paper, and your favorite drink, and lets get after it!
    1) You have a weekend to yourself.
    What are five things you'd really enjoy doing?
    2) You're handed a camera and told to take photos of what inspires you.
    What are your five clicks?
    3) You're being treated to five free dining experiences.
    Where will you go?
    4) You're given $10,000 to support two charities.
    Which charities are yours?
    5) A day of "drinking" splurge is yours.
    What are your two favorite beverages?
    Where will you go to enjoy them?
    Who will you enjoy them with?
    6) What five things can you not live without?
    7) What five achievements in your life are you proud of?
    8) Top 10 people you would love to meet. Why?
    9) You're left alone and without technology for a week.
    How will you invest your time?
    10) Five things you fear?
    11) Five items on your bucket list.
    12) When you look back, one year from now, what do you want to see accomplished and achieved in "your" life?
    13) Name five individuals who challenge you and tell why.
    14) You get to select three volunteer acitivies to participate in.
    Name three that might appeal to you.
    15) Name five areas you feel passionate about?  
    16) List five hobbies.
    17) List five books or movies that you find engaging.
    18) Record the names of your five closest friends and one trait you prize most in each of them.
    19) Five things you'd like to accomplish in the next five years.
    20) Name five routine activities that are a part of your present and everyday life.
    Which ones would you never want to remove?
    Look over your answers and circle the five top key words or themes recorded and put your thoughts and answers in writing.
    Now consider what your favorite question was and why it struck such a chord in you.
    Write it down and study it.
    Hmmm ...
    Is it not suggestive of something, my friend?
    Do your answers not shout something to you?
    These words and thoughts tell a significant story about you and what God has made you for. Take them into the next chapter of your life by writing them into your life in a practical and concrete way.
    You'll find yourself living again and enjoying an increased quality of purpose.
    *Consider sitting down with a good friend over coffee and share your answers together. You'll be doubly blessed and you may make a few more discoveries!
    There's so much life to be lived and so much more purpose in the journey when we take time to evaluate where we're presently at and make plans and actively participate in where we want to be.
    Live a life you love and start to breathe again.


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    Sarah and I meet over a quiet and meaningful cup of coffee.
    Before "branding" her mug with her signature red lips, she sets her Caramel Mocha down, bows her head, and totally and unexpectedly begins to cry.
    Theses aren't the kind of tears that one swabs at and gently wipes away;
    these are the kind of tears that cascade like a torrential downpour down the face and convulse the entire body.
    These are the kind of tears that speak to a deep pain,
    suppressed and compressed for too long,
    and then suddenly let go.
    Trembling hands cover a beautiful and photogenic face.
    Brunette hair truffles get pushed to the side.
     Shoulders heave dramatically.
    And beauty doesn't matter.
     "Nothing is really quite what it seems," Sarah says.
    "My marriage isn't as good as it looks on Facebook.
    My business venture is not as lucrative as my Instagram announces.
    My creativity isn't flowing like my Pinterest suggests.
    My life is a blood-letting mess of meaningless chatter and shallow undertaking,
     and nobody really knows me at all."
    Hmmm ...
    We spend several hours together,
    Sarah and I.
    Over a cup of coffee and a three hour uninterrupted, intimate exchange, our souls converge and we become "real" with one another and entirely engaged.
    -There are no swipes on the phone.
    -There are no "excuse me" moments.
    -There are no sensory distractions.
    There is just good, clean, honest, pure conversation between two grown up friends that need each other and require the "presence" of one another.
    And for this moment and for this friendship I am grateful.
    There's value in coming together and assigning "media" to its proper place.
     Sarah and I had agreed to leave our phones behind ... no exceptions or excuses allowed. We agreed to be fully engaged and present with one another and, because of this decision, our conversation, conduct, and "coming together" was altered entirely and considerably for the better.
    I'm going to enjoy more of these times with more of my friends.
    I'm going to splurge on reconnecting by insisting on disconnecting ...
    and invite you to engage with me in true presence.

    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    Sherry's life.
    It's complicated and it's not.
    Sherry grew up in a home flowing with wine and alcohol; familiarity with its erratic effects was part of her growing-up package.
    Violence, absence, police disturbances, and domestic issues were common occurances in her home.
    Not surprisingly, Sherry's DNA and genetic disposition seemed unusually charged with a thirst for the bottle.
    Sherry didn't like who she was becoming;
    flashbacks of her parents were becoming realities in her personal life and affecting the welfare of her own children. Experiencing the debilitating effects of maternal failure, she sought out help.
    She quit the bottle.
    Not once.
    Not twice.
    Not three times ....
    but too many times to count.
    And then she met Christ, life was complete, and the drinking days were over and a thing of the past.
    But then ...
     An untimely tragedy struck.
    Cancer invaded Sherry's body and the invasive treatments of radiation and chemotherapy took their toll.
    Over a "gargle" of mouthwash one difficult morning, the desire for alcohol overwhelmed Sherry with a fierceness she'd never experienced.
    Sherry bottomed out,
    she reached for the bottle,
    and the rest is now a repeat of history.
    I don't pretend to have the answers for Sherry ... and I don't have to.
    Sherry is not in need of theological discussions, situational Bible verses, and well-worded Christian cliches. She's loathes herself and she hurts like the blazes.
    Sherry needs to be loved:
    She needs someone to bring over a bowl of soup instead of a glass of wine.
    She needs someone making her bed instead of making a "toast."
    She needs the experience of compassion and not condemnation.
    She needs someone to sit with her when the cancer is too much and the desire for a drink is overpowering.
    Because more than a drink ... Sherry is thirsty for love.
     I may not know how to do everything just right for the "Sherry's" in the world, but those God places in "my" path will experience love, compassion, and open identification.
    I'm not ashamed of the "Sherry's" and I won't run from them, though years ago I know I would have.
    God is changing me and I want this reality to be "my history" repeated over and over again.
     God be praised for every drink we take of Him, and every cup we serve another ...
     in His name.

    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    My circle is composed of "real" individuals dealing deliberately and honestly with "real life" realities.
    The circle reads much like Goldilocks and the Three Bears:
    Some of the issues sound bigger than others and more complicated.
    Some of the issues sound smaller than others and less complicated.
    Many of the issues fall right in the middle and are readily and more easily identified.
    But here's the deal with issues, my friend;
    issues are NOT individuals ... they are inside of individuals.
    And if there can be honesty amongst the circle gatherers, issues can be tackled, dealt with, shared, and worked through concretely and in a God glorifying manner.
    And this is how the world will know we love God.
    We are a broken group of circle gatherers inviting Jesus into our midst.
    Hmmm ...
    Whenever and wherever permission is given to be truthful about real life issues, circles of honesty and grace have an opportunity to grow and advance the Kingdom of God.
     As the circle grows bigger, the truth and grace of God grows increasingly greater, and everyone finds freedom and healing within the circle.
    And the world waits to be invited in and experience healing together "with" us.
    Admission into the circle requires honesty and confession and nothing more.
    Issues have permission to reveal and display themselves in any and every arena and no one is rejected or refused because of an issue too big or an issue too small.
    No one is pushed out of the circle for telling the truth;
    indeed, empowerment emerges "from" it.
     Drugs, alcohol, anorexia, bulimia, smoking, pornography, lying, cheating, stealing, adultery, gossip, backbiting, hating, homosexuality, gambling, manipulation, control, coveting, murder, pedophilia, jealousy, envy, bitterness, unforgiveness, and all forms of "ugly" are welcome.
    Come as you are.
    Be truthful with who you are.
    Love others as they are.
    Experience healing.
    It's a hard, beautiful, painful, necessary process that gets results.
    To God be praise ... for the big words we call redemption and sanctification, which bring life, hope, and healing into our everyday lives and make all things possible.
    The beating of Christ's "blood pulse" through the circle is where the power is!
    My circle gathering continues to expand ... and so does healing within its members.
    The pleasure and delight of God seems absolutely palpable in this group and I see Jesus in the midst, and wonder why it took me so long to join the circle.
    Hmmm ...
    I'm thankful I made it.
    For broken circles,
    growing circles,
    and in the middle, JESUS,
    I give thanks.


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    There are individuals whose voice and presence speaks to courage, truth, and vulnerability. I make it my goal to link up with these voices,
     learn from these voices,
    and then courageously speak out with a voice of my own even if it means "going it" alone.
    Brene' Brown is one such individual in my life.
    She tackles difficult, needful subjects with objectivity, sensitivity, and vulnerability.
    Because of her I am stronger, richer, more courageous, and better able to "bear-up" under the hot sun and dry sands of the wilderness.
    Other present "voices" in my life inspiring courage and sparking challenge are:
     -Francis Chan
    -Brennan Manning
    -Charles Stanley
    -God and His precious Word
    Who's putting the "dare" into your life?
    Get outside of your comfort zone, my friend, and dare to brave your wilderness.
    You'll find me right me right beside you ...
    on the journey.
    Meaningful and provoking thought:
    "When the culture of any organization mandates that it is more important to protect the reputation of a system and those in power than it is to protect the basic human dignity of the individuals who serve that system or who are served by that system, you can be certain that the shame is systematic, the money is driving ethics, and the accountability is all but dead. This is true in corporations, nonprofits, universities, governments, faith communities, schools, families, and sports programs. If you think back on any major scandal fueled by cover-ups, you'll see this same pattern. And the restitution and resolution of cover-ups almost always happens in the wilderness -- when one person steps outside their bunker and speaks their truth."
    Brene' Brown
    "Braving the Wilderness"


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    These are the words appropriately launched across the top of a magazine called "Breathe" now in my possession, and highly recommended.
    I picked it up on a whim while on a hesitant exit from Barnes and Nobles' with my two beautiful daughters in company. Unable to decide between several amazing selections vying and worthy of attention and purchase, I asked for the input of my daughters in order to justify the purchase of "one".
    The girls flipped through the selections with little "knowings" and acknowledgments and then handed me the final selection called "Breathe."
    My daughters have me pegged;
     I've loved every page of it!
    The art is simple and beautiful.
    The language is pure and provoking.
    The ideas are stimulating and suggestive.
    The concrete and applicable assignments inspiring and notable.
    Gosh, and for the love of Barnes and Nobles!
    It's so hard to pull one's self away from there and only with greatest hesitancy and "looking back" does it happen.
    Indeed, I'd barely gotten myself situated in the vehicle, when my hungry mind began its absorption of its content. So wrapped up was I in my new magazine, that our trip to Target following, found me situated and seated in Starbucks with a steaming cup of coffee and my ever-ready pen in hand while my girls shopped.
    I launched my mind into a provoking read on "Reversing the Bucket List" and engaged my mind and pen in the stimulating activity of a productive mental reversal.
    Perhaps I'll whet your appetite:
    "Quite often, the stress to achieve the item on a bucket list can also mean that you're so preoccupied with the end result that the actual experience passes without much thought or appreciation.
    A reverse bucket list is an antidote to the pressure of checking off a series of things you think you ought to do. It's not about ditching your bucket list, far from it. It's good to have both on the go because the 'looking forward' and 'looking back' complement each other. It enables you to dive into meaningful experiences and truly appreciate what you've already achieved, which is often more than you imagined."
    -Carol Anne Strange
    The exercise attending was fantastic with provoking considerations still attending me.
    A few questions of my own which linger in summary:
    1) What accomplishments and achievements have brought me the most joy and a sense of deep fulfillment?
    2) What elements of myself am I intensely proud of in the achievements?
    3) What experiences and achievements intensify and qualify the virtues deemed admirable to me and how might I "re-experience" them in a future bucket list?
    Hmmm ....
    Such great and magnificent mental wonderings and wanderings today.
    How I'd love to do "coffee" and take an adventure into "your" mind, my friend.
    Maybe one day,
     maybe someday,
    when your old bucket list becomes your new bucket list
    we'll be engaged in "hot coffee" and a celebration of both!
    Mmmm ...


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

     God is a great translator of our pain.
    He turns a trial into triumph,
    a trouble into trust,
    a tragedy into a trajectory of faith.
    The greatest miracle of all ... He turns sinners into Saints.
    He transfers us from darkness into light,
    leads us from wrong into right,
    and turns our blindness into sight.
    He transfers us into a realm of inconceivable, irretrievable grace.
    He covers us, comforts us,
    and conforms us to Himself;
    and everything we need we find in Him.
    "You have formed us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in You."  Augustine


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    Yesterday, I walked into the Nordstrom Johnson building at the Sioux Falls fairgrounds (Friday's Food Giveaway) filled with anticipation about who I might meet and what I might learn during my volunteer hours.
    With a box-cutter in hand, my job was to slice the box tops off of plum boxes, for quick and easy distribution. While on my knees and 134% invested in my task, a "special" new friend interrupted my thoughts and humored me with a first and refreshing, informal introduction.
    "I'm Tiffany, and I know who you are, and I'm glad to meet you. Would you like me to sing to you? I really like you and Brad Paisley."
    Hmmm ...
    I stopped my box-cutting and looked up into the expectant, excited eyes of my new friend, who was donning a "Go Vikings" purple cap stretched tightly over her dark, unruly hair.
    Evidently, Tiffany (not her real name) had been watching me from the time of my arrival, convinced of my singing relationship with Mr. Paisley.
    You must understand the humor of the situation, my friend, and how this early sentiment of greeting caught me so entirely off-guard.
    My knowledge of country music and singers is relegated to two hands and ten fingers; the mention of Brad Paisley does nothing for me ... el-zilcho, no-face'o, nothing.
    All attempts to disengage myself from Brad Paisley's company proved ineffectual and, in the end, served to only validate the certainty of my incognito presence.
    Even my name tag and unusual name were deemed suspect.
    So be humored by the next line, all you Country music lovers, when new friend Tiffany uttered,
    "I wish you'd stay."
    To which I replied,
    "I'm not going anywhere. I'll be here for several more hours. Feel free to visit."
    This blond stroke of genius was met with delightful laughter from Tiffany as she told me these were the words of her favorite Brad Paisley song.
    Hmmm ...
    Even though I had a lot of work to do, Tiffany kept up a lingering banter with me throughout the rest of the day. We talked about her life, her love for guitar, and her favorite music.
    She asked me a lot of questions (mostly about Mr. Paisley,) and I loved her.
    Her presence in my life is uniquely qualified as favorable and unforgettable.
    Next week, I might be serenaded at the door with a rendition of, "Remind Me," which she desires to sing to me. This is good to know in advance since I might have thought it a legitimate, new curious line into our next exchange.
    The people I meet are beautiful, insightful, and life-giving.
    In offering myself to others, I'm given so much in return, and life is meaningful, impacting, and simply beautiful.
    To Brad Paisley and his fan club, I make a toast.
    I couldn't have done it without him.
    *Maybe that could be his next song ...



    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    "I used to think it would take a lifetime to become someone's friend, but now I think we do it just three minutes at a time."
    -Bob Goff
    "Feel" three minutes.
     Stop whatever you're doing, time yourself for three minutes, and sit quietly in it.
    Now consider:
    It's in your power to give "three minutes" to another in a meaningful, powerful, provoking, and life-enhancing way.
    Instead of brushing past someone in a "one second" greeting, exchange it with a "three minute" interaction and see what it does to "you."
    Cooperate with God and take time to notice who He's placing on your path.
    The more thoughtfully you walk into your three minutes, the more blessed you will be by the three minutes.
    -Three minutes wields the power to translate a negative thought into a positive thought and alter the attitude of another's mind for an entire day, and beyond.
    -Three minutes can open up a new relationship and encourage an invitation out for coffee.
    -Three minutes wields the power to counteract a suicide.
    -Three minutes can change a life.
    -In three minutes, I've been introduced to resources, books, individuals, and places that have changed the trajectory of my life.
    -I've been empowered by a quote.
    -I've been sustained by a stranger's voice.
    -I've been encouraged by a timely note.
    -I've intersected new opportunities and new individuals.
    -I've been the recipient of free meals, coffee, cookies, groceries, and even gas fills on account of a stranger "loving" on me and noticing me in the space of just three minutes.
    I've been supplied with beautiful and life-enforcing acts of grace in just three minutes.
    And so have you.
    Turn that around and "become" the unexpected grace-giver.
    It's such an adventure and so intoxicatingly fun. Once you begin you won't be able to stop. It will become a new way of life ...
    It's so beautifully addicting!
    Three minutes matter.
    Make them count ... and do something engaging and productive with them!
    Try out the three minute rule.
    See where it takes "you" and, who knows,
    maybe we'll find ourselves on the other side of one another one day.
    Until then ... let's tend to our "three" and make a multiplied difference.
    "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions."
    -Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    It feels splendid to be "whisked away" and thrown into a surprise.
    Such began my Valentine's morning ...
    Straight off of Phillips Avenue in downtown Sioux Falls,
    104 West 12th,
    and in through the doors of Josiah's Coffeehouse, my dear husband escorted me and encouraged me to indulge ... and I did.
    A delightful "housing" of everything delicious and good attended me.
    Is there anything so wondrous, my mind wonders, as a good coffeehouse to convey a sensational indulgence and splurge?
    I think not.
    Mmmm ....
    The smell of freshly roasted coffee and robust, rich beans intoxicating  the air.
    The appealing warmth of color, painting, writing, and "just right" lighting absorbed in texturized, character-filled walls.
    Fresh pastries, rolls, and tantalizing deserts lined up in mouth watering succession in a glass case.
    Cheesy omelets, syrupy waffles, and buttery pancakes spilling over on plates with mounds of hashbrowns, sausage, and bacon, topped off by buttery, jellied toast distributed by cheerful workers, pleasant smiles, and engaging individuals.
    Mmm ...
    Gosh, but I'm getting hungry all over again and I find myself reflectively thankful.
    It's a very celebratory experience to be known, to be loved, and to be pampered, spoiled, and indulged in.
    It's worth rehearsing, remembering, and taking snapshots of (special shot on the Contact.)
    Rejuvenating. Refreshing. Restorative.
    Delicious with a capital "D" and throw "me" in.
    Do something celebratory today with someone, my friend.
    Be spontaneous.
    Be generous.
    Indulge someone in a wondrously, special way.
    Make someone feel loved because it's in your power to do it.
    Enjoy your spouse to the full, but then slather someone else with a tangible goodness also.
    It's such a cheerful thing to be and do, and none but you can prevent it.
    Mmmm ...
    There's love in the air, in the way that we care for one another.
    -Happy Valentine's Day-

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