Friday, July 18, 2008

My new co-authored book will be out Sept. 1. Check it out here. or go to

Book Drawing: Leave a comment here or email me at and I’ll enter your name for the July book drawing to win a copy of The Stained Glass Pickup.

Fomites. They are everywhere. But what are they? A fomite is an inanimate object capable of transmitting diseases. The following, plus a whole bunch more, could be “carriers”: an escalator handrail, a doorknob, a piano keyboard or a tricycle.

Most of us come in contact with fomites each day with herds of germs on their surfaces. Now, if those pesky microorganisms would only bray or moo to let us know their presence that might help. Never mind. That’s a poor idea. All those germs emitting sounds might cause paranoia. That’s why God is God, and I’m just Cathy.

I heard that US currency has a fungicide in the paper to combat this passing of germs, but I couldn’t find any credible source to substantiate that. Sometimes I grow a bit obsessed about germs on a grocery cart handle but there are more infectious and dangerous things. One of those is a spirit of grumbling that can pollute a soul with peevishness.

Folks can get into the bad habit of complaining about nearly everything, sometimes causing friends to abandon and family to avoid the bellyacher. In an office, if a coworker inventories their gripes aloud, soon, the whole staff is whining unless a Mary Poppins is on the team, someone who can steer the mood.

Recently, I spent time with dear friend Jan Tickner, a former columnist for this newspaper, who wrote in this same space. I always gain insights from her even if it’s only her answer to my question. “How are you?”

Although her answer is customary, there is nothing stale about it. She answers, “I’m blessed.” We’ve had many, many heart-to-heart talks, and I know her answer conveys her outlook on life – to count the paved roads not the potholes.

In recent years, she gave me a bound booklet, she’d created for her “family and a few very close friends.” Inside are reflections over scriptures and insights gained from what Jan calls “one more lap around Mt. Sinai,” lessons God repeats until we “get it.”

In one devotional, she recalled the grumbling of the Hebrew people, who whined to God so much that he “gave them what they wanted but sent “leanness into their souls.” Bent on their complaining, they “despised the pleasant land” and “grumbled in their tents” (Psalm 106:24-25).

When I go to Jan’s tent, I do not hear grumbling. Instead, I hear about the latest victory or insight or lovely thing in her world. It’s not all rosy, but she chooses the scent of roses over the sting of the thorn.

One of her prayer requests is based on the lessons in Psalm 106, that God will give her a “fat soul and a lean body.”

We can’t avoid fomites, but we can avoid complaining. Instead, pass along bits and pieces about the good life—they come out naturally from the “fat souls,” who fill up at God’s well.


  1. I was impressed reading about your friend, Jan. What a joy to be around people who always seem to see the glass half full instead of half empty. I have a friend at work struggling with cancer. As we have spent time together since diagnosis a year ago he has never uttered one complaint. He has never grumbled. It is sad to see his body become too lean but what a joy to see his soul become so fat. What an example he is to choose the scent of the rose over of the sting of the thorn.

  2. Jan is a wise friend, who chooses the scent of roses over the sting of the thorn. That is a lovely image.
    And I learned a new word here "fomites". Yikes.