Saturday, July 18, 2020



Where I’m from, people still wave to each other, and if someone doesn’t,
you might say of her, She wouldn’t wave at you to save her life—
but you try anyway, give her a smile.
This is just one of the many ways we take care of one another, say: I see you, I feel you, I know you are real. I wave to Rick who picks up litter while walking his black labs, Olive and Basil—
hauling donut boxes, cigarettes and countless beer cans out of the brush
beside the road. And I say hello to Christy, who leaves almond croissants
in our mailbox and mason jars of fresh-pressed apple cider on our side porch.
I stop to check in on my mother-in-law—more like a second mother—who buys us toothpaste when it’s on sale, and calls
if an unfamiliar car is parked at our house.
We are going to have to return to this way of life, this giving without expectation,
this loving without conditions. We need
to stand eye to eye again, and keep asking—
no matter how busy—How are you, how’s your wife, how’s your knee?, making
this talk we insist on calling small, though kindness is what keeps us alive.
-James Crews

Friday, July 17, 2020

Coming Home at Twilight in Late Summer

My morning poem/prayer prompt:

We turned into the drive,
and gravel flew up from the tires
like sparks from a fire. So much
to be done—the unpacking, the mail
and papers … the grass needed mowing ….
We climbed stiffly out of the car.
The shut-off engine ticked as it cooled.

And then we noticed the pear tree,
the limbs so heavy with fruit
they nearly touched the ground.
We went out to the meadow; our steps
made black holes in the grass;
and we each took a pear,
and ate, and were grateful.

-Jane Kenyon

Saturday, June 20, 2020


My Morning poem/prayer prompt:

I want to tell you that the world
is still beautiful.
I tell you that despite
children raped on city streets,
shot down in school rooms,
despite the slow poisons seeping
from old and hidden sins
into our air, soil, water,
despite the thinning film
that encloses our aching world.
Despite my own terror and despair.

I want you to know that spring
is no small thing, that
the tender grasses curling
like a baby's fine hairs around
your fingers are a recurring
miracle. I want to tell you
that the river rocks shine
like God, that the crisp
voices of the orange and gold
October leaves are laughing at death,

I want to remind you to look
beneath the grass, to note
the fragile hieroglyphs
of ant, snail, beetle. I want
you to understand that you
are no more and no less necessary
than the brown recluse, the ruby-
throated hummingbird, the humpback
whale, the profligate mimosa.
I want to say, like Neruda,
that I am waiting for
"a great and common tenderness",
that I still believe
we are capable of attention,
that anyone who notices the world
must want to save it.

Rebecca Baggett: Testimony

Friday, June 5, 2020

What the Heart Cannot Forget

My morning poem/ prayer prompt
“What the Heart Cannot Forget"

Everything remembers something.
The rock, its fiery bed,
cooling and fissuring into cracked pieces, the rub of watery fingers along its edge.

The cloud remembers being elephant, camel, giraffe,
remembers being a veil over the face of the sun, gathering itself together for the fall.

The turtle remembers the sea, sliding over and under its belly, remembers legs like wings, escaping down the sand under the beaks of savage birds.

The tree remembers the story of each ring, the years of drought, the floods, the way things came walking slowly towards it long ago.

And the skin remembers its scars, and the bone aches where it was broken. The feet remember the dance,
and the arms remember lifting up the child.

The heart remembers everything it loved and gave away,
everything it lost and found again, and everyone it loved, the heart cannot forget.

~ by Joyce Sutphen, Coming Back to the Body

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

How listen is the same
as silent,
and not one letter
separates stained
from sainted.

Monday, May 25, 2020

A Spiritual Journey

My morning poem/prayer prompt:
A Spiritual Journey

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,
no matter how long,
but only by a spiritual journey,
a journey of one inch,
very arduous and humbling and joyful,
by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,
and learn to be at home.

~ Wendell Berry ~

Friday, May 15, 2020

Just Beneath the Surface

My morning poem/prayer prompt:
If I don’t watch it, this lake
is vodka and I won’t care I don’t
know how to swim. Getting sober
is like that. I go out into the world
and look you in the eyes and say
I’m fine. I’m having a good time
and you go on never knowing
I was half-underwater, that
there was a monster trying
to make its way to the surface
and I had to push him down.
- James Croal Jackson: Getting Sober

Prayers for some special someones in my life and all who struggle with addiction or a deep interior burden . 💔🙏❤️

Thursday, May 14, 2020

The Shield of Kindness

Safe in the love of one who’ll never part,
Of one whose kindness is itself a shield
Who understands the deep things of my heart

Better than I can ever do, I yield
Myself and my perplexities to him
And in his house of mercy I am healed

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Shelter of Gods love

Till troubles cease and only joys remain
Take refuge in the shelter of his love
Who hears your call and feels with you your pain

Who does not keep his distance, high above
But brings his light into your little room
Nestles and settles with you like the dove

In its familiar dovecote. From the womb
Of Mary, to her house in Nazareth,
From the upper chamber to the empty tomb

He comes to share with you your every breath
And to commune with you. To every heart,
That opens to him he will bring new birth,

For every ending offer a new start.
Lie down in peace and trust and take your rest
Safe in the love of one who’ll never part.
-M Guite

Monday, May 11, 2020

Invisible Work

My morning poem/prayer prompt:
Invisible Work

Because no one could ever praise me enough,
because I don't mean these poems only
but the unseen
unbelievable effort it takes to live
the life that goes on between them,
I think all the time about invisible work.
About the young mother on Welfare
I interviewed years ago,
who said, "It's hard.
You bring him to the park,
run rings around yourself keeping him safe,
cut hot dogs into bite-sized pieces for dinner,
and there's no one
to say what a good job you're doing,
how you were patient and loving
for the thousandth time even though you had a headache."
And I, who am used to feeling sorry for myself
because I am lonely,
when all the while,
as the Chippewa poem says, I am being carried
by great winds across the sky,
thought of the invisible work that stitches up the world day and night,
the slow, unglamorous work of healing,
the way worms in the garden
tunnel ceaselessly so the earth can breathe
and bees ransack this world into being,
while owls and poets stalk shadows,
our loneliest labors under the moon.

There are mothers
for everything, and the sea
is a mother too,
whispering and whispering to us
long after we have stopped listening.
I stopped and let myself lean
a moment, against the blue
shoulder of the air. The work
of my heart
is the work of the world's heart.
There is no other art.

~ Alison Luterman ~
(The Largest Possible Life)
Photo of my
mom ❤️

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Where Does the Temple Begin, Where Does It End?

My morning poem❤️prayer prompt:
Where Does the Temple Begin,
Where Does It End?

There are things you can’t reach.  But
you can reach out to them, and all day long.

The wind, the bird flying away.
The idea of God.

And it can keep you as busy as anything else, and happier.

The snake slides away; the fish jumps, like a little lily, out of the water and back in;
the goldfinches sing
from the unreachable top of the tree.

I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.

Looking I mean not just standing around,
but standing around
as though with your arms open.

And thinking: maybe something will come, some shining coil of wind,
or a few leaves from any old tree –
they are all in this too.

And now I will tell you the truth.
Everything in the world

At least, closer.
And, cordially.

Like the nibbling, tinsel-eyed fish; the unlooping snake.
Like goldfinches, little dolls of gold
fluttering around the corner
of the sky of God, the blue air.

~ Mary Oliver ~

Saturday, May 2, 2020

May Day Memories

My garden is sown with sentiment;
Bearded Iris’ for my Grandma Effie, hydrangeas from Jessica that bloom wondrously every Mother’s Day, Sharon’s cyclamen, shamrocks for Pat, for mom, tulips every winter (and a new climbing rose) and dad, a little lemon tree.  When I was little mom and I made paper cones tied with ribbon, filled them with purple and yellow wildflowers from our field and hung it on the door of our elderly neighbors, Frank and Josie.
They had peach trees and when mom cut her hand washing a glass and we ran over there, her bleeding hand wrapped in a dishtowel, they jumped to the rescue. Frank drove her away. And Josie took us outside to pick peaches. I was so scared, but I remember feeling better outside with the peaches, the shelter of trees and the smell of fruit on my hands. It wasn’t long after that we made the paper cones and hung them secretly on their door. May day always makes me remember.  Happy May Day!

Friday, April 17, 2020

A Poem for a Pandemic

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love--
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

--Lynn Ungar 3/11/20

Thursday, April 16, 2020

T H A N K ❤️ Y O U  to our healthcare heroes and all essential workers helping us through this pandemic!    Chalk art: Kara Hoblin NY
🙏❤️ #alonetogether #healthheroes

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Gardener

She thought he was the gardener, but then he called her name, and she recognized the Lord.
How often Christ, the gardener whom I do not recognize, breaks through my tears or confusion or obstinance, calling my name, redirecting my attention, teaching me.  Sometimes, even in the moment, I recognize his voice, and my heart too proclaims ‘I have seen the Lord’. The artwork?
Jesus in a gardeners hat. These always make me smile.
Jesus, the gardener of my soul.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Easter in the Year 2020

And where is Jesus, this strange Easter day?
Not lost in our locked churches, anymore
Than he was sealed in that dark sepulchre.
The locks are loosed; the stone is rolled away,
And he is up and risen, long before,
Alive, at large, and making his strong way
Into the world he gave his life to save,
No need to seek him in his empty grave.

He might have been a wafer in the hands
Of priests this day, or music from the lips
Of red-robed choristers, instead he slips
Away from church, shakes off our linen bands
To don his apron with a nurse: he grips
And lifts a stretcher, soothes with gentle hands
The frail flesh of the dying, gives them hope,
Breathes with the breathless, lends them strength to cope.

On Thursday we applauded, for he came
And served us in a thousand names and faces
Mopping our sickroom floors and catching traces
Of that virus which was death to him:
Good Friday happened in a thousand places
Where Jesus held the helpless, died with them
That they might share his Easter in their need,
Now they are risen with him, risen indeed. 
- Malcolm Guite

A little guidance from Henri Nouwen

A waiting person is a patient person.
The word ‘patience’ means the willingness to stay where we are
and live the situation out to the full
in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.
Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else
and therefore want to go elsewhere.
The moment is empty.
But patient people dare to stay where they are.
Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there.
Waiting, then, is not passive.
It involves nurturing the moment,
as a mother nurtures the child that is growing in her womb.
 -Henri Nouwen

Friday, April 10, 2020

Sister Nina and Hard Boiled Eggs

This is a Good Friday like no other. We are all Sheltering at home to stop the spread of Covid19.
We have a tradition in our family to gather after Good Friday services and color Easter eggs at our house. Needless to say that is not happening this year in the midst of this pandemic, but I can share with you the inspiration for it.
When I was converting in my late teens, Sr. Nina, a young nun I first met on Search retreat, invited me to the convent on the Fridays of Lent to make communion hosts or prepare various outreach packages and then stay for lunch. What she actually did was to show me, by being herself, how the grace of God is at work in us. Every Friday was the same; in the kitchen all morning and then we would sit at the big table with a small plate consisting of one peeled hard boiled egg and a serving of cottage cheese. Plain and simple.
On good Friday there was no preparation of communion hosts but Sr. Nina invited me for lunch after the noon service. There on the table was one egg in its shell and the same spoonful of cottage cheese.
After grace she shared, with the other sisters smiling ever so slightly, that the sorrow of Good Friday could only be born in the gladness of Easter Sunday. The eggshell was left on as the reminder of Easter and Mary Magdalene finding the tomb open. And suddenly all the sisters began cracking open their eggs, giddy in the tapping and all I remember after that was the burst of my tears and the simultaneous fullness of joy!
It has been such an important insight for me during the various sorrows of life and I love her for it. When I had children, I combined Good Friday with that same joy of Easter through the coloring of eggs. And invited the cousins and close family friends to join us. I really treasure the days we have had together over the years. It is a place for me to put the fullness of my heart on this day as we remember Jesus in his agony and death, and join ours and the world’s suffering to his in prayer, but also see, once again, the assurance of the boundless love and compassion of God.