by Karen G. Johnston, December 4 2019

Leveling Up

“Level Two is where you become privy to the giant mystery, the fabulous conspiracy that is Santa. You are entrusted with the secret, that Santa is SO much bigger than you imagined, that you, in fact, get to be Santa, too.” —Rev. Joanna Fontaine CrawfordOne year—but not the year the Christmas tree fe

by Tomo Hillbo, November 27 2019

Crisis and Opportunity

“My storehouse having burned down, I can now see the moon.” — Mizuta Masahide, 17th-century Japanese samurai poetContent warning: This reflection refers to the author experiencing abuse as a child.In Japanese, “crisis” (危機) and “opportunity” (機会) share a character: 機. This character has many meaning

by Katie Romano Griffin, November 20 2019

The Fierce Fist Pump

“The most delicate flower is still a badass, it sucks food from roots, stares at the sun and basks in it. It wrestles the wind, and drinks rain.” —Rob GradThe world feels like a hot mess and while this isn’t breaking news, it seems like every other Tweet, Facebook post, or article is a wind causing

by Misha Sanders, November 13 2019

Impact > Intention

“What one does is what counts. Not what one had the intention of doing.” —Pablo Picasso I heard the incoming screams from the far end of the parking lot of the home improvement store. The vehicle swerved crookedly into the lot and abruptly stopped. Someone inside was forcefully hitting the driver

by Erika A. Hewitt, November 6 2019

Love What You Love

“…[L]et the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” —Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”On August 29, 2018, Roger Cooper (@RogerC137) tweeted plaintively:“Could we, without relentlessly criticizing, let people have their pumpkin spice, and avacado toast, and their fandoms, and their D&D, and their too-e

by Monica Dobbins, October 30 2019

The Guest of Grief

“Anyone who has lost something they thought was theirs forever finally comes to realize that nothing really belongs to them.” ― Paulo CoelhoEver since the beginning of this school year, I've had a hard time getting ready in the morning. Hard time getting out of bed, unfocused, glued to my phone, jus

by Teresa Honey Youngblood, October 23 2019

The Growing Season

“Gardens are a form of autobiography.” —Sydney Eddison, “The Wilds Within,” Horticulture Magazine, August/September 1993.The six-year-old and the nine-year-old, co-creators of our neighborhood garden this past spring and summer, survey the backyard plot after our first good, hard frost: “Ooo, that’s

by Rebekah Savage, October 16 2019

Stewards of Hope

“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” —Maya AngelouI’m delighted by how Spirit moves through our spiritual communities. A few summers ago, a member of our congregation drafted architectural plans for a Little Free Library (LFL). The brilliance of the d

by Adrian L. H. Graham, October 9 2019

Joyfully Surprised

“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.” ―May SartonI spent an entire year brooding over whether and when to come out to my family. I had had a little practice with some close friends in college, and later with a few friends from high school. Looki

by Elea Kemler, October 2 2019

The Only Answer I Know

"...You are given the questions of others as if they were answers to all you ask. Yes, perhaps this gift is your answer." —from "A Gift" by Denise LevertovIn my town, the annual harvest fair is a big event. All the groups in town have booths. The Boy Scouts make root beer; the Women's Club offers ho

by David Kohlmeier, September 25 2019

Life Pushing Through

“Look past your thoughts, so you may drink the pure nectar of This Moment.” —Rumi“Did you feel that!?” No. I didn’t. I was distracted. My hand was to my partner’s belly, trying to feel a move from our soon-to-be-born second child. I had waited so long with my hand pressing on the same spot that my m

by Katie Romano Griffin, September 18 2019

Know When to Tango

“Tango is a social dance, a dance of the people. What would be the point of having lessons with teachers if we all taught the same? That is the charm of tango: with each person you find a different character and style.” —Miguel ZottoWhen I find myself struggling with a person or group, I sometimes c

by Tim Atkins, September 11 2019

To Be Resilient

“Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal: my strength lies solely in my tenacity.” —Louis PasteurWhen I was a child, in Georgia, we took a field trip to a nature center called Oxbow Meadows. At the time, I didn’t know what an “oxbow” was; I just knew I totally loved the name. Later on

by Tomo Hillbo, September 4 2019

Thriving Among the Thorns

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are. —Anaïs NinMy house came with a mess of a garden. It was as messy as the divorce I was going through at the time: a forest of thorny, 6-foot-tall thistles with a rusty fire pit and an old plum tree. Cleaning up this garden and keeping it tidy ga

by Erika A. Hewitt, June 19 2019

Making Room at the Table

"We are the people who return to love like a North Star and to the truth that we are greater together than we are alone." —Rev. Theresa Soto, in "We Hold Hope Close"I spend a lot of my Saturday evenings feeling awkward at wedding receptions, because most guests don’t want to talk to The Minister. Ar

by Yuri Yamamoto, June 12 2019

Even When...

"I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining; I believe in love even when I don’t feel it; I believe in God even when he is silent." —anonymous Jewish poem, set to music by Mark A. MillerWhen I directed a church choir, this arrangement of "I Believe" was one of my favorite songs. Some say that t

by Lindasusan Ulrich, June 5 2019

Honk If You Love

“The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.” —Dr. Robert McNeish, “Lessons from the Geese”Driving along a commercial corridor near my house, I noticed that one of the used car dealerships had changed the message on its sign. Instead of touting a holiday sa

by Rayla D. Mattson, May 29 2019

Everyone for Everyone

“I marched so that my children and grandchildren would have equality.” —Anita E. BaldwinWhile attending a protest with my kids, we were standing around waiting for the “marching” part to begin. My middle child asked me what we were doing—meaning what were we waiting for in that moment, and when were

by Liz James, May 22 2019

Feeding Ourselves and Each Other

“Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.” —Frank A. ClarkI’m not sure those townspeople were being selfish, in the stone soup story.You probably remember how it goes: when the old woman came into the village and asked for ingredients to m

by Alix Klingenberg, May 15 2019

Where the Real Growth Happens

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I change.” —Carl RogersWhen things in my life are unmoored and emotional vertigo sets in, I like to watch mellow, low-stakes TV: things like The Great British Baking Show and predictable romantic comedies from the 90s. Shows that h

by Amanda Poppei, May 8 2019

Becoming Ourselves

“Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real...It doesn't happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time.” ― Margery Williams Bianco, The V

by Kat Liu, May 1 2019

Indiscriminate Tastes

“Different cultures produce a different ‘cool.’ And your perception of ‘cool’ changes depending on where you are.” —LabrinthI spent my twenties learning to like fewer and fewer things; now I spend my time trying to like more and more.For me, part of growing up middle-class was the striving “upwards”

by Karen G. Johnston, April 24 2019

Inviting Our True Attention

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” —attributed to the BuddhaI call the tall bush on my back patio “Burning Bush” because in autumn its leaves are a fiery red. All winter long I overlooked three uninhabited nests inside of it. For months and months I could have pe

by Lindasusan Ulrich, April 17 2019

Brilliant Collisions

“The train jerks to a halt, and as I get out at Oxford Circus, Stewart gets out with me. We look at each other, laugh, and make the standard remark about it being a small world. But this is the brilliant collision: one train later and it might all have turned out differently.” —Andy Summers, guitari