This is the Way, Walk in it?

I was walking a river path in the northern third of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. My rubber half-boots made sucking sounds when, avoiding puddles, I walked on the soggy chartreuse grass. The thaw had left the ground and spring rains melted the earth. It was mud season.Near the end of my trek, on the low side of the path, was a narrowing between trees. On each side grew tangles of brambles. Across the whole of the path was a sizeable puddle…and a quandary. How was I going to get to the other sid … [Read More...]

The Increasing Kindly Light of Lent

A couple of decades ago, while employed at a large retail greenhouse, I met a lovely woman 12 years my senior, whose company made the hours pass quickly. We often worked together in the hoop-houses — plastic greenhouses framed with aluminum ribs — at the back of the retail area. Those production houses were the hottest of all 20, being low and lacking adequate ventilation.Each spring we’d spend 50 or more hours a week, often in 90-degree heat, hauling potting mix, containers and 200 feet of h … [Read More...]

Demons Love a Well-swept House

During Lent I place in the oratory a small plaque with two words: Vacare Deo, to empty oneself for God. It’s a reminder for spiritual cleaning.As it’s midwinter, and I’m already bored with being indoors, I am looking for things to do. This translates to “it’s time to clean up,” and I try to organize the attic recently assaulted with boxes of Christmas decorations. The basement could do with a bit of organizing too.When cleaning things up, indoors or out, we often open up space.As a ga … [Read More...]

Transformed by God’s Word

This is a lovely book by Stephen Binz about seeing anew the power of Lectio Divina when combined with Visio Divina, praying with icons. The images of icons are created by Ruta and Kaspars Poikans.Sometimes Lectio Divina can become stale, performed out of love for God's word instead of embraced with delight at what he might be saying to us. This book brings its readers to illumination, a visual sense combined with The Word brightening the mind.The author walks you along a path of … [Read More...]

Mercy and Full Moon Crosses

I looked in awe through the low double-hung window at a winter’s full moon. I had gone halfway up the stairs and stopped; midway offers a direct view of the sky. This moon appears brighter with a crisper white light. The intensity of its glow dims the view of nearby stars.As I was looking out the west window I noticed my long-haired silver cat, Meadow, had come down to me and back up twice as if trying to move me along. I think my halting has confused her. I watched her walk across the area r … [Read More...]

Lent’s Perennial List, Fasting From

Every Lent (usually before Ash Wednesday!) I am asked to post the perennial "Fasting From" list.This began as a series of weekly columns on this blog about fasting from certain attitudes and striving to become more virtuous. Several of those columns made their way into my book Cultivating God’s Garden through Lent (also available from Barnes & Noble, and Patheos Press).The list of those fourteen “Fasting From” reflections became popular, and many friends said they had printed them out … [Read More...]

Passion Flower and the Stations of the Cross

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Storms When Everything Went Dark

With the snow storm that recently passed through the eastern part of our country, many were -- and still are -- left without power.When a similar storm passed through Michigan a couple winters ago, I wrote this blog. Seems timely to share it again:It was another one of those sleepless nights. I was in my upstairs flat, a small hermitage of three room, and decided to make some tea when, during a winter storm, the lights went out.It was pitch black, too dark for even shadows to fall. G … [Read More...]

Finding Treasure with Painted Pony Beans

When my friend, Linda, and I bought this split-level house nearly thirty years ago we had to literally dig out the basement with coal shovels. It looked like a hoarder lived downstairs. With the help of her family the basement was eventually cleared, scrubbed and white-washed.One January there was extensive (and expensive) work done in our unfinished basement. The ducts had to be cleaned, patched and insulated. The furnace too had to be repaired. Then there were the five slow leaking water li … [Read More...]

Keep Shoveling, Dearie

Restless and awake through the night, in bed under layers of quilts, I listed to the sleeping dog’s whimpering barks. The cat had realized that the dog’s sleep and my wakefulness was an opportunity for undisturbed cuddles. She chortled softly as she walked around the foot of the bed. She placed her front paws on my shoulder and nestled her head against my cheek.I stared out the small dormer window. The streetlight’s glow through the window marked a cross high on my bedroom wall. Even without … [Read More...]