Gifts, Blessings, Treasures, Offerings

March 21, 2023

Some weeks seem to sparkle with unexpected gifts, blessings, treasures, and offerings, and last week, much to my surprise, was one of those times.

In spite of getting more snow and more cold temperatures, and an actual cold, requiring lots of kleenex, cold meds, and naps, my quiet life was full of treats, including delicious scones baked and delivered by friends after we needed to cancel our wine date with them. Isn’t the old axiom “Starve a fever, but feed a cold’? Or is it the other way around. Never mind, the scones were sooo good, and the gesture deeply appreciated. (The inside of the card that came with the scones said “Scones conquer Colds.”)

Other gifts may not have been edible, but were no less pleasing. And each one arrived in my email inbox.

  • The copy of an article about a day walking several different labyrinths, “Prelude” by Nancy Nordenson.

“Don’t expect an epiphany,” the instruction sheet warned us. I know, I know: don’t expect anything and you won’t be disappointed, but I’m wired for expectation like a kid who knows she’s just going on a quick errand with her dad, there and back, yet nevertheless hopes he’ll pull the car into Dairy Queen on the way.

  • The link to music for Lent sung and played by Steve Bell.
  • Notice about a new show at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA), Eternal Offerings Chinese Ritual Bronzes. This exhibit is described as an “immersive experience designed to evoke the mystery of heavenly and ancestral worship.” Sounds like a field trip to me.
  • A number of notes from dear women in my life, including one who is awaiting chemotherapy and another who has decided not to continue treatment. Each note, a kind of prayer.
  • Another friend wrote about studying the Hebrew book of Micah, which if you didn’t know is between the book of Jonah and Nahum. Does that help? Anyway, she mentioned Micah 6:8″ …and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” I am planning the next session of Third Chapter Conversations at my church, and the topic is purpose and meaning. This verse is a perfect way to begin the conversation.
  • One of the participants in the church writing group sent me her essay, a work-in-progress, about the power of invitation. As I read her examples of intentional invitations, I thought about the many ways I have felt invited in my own life and yes, the times I have extended invitations.
  • An interview with Allison Townsend who wrote one of my favorite books of 2022, The Green Hour, A Natural History of Home. I read much of this book aloud as Bruce and I were driving to Cleveland last fall. We especially loved her descriptions of the Wisconsin landscape, but perhaps this is my favorite quote:

I tell my students. “It’s the lives we make despite those wounds and the stories we tell about them that matter.” And I quote again Isak Dinesen’s beautiful words: “All suffering is bearable if it is seen as part of the story.” “You must believe this,” I tell my students. “You must tell your stories”

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Weekly, sometimes daily, I receive meditations from Richard Rohr, Glenn Mitchell of Oasis Ministries, and Diana Butler Bass, and poetry from Steve Garnaas Holmes and Jim Borgschatz. I receive writing blogs from Jeannine Ouellette and Elizabeth Jarret Andrew. I listen to podcasts, Learning How to See with Brian McLaren, On Being with Krista Tippett, Love Period with Jacqui Lewis, and What Should I Read Next? with Anne Bagel. Each one is a gift, a blessing, a treasure, an offering.

And all this entered my life in one week.

I am blessed.

An Invitation

What gifts, blessings, treasures, offerings have you received recently? I would love to know.

October into November

Some people hide their heads in the sand, but, I guess, squirrels choose to hide their heads in the pumpkin. I love my pumpkins, and seeing them become squirrel food is frustrating, but I had to laugh. And some days you need to laugh.

We are bombarded these days with so much that worries us, especially as we head towards election day. How important it is to open ourselves to what amuses us and makes us smile, even if I wish my pumpkins had not become a feeding trough.

Sunday I drove through the neighborhood, stopping to fill Little Free Libraries with a stack of books —food for other readers, and I felt fed by what I saw.

What a gorgeous fall it has been, and I am grateful for each of these days; each one calling me to open my eyes, to find beauty, to notice what brings us comfort and joy. And to smile.

An Invitation

What feeds you these days. What has made you smile? I would love to know.

Window Blessings: The Spiritual Practice of Receiving and Sending

August 2, 2022


Every morning while making the bed, I pause and look out the window towards our backyard. This is what I see.

This is the view, thanks to the creative talents and physical efforts of the gardener in our house.

I stand at the window and receive a gift of color and the variety of shapes and textures. I see abundance and growth, reminding me to be grateful for the abundance and ongoing growth in my own life. I think about the season we are in and how each day may seem the same, but yesterday I did not see any roses on the tall rose bush, and today two are in view. Creamy with a blush of peach.

I wonder if the blueberry bushes are ready to be harvested again. A couple weeks ago I made muffins using our own blueberries, and I am eager to repeat the taste treat.

Standing at the window each morning, I receive energy for the day, even if I didn’t sleep well the night before. I wonder how I will be asked to bloom today or is it someone else’s turn?

I celebrate the miracle of creation, and I give thanks for the gardener in my life and his holy work.

This is sanctuary.

Love this Earth as if you won’t be here tomorrow; show reverence for your Garden as if you will be here forever.

Scottish Saying


Later in the morning I walk up the stairs to the garret and pause at the windows on the landing. I take a deep breath as my view expands over rooftops and into the backyards of neighbors.

In the stillness, I send blessings:

to the boys next door who seem to create their own universe, jumping on their trampoline. May your imaginations and energy enrich you and those who love you.

to the neighbor newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s. May you adjust to the new reality in your life.

to the neighbor across the alley who often forgets to shut her garage door and to the neighbors who do it for her. May you be safe.

to new neighbors on the block. May you find warmth and happiness here. May you find home here.

to each of the 22 children on the block. May you know fun and joy on this summer day.

to all those whom I don’t know, but who live within my view. May you feel support as you face whatever causes anxiety in your life. May you feel peace as you cross your own thresholds. May you know love.

The world is holy. We are holy. All life is holy. Daily prayers are delivered on the lips of breaking waves, the whisperings of grasses, the shimmering of leaves.

Terry Tempest Williams

And, I add, daily prayers are delivered, also, while looking out a window.

An Invitation

What do you receive as you stand at a window and what do you send beyond your window? I would love to know.