Ten Ways To Be Silent

If you’re looking for a way to slow down during Holy Week, I recommend trying a little silence. You only need 3-10 minutes – even 30 seconds. But what do you do with any amount of silence? Just sit there? When I had the chance to stay at a hermitage on my sabbatical last fall, […]

Vigils, or Lying Awake in The Middle of The Night

Dedicated to all the adults I know who, especially as they grow older, struggle to sleep through the night, including myself. Vigils, from the Latin vigilia, “wakefulness”: a period of purposeful sleeplessness, an occasion for devotional watching, the monastic night office.   Part of adulthood, it seems is waking up at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. and […]

Solitude and Crowds in Orlando

We came to Florida on a two-day road trip last week with some dear friends for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Assembly, a biannual meeting of my husband’s entire denomination. Denominational assemblies are giant conventions. Instead of business people, dentists, or people in Star Wars costumes, you have a motley crew of church […]

Laryngitis as a Spiritual Discipline

I’ve barely spoken for the past four days. Who knew laryngitis could last this long? (It’s getting better, so no one should worry.) It’s also been a really fascinating experience. Ten days ago, I got a bad cold and was in bed for 3 days. I was well enough to preach and preside on Sunday, […]

Tiny Houses and Hermits

When I’m stressed, I like to read books about hermits: Thomas Merton, W. Paul Jones, Karen Karper, Sara Maitland… I’m becoming my mother, a notorious introvert, who likes nothing better than holing herself up at home and speaking to no one all day long. I used to think she was a bit silly and even […]

December Dog Walk

I love taking walks in winter. It’s still. Nobody is around. Everything is exposed down to the most basic level. And I love the cold, when I have a coat and gloves, anyway. Of course, gloves have to come off for taking photos, so for a number of these, so I lost the feeling in […]

My Favorite Monastery

I’ve been visiting monasteries since I was in college. This is my favorite – Holy Wisdom, in Madison, Wisconsin. The land is sort of magical — one of those places where “the veil is thin.” The rooms and buildings have a spare and open aesthetic. The sisters are brainy, sing their prayers in inclusive language three […]

Rabbit season

April is a cruel month to be a beagle indoors. The rabbit population explodes and is eminently visible from the windows, glass doors, and end of the leash, every day. Our beagle, Odo, shivers with anxiety and anticipation and pierces the air with ringing, frantic barks. It’s the one time of year I wish we […]