Guest Author: 
Stephen Grindle

In the animated film, Inside Out, a girl named Riley Anderson’s story is told as seen through her emotions. Each emotion, played by a character inside Riley’s head, is vying for the chance to overtake particular memories Riley has. During her infant and childhood years, each of Riley’s memories is represented by a glass ball colored by the dominant emotion she feels at the time of the occurrence. If she is angry, the memory is colored red. If she’s joyful, it’s colored yellow.

Guest Author: 
Fr. Jim Clarke

Fifteenth century German Dominican mystic, Meister Eckhart once remarked, “If the only prayer you ever said in your whole life was ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”

Gratefulness is at the heart of prayer and everything else that is sacred. This is what faith really is—giving thanks for reality as it is, not as we would have it be. It is the necessary starting point and the ending place of all things sacred. It is the ideal stance of the human heart before God and the cosmos.

Guest Author: 
Carissa A. Kane

With the sun shining down on my shoulders, waist high in the ocean with waves rising and falling, a feeling of gratefulness washes across my soul. It is similar to the feeling of standing on the top of a mountain looking at the valley and taking in the terrain all around.  

Guest Author: 
Jean Wise

An unexpected guest accompanied me on my retreat last spring. I didn’t invite her. She surprised me with her presence.

She popped up in the verses I read. My spiritual director mentioned her. I heard her in my nightly dreams

Her name is Wisdom.

Being mindful of those nudges, whispers, and repeated sightings when a word or topic appears in multiple moments can be a powerful spiritual practice. They pique our curiosity. Our mind becomes alerted that a new lesson is coming.

My spiritual director had been urging me to be patient and watch for what bubbles up within me on its own.

Wisdom appeared.

What was this presence? Who was she? It was like meeting a new person, and we seemed to click. The invitation was to get to know her better.

Guest Author: 
Christine Sine

These last couple of months have been rough ones for me. A property I own with my husband has been vandalized, and in spite of the sense of God’s presence with us in the discernment process we are going through, I still struggle with questions of “what if?” I have also faced health challenges that have restricted two of my greatest pleasures: walking and gardening. Whether it is for a season or forever I do not know.

In the midst of these challenges I am learning to let go, rest, and enjoy the gifts of each moment. Paul’s words in Philippians inspire me.

Guest Author: 
Therese Taylor-Stinson

The 2015 Wild Goose Festival in July was the festival’s fifth celebration at the intersection of arts, spirituality, and justice. For the third year, it was in Hot Springs, North Carolina, USA, which is on the Appalachian Trail. For me, this festival is a throwback to the 1960s and Woodstock—a notable American music festival. While the music at “the Goose”' is spiritual, the festival celebrants are mainline-evangelicals across the human spectrum, and the content is theologically Christian and justice-oriented.

Guest Author: 
Bruce Calvin

One of the ways I have cared for my soul and myself over the last fifteen years is by participating in an early music festival. Music is a significant part of my own spirituality, and playing music together builds solid friendships with a very diverse group of people.

Each week of the festival a silent auction raises significant money for the non-profit festival. For the first time this year I felt moved to offer an hour of spiritual direction as one of the silent auction items.

I immediately felt resistance to the idea of making the offer. What if the organizers refused to include my hour of spiritual direction in the auction? What should I set as the opening bid, and how much might people be willing to bid? What if no one bid on it? How would it compare with people offering massages or private music lessons?

Guest Author: 
Carissa A. Kane

Whenever I read or hear the word "encourage," a memory and image of my cousin Mark immediately comes to mind. I was around six-years-old at the time and loved sports, especially basketball. Mark and his family were among the first to arrive at my house for a barbecue.

Guest Author: 
Lauren Carlson

A clever little book entitled, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up seems to be showing up everywhere in my life. By focusing on what “sparks joy,” author Marie Kondo encourages readers to purge themselves of unnecessary material objects. I suspect one reason for Kondo’s popularity—her book was recently ranked as a number one-selling New York Times best-seller—is the overwhelming volume of stuff people acquire over a lifetime.


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