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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.

Guest Author: 
Therese Taylor-Stinson

Apparently, some who call themselves contemplative have merely found a way to justify their own procrastination, to explain their introversion, or to defend their unwillingness to change directions in the face of injustice and to remain silent when there is a need to speak. I have learned that our practice of contemplation requires integration into our callings and lifestyles. So that contemplation can be whole, it must consist of both inward solitude and reflection, and an outward response to the situations in which we find ourselves present and awake.

In the chapter "Traditional Methods of Contemplation and Action" by Elemire Zolla in Contemplation and Action in World Religions, the editor writes:

Guest Author: 
Lauren Burdette

“Mommy! You’re home!” My nearly three-year-old son shouts as I walk in the door. He runs at me full tilt, wraps his arms around my legs, and says, “I love you SO much!”

Guest Author: 
Christine Williams

My name is Enthusiasm, and I’d like to offer my services to you. I believe in modern terms you would call this a “sales pitch.” However, I find “sales pitch” somewhat demeaning, considering the incredible value I can bring to your life.

Although I have existed since the beginning of time, my language derivative comes from Latin and Greek words meaning inspired or possessed by a god. I hope you don’t think I am bragging but quite honestly, I was named appropriately, for if you have an abundance of me in your life, you will experience a joie de vivre that is quite enviable by both divine and human standards. Let me explain.

Guest Author: 
Therese Taylor-Stinson

My husband and I took a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon to serve the homeless, to give back because both of us know, "...but for the grace of God, go I."

Guest Author: 
Stephen Grindle

In seminary while training to become a spiritual director, I spent a lot of time focusing on my personal narrative. From personality tests, to life maps, to extended solitude retreats, to required hours in therapy and spiritual direction, I became extremely aware of the uniqueness of my journey. I understood the ins and outs of my temperament, my history and how that affected my relationship with God, what my temptations were, and how to put language to my emotions. As I became more self-aware however, I found myself diminishingly fascinated by the larger narrative of God found in nature and scripture.

Guest Author: 
Terri Pahucki

From dawn to dusk, summer is ablaze with rejoicing. Purple morning glories open to welcome the sun; lightning bugs flash like tiny firecrackers celebrating the end of another day.

Walking beside a favorite creek, I witness the daily festival: the monarch butterflies dance through wildflowers, bushes overflowing with ripe red raspberries, turquoise dragonfly wings whirling over water. Rejoice and be glad! Summer’s invitation calls me to dance and splash, my spirit leaps with delight in the glory and fullness of life.

I recall Saint Francis of Assisi’s joyful Canticle of the Sun, “All praise be yours, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth, who sustains us and governs us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Guest Author: 
Antoinette Voûte Roeder

I had been offering spiritual direction informally for less than a year when I attended my first residency of the Pacific Jubilee Program for Spiritual Direction in the summer of 1992. My only training up to that point had been completing Annotation 19 of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, as well as the follow-up year of spiritual companions. The latter paired each participant with a partner, and we listened deeply to one another, undoubtedly picking up some skills and experience, and all of this under supervision. 

Guest Author: 
Cynthia Bailey Manns

“I will not follow where the path may lead,
but I will go where there is no path, and I will leave a trail.”

—Muriel Strode

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