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Guest Author: 
Peggy Brewer

It was a typical painting party with varying degrees of talent. People had gathered to enjoy company in a creative way. And typical to each occasion, the accompanying loads of baggage came in the door. Baggage that whispered to some, “You’re not good at this,” to others, “You will fail.”

I set up the room with intention. The night progressed, conversations unfolded, moments were shared, and encouragement and honor for where people were in the process was given.

We looked for symbols in the unexpected accidents, admiring the developed talent of some, and enjoying the new creative experience for others.

What a gift it is to wake up and enter the day slowly. I work at home, and even though I hold to a fairly strict schedule, I grant myself the luxury of taking my time to awaken; a mindful beginning to what will surely be a busy day.

As the sun creeps over the hilltop, shining its first light on my little house tucked into the hillside, I notice its reflection on the bedroom window. This invites me to reflect, too. I think back over the day that just passed. I ponder the day that is yet to come. I watch the light expand across the wall and its gentle movement invites me to deeper reflection.

Guest Author: 
Veronica Drake

Having been raised in a very chaotic household, I learned very quickly if I was going to survive, I would have to find a way to create my own peace.

At nine-years-old, I realized that no matter what life outside of me was like, I could always be peaceful if I just lived in the exact moment I was experiencing no matter what that was.

Guest Author: 
Mariel McMullen

A fairytale always ends with the prince and princess living happily ever after. That is how we know it’s a story. Real life has more than just one huge problem to overcome. It has many challenges. A few are big ones, but most are just growing from one life stage to the next. The purpose of meeting and overcoming these challenges is to leave behind our preoccupation with ourselves and grow in love, compassion, courage, and gratefulness. I have found that while meeting these challenges, we can also have joy. It is a matter of focus. 

Guest Author: 
Linda Labelle

I am presently ministering in an Aboriginal parish in the city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, and my Sunday ministry is one of presence, of being with and listening to people. I have been graced with the privilege and honour of being the recipient of many sacred stories. People seem to just sit beside me and talk. Although we are an urban parish, Sundays often bring visitors from distant First Nations communities.

Guest Author: 
Tessi Rickabaugh

Sometimes I feel like I'm wasting everyone's time in spiritual direction. I meet with a seeker, spend an hour listening to them talk about their life. They share about their kids, relationships, desires, and goals; all things that you might discuss with a friend over coffee. I do my best to be present and open to the leading of Spirit, but if I manage to insert one wise question or thought into the hour we spend together, I feel like I'm doing pretty well.

Guest Author: 
Lauren Carlson

In an interview with Alicia Peck, radio host Krista Tippett contends, “Listening is a basic social art—it’s a virtue and something we have to practice. If you practice it, you get better at it ... we need a broader skill set in terms of not just navigating issues and problems and making changes, but of building a common life and creating a new reality we want to inhabit with others.” Whether intended or not, Tippett is making a connection between hospitality and listening. Both are necessary for building a common life and creating a new reality we’d like to inhabit with others.

Guest Author: 
Jean Wise

When God gathered all the ingredients together to create the recipe that he used to shape my soul, I think he forgot something. Hospitality.

I don't have a speck, a dash, or even a tiny smidgen of the stuff.

I envy those extroverts who love to entertain, open their doors to others, and engage in all the small talk at parties. Me? I 'd rather be by myself in my little corner of the world where everything is organized, predictable, and quiet.

Lately I have been seeing the gift of hospitality in a new light. I am learning to see this practice as more than just cooking, cleaning, and entertaining.

Guest Author: 
Janice L. Lundy

This past weekend my husband and I drove to Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, to attend a commencement ceremony. We intended to celebrate our daughter Taylor’s achievement of completing her master of science degree from the University of Michigan. As it turned out, we celebrated something quite different.

A bit of back story. The morning of her graduation, Taylor planned on getting to the ceremony on her own. She would take the bus to campus as she usually did, cap and gown in tow. No big deal. We were staying on the other side of town and would meet her at the auditorium.

Guest Author: 
Tessi Rickabaugh

My spiritual director is trying to help me reimagine how I make decisions. Sometimes I wonder if she regrets having taken on such a monumental job.

"I don't know if I should go to my dad's for the holiday," I say plaintively, wanting her to just tell me what I should do, so I don't have to make a decision that I know is going to upset someone. "I really don't want to go," I continue, hoping to goad her into giving advice even though, as a spiritual director myself, I should know better. "If I don't go, he'll be upset, and it's been a while, so I feel like I should go..." I trail off, looking at her, still hopeful.

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