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Stillness

Sit still and take several deep breaths. Close your eyes. What do you hear? The refrigerator’s hum? The ticking of a clock? A bird outside? Listen for a few moments. Open your eyes. What do you see? The wisp of cloud that is is smeared across on an otherwise clear, blue sky? Your daughter’s smile?

Slow down your mind today and notice something you’ve been missing. Maybe it’s the way carrots bleed orange on the cutting board when you chop them. Or maybe it’s the flecks of gold in your son’s brown eyes.

Maybe it’s a desire for more stillness that gently tugs at your sleeve.

— Jennifer Grant, Wholehearted Living, p. 71

My daughter picks up a dozen rocks a day on the road by our house. Not special, beautiful rocks, but common pebbles. She lines them up on our windowsills and they become works of art. My son collects sticks and fallen tree limbs. A feather or a piece of beach glass is a treasure to them.

The art critic John Berger once imagined heaven as invisible but close; we might find it, he mused, by simply picking up the saltshaker. The small and unremarkable are transformed in an instant by this God who is both infinite and near, vast and small enough to fit in a palm, in a wafer of bread.

— Jessica Mesman Griffith, in Daily Inspiration for Women, p. 118

Child’s voice

God! God! With a child’s voice I cry,

weak, sad, confidingly —

God! God!

— Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “The Soul’s Travelling”

God’s garden

The kiss of the sun for pardon,

the song of the birds for mirth,

one is nearer God’s heart in a garden

than anywhere else on earth.

— Dorothy Frances Gurney, “God’s Garden”

Caring

They came

laden with armfuls

of food

and hearts overflowing

with endless

laughter.

They came

with a sense of well-being

and a generous spirit,

leaving behind

in their own home and heart

tribulations

in need of caring.

They came,

these great aunts of mine,

to steady and strengthen

my motherless mother

tending ten siblings

in the Great Depression.

They came,

not for the purpose

of teaching or preaching,

but to lend a hand

in a troublesome time.

They came

with resilient spirits,

messengers of how to endure

and thrive,

to find joy

in pieces of brokenness.

They came

leaving a legacy

in the ancestral lineage,

the hope

of better times

when all seems lost.

— Joyce Rupp, “The Aunts”, in Fly While You Still Have Wings, p. 9-10

Spirituality

Among the people I grew up with, certain experiences were considered spiritual and good. People used specific vocabulary to talk about spirituality. By the time I was a teenager, I felt that my spirituality could practically be measured and judged and had to meet expectations.

I had to break free from all of that during young adulthood. It was painful but necessary. One blessed evening, I realized that “spirituality” wasn’t really up to me. I could receive it, participate with it, and enjoy it, but I could not manufacture it. My life of faith was resurrected then, and my later life has remained focused not on judgment but on grace.

— Vinita Hampton Wright, in Daily Inspiration for Women, p. 236

Many of us struggle to picture God having a sense of humor. Our default image of God is of a stern, unsmiling judge, someone who can kill with a glance and who never cracks a smile. And yet every one of us knows the power of a good laugh. We’ve all been rendered delightfully speechless by laughter, and we all know the relaxed, depleted-yet-happy feeling that comes afterward.

Why do we find it so hard to imagine God feeling the same? It’s time to consider that maybe God gave us the ability to laugh because God knows firsthand just how marvelous it feels to do so.

— Ginny Kubitz Moyer, in Daily Inspiration for Women, p. 47

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