Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God

Last summer I spent a month with the Benedictine Sisters of St. Gertrude's Monastery in Cottonwood, Idaho. The nuns had granted me an artist residency: a whole month to work on a manuscript I was writing and read and engage in what they called "holy leisure."  It was one of the greatest blessings I've ever had to live with these faithful women. I joined them twice each day for morning and evening prayer, during which the nuns sang the psalms. They would sing…

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God’s Care in the Ordinary

Things that seem ordinary or small but on further reflection are signs of God's care. after Gretchen Legler Three miniscule hummingbirds, iridescent green, alighting on the purple butterfly bush in my backyard. They have traveled thousands of miles to give me this moment of awe.The tiny fur ball puppy my friend adopted just before her father died of COVID. It prances about her yard, totters on hind legs to stand twelve-inches high, and falls asleep across her neck. A reminder grief cannot extinguish…

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The Traveler’s Psalm

Recently my dear friend's father died of COVID 19. Noble Dean was a member of Faith Lutheran Church in Caldwell, and a man whose life embodied, it seemed to me, Christ's promise of joy. It's hard to imagine a man who had a greater zest for life and for sharing it with everyone he met. You can read Noble's obituary here. As Noble was dying, his family gathered around him. His oldest grandson, an accomplished bass, led the family in some of Noble's favorite…

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A Cure for Heaviness

I feel heavy. My husband feels heavy, too. Not physically heavy, though there is some of that, but emotionally heavy. It feels a little like wearing one of those lead aprons they make you put on before you get your teeth x-rayed. I think I know where it comes from. A consequence of feeling anxious and fearful is that we become so focused on ourselves, we lose the ability to look beyond our own circumstances and see how we might help others. We—I—lose…

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What if prayer is most important when we feel the most doubt?

Is anyone else finding it hard to pray these days? I am finding it hard - not because the need isn't great or because my heart isn't willing; it's because I hardly know where to begin. On any given day, I have half a dozen urgent things I want to lay at God's feet. By dinner time it's up to a full dozen. And yet I find myself putting it off. Prayer that is. I’m worried God will want to know where I've…

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