IN THE GARDEN, AT SUNSET: a lesson in listening

FullSizeRender 12.jpg

I came outside to listen, but all could I hear was noise– the hum of the car next door, an audiotape blaring through closed windows.

I thought I might hear from the seeds in my garden bed, but they were quiet.

Instead, my dog whines at dogs passing by. The crickets begin to sing, telling me an age-old story, I’m sure.

The birds are quieter tonight than they were this morning, and I understand that I am still practicing how to notice–

how to be aware;

how to hear the


when the rest of the world is speaking.

But it would seem that the trees speak, too, even in the stillness, and I see up toward the sky a baby bird bobbing left to right in a nest, waiting for its parents to bring home dinner. I’d never noticed before.

Mosquitos are flocking to my skin– early in march, early because heat finds us in winter nowadays and makes the earth hotter than it should be.

I look up again and I can’t find the baby bird, because maybe it was only meant to be found in that one, sacred moment.

I wonder, often lately, what the birds think of us– what the hawks soaring overhead wonder about the gossiping, grouchy, sometimes gracious people below.

I never noticed before that the large pine tree to my right curves a little the higher up her trunk you look. She knows she’s beautiful, I think. She knows she’s wise.

A cardinal enjoys an evening meal at the bird feeder, and I’m close enough that I can hear the seeds crack in his tiny orange beak– it is a gift to notice.

And it is there that I realize, maybe the seeds did bring me here, after all.

Maybe the best place to view the world in this very moment is from the ground, at the edge of the garden, at sunset.

I go inside and the husky asks with his eyes what I’ve seen.

I silently say as I scratch his head, anything and everything, Pup.

Anything and everything. 


7 Gratitudes: pray & be grateful (when words are few)


” Awakened by surprise, we can recognize that what we call a ‘given’ world is truly given. For we have not made it, earned it, or deserved it; chances are that we have not even fully approved of it. What confronts us is a given reality, and we recognize it as given. But only if we acknowledge this gift will our recognition lead to gratefulness. And acknowledging a gift may be far more difficult than recognizing it.” –Brother David Steindl-Rast, Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer

Last night I found unexpected solace in saying a bedtime prayer. My husband is out of town for a few days, and in that nearly quiet, I spoke to the air knowing that there is a force of great love in the reality of Jesus around me.

I mourned yesterday, again, in my soul and in my mind. Police raided what was left of Standing Rock camp, arresting a number of people. I pulled away long enough to dig in my garden and play baseball with my five year old, but my heart is so heavy with a years-and-years long reality that my native brothers and sisters are recognized as less than worth the energy and effort to be cared for.

Still, it isn’t over. Something has begun, so in my weariness I hold onto that reality. I pray and I rest and I remember and I educate myself and my boys.

But this morning, I need gratefulness. I need to recognize this life as a gift, and my response must be a response of gratitude for all I’ve been given.

Are you with me?

So, along with my dear friend Leanna and a few others, I  count what I can be grateful for. These are simple and my words are few, because some days, gratefulness comes quietly.

  1. Smudging.  Every afternoon I light sage, pray, and breathe. I began doing this a few months ago, and to my surprise, it became something I looked forward to every day. It calms me and cleanses me, reminds me to stop and to breathe— something we could certainly use a little more of these days. pray-breathe
  2. An afternoon at the river with our dog. FullSizeRender 9.jpg
  3. A date night at an Irish pub. statues
  4. Progress on my book, with a fancy new hashtag: #gloryhappening! Join me in recognizing the glory of our everyday spaces, and share on social media where you find scared spaces, not unlike where we find spaces fit for gratefulness. I’ve got a national book signing date in October and a speaking slot at the Wild Goose Festival this July. I couldn’t be more grateful for the gift of writing. never fade.png
  5. This guy and his heart for our family, his work, and the world. img_6714
  6. Flower Power, seriously. We live in a house that we’re told was once inhabited by a WWII widow, and her passion was plants. As spring approaches, we are greeted by southern blooms that I had no idea existed, and as we grow our own garden, her spirit rests with us in this place, especially in the heart of this five year old boy who loves nature to the very core of his being.img_6691
  7. And then, there’s this guy.You don’t know love for Legos until you meet him, because he spends his whole day in a LegoLand, fighting the bad guys and making the world right again. img_6727

“A lot of us religious types go around saying thank you to God when we find a good parking space, or locate the house keys or the wandering phone, or finally get a good night’s sleep. And while that may be annoying to the people around us, it’s important because if we are lucky, gratitude becomes a habit.” –Anne Lamott, Help Thanks Wow


Snapshots & Fortune Cookies

“We must always have old memories and young hopes.”

I’ve written this quote by Arsene Houssaye down again, because the words still weigh heavy and pierce so deep.

After filing taxes, we went to eat at Hunan Manor– of course, to celebrate that in a month we will have some money.

This piece of paper slipped out of Trav’s fortune cookie, and he handed it straight to me:


This, in 9 simple words, reflects my life right now.

These next 5 months will absolutely flash by,  and we’ll be gone, on to new hopes.

But, like a gardener, I want to dig my fingers deep into the soil of this life season, and see the fruit of my work spring forth.

kaits wedding 1

I’m going to write on some “snapshots” of our time here– places we’ve frequented, people we’ve adored, experiences that have transformed us.

Because I need to process, and in saying good-bye, I need closure with the place where I bore my babies and drank good coffee and ate mexican food.

It’s the place where we fell in love with neighbors as they fell for our kids, where our gardens didn’t always grow, but we still planted.

Because one day, this place will become old memories.

We will dig fingers into unknown and new soil soon, young hope in every pulse.

Old memories, young hopes.

Please join me as I reminisce; a scrapbook of the heart, a journaling of life sweetly lived.