Yearly Archives


A Time of Hope

Glimmers December 1, 2015

Dear Friends,

Advent has begun! In the Christian world, we have entered a time of “expectant waiting.” These four weeks are so much more than commercial preparations for Christmas. They invite us into a sacred time, a time of living with hope in the midst of uncertainty, or even despair.

I choose hope. With each step on my surgically repaired broken leg, I face some pain, look past fear, and believe I will walk and dance again. I hope. The image of my mother’s purple, paralyzed legs return, but so do memories of her courage and stamina. I gratefully absorb all of her legacy as I heal, one day at a time.

In the context of the world’s brokenness, however, my one broken bone seems so small…my one life, insignificant. The unending flow of Syrian refugees, the startling attack on citizens of Paris, and the confusing and constant images of gun violence in the U.S. come together in an anguished sob. I join my brokenness with the world’s, my grief with yours. It feels like we stand before a Well of Sadness as members of the human family. We stand together as individuals, each carrying concerns, fears, a hurting heart. This is the reality I bring to the season of hope this year.

Many of us try to avoid the Well of Sadness. When life brings loss, chaos, or betrayal, we skirt the edges to avoid the darkness and consuming pain we might find there. We are convinced there is no way out of such a place. It doesn’t matter that our own tears are part of the deep waters, the Well is to be avoided at all costs. The cost, though, is the best part of who we are. The journey through the Well of Sadness, no matter how we get there, brings us closer to our True Self, our Divine spark, our Source of Hope.

I’m reminded of a friend of mine who landed in Sadness a few years ago after a horrific loss. This month, she is hosting a Tree of Light event to remember loved ones and to assist the Syrian refugees. Like Mary and Joseph, like the refugees, she is making her own Advent journey with a hopeful heart. She courageously travels through the Well of Sadness and finds herself connected with folks across the world.

How can I do any less? I will keep going, aligning myself in prayer and in effort, with those facing great challenge. Each step, however risky, teaches me patience and courage. I, like my friend or the refugees or you, do not know the future. I surrender my attempts at control, I place my expectant heart in the hands of a loving God. I hope.

Peace be with you,


Living in an upside-down world

Glimmers November 28, 2015

Dear Friends,

It was a wonderful summer. The lake was back after a year with no water, and the dam fixed. My family and friends loved me into my 65th year of being alive. And I signed two book contracts, recommitting myself to the mystery of writing.

Then my fibula broke.

I could have written “I broke my leg.” Isn’t that the standard phrase to describe a broken leg? Instead, I chose “my fibula broke.” For me the difference is not that I named the bone. (Although I do like to learn and use anatomical terminology, it helps me know myself in a new way.) No, the difference is in the subject of the sentence…is it “I” broke my leg” or “My leg” broke? The difference matters to me, for I did not choose to break my fibula. It just happened.

My bone – a wonderful bone that has been a part of my walking, swimming and especially dancing – is broken. This one bone? I’ve taken it for granted, like every other bone in my body…every other cell, muscle, organ, squirting hormone and chemical interaction. I tend to take my life for granted as a rule, except for moments of grace.

Nothing can be taken for granted in this new way of being. As any of you who have experienced physical challenges know, every step (pun intended) of daily life must be rethought. “OK, I can move to that chair if I put my hands here…and push…but what about my foot, is there room to pivot?” Using the toilet? This requires balancing on one leg while pulling pants off and on with a wobbly four-legged walker between me and the hard ceramic tile floor. Sometimes fear appears, especially from my 65 year old, overweight and out-of-shape perspective. One sleepy night, my fear was realized …I fell. Down I went, crashing into the bathroom door before I hit the cold tile. I was OK… and clearly reminded how vulnerable I really am. In these moments, memories of my mother’s paralyzed legs return. When I was 2, her 27 year old body was smashed and changed forever in a car accident.

I look at my leg, it looks different compared to it’s stronger partner. I am grateful it will heal, but I cautiously wonder when I’ll be able to dance again. I don’t know when that day will be, so I choose to live inside of “this” day. The dials of my active, independent, extroverted lifestyle have been turned way down. Here, where I live, I am grateful for a ride to the doctor’s, a morning free from discomfort so I can write, or a neighbor coming over to share a cup of tea. Here, I embrace my quiet, dependent, introverted self and have come to love her. When I feel brave, I wonder how my mother must have felt when she lost freedom of movement forever… and I grieve for her. On this day, as I breathe in golden autumn coolness, I experience gentleness within myself and know this as a moment of grace.

Rumi says, “Don’t worry thatPicture with Moon shining on wateryour life is turning upside down. How do you know the side you are used to is better than the one to come?” Wise words, it seems to me, but a lot easier to accept when everything is right-side up! Living in an upside down world does not just invite change, it demands it. With a promise of new life, the upside down world invites humble acceptance of “what is.” The path before me is uncertain but I carry hope, and a few notes of dance music, in my heart. Today, surrounded by Love, I say yes. That’s the only step I can take.

Thinking of each of you with a grateful heart,


Face fears and feelings with strength and courage

Glimmers October 8, 2015

Dear Friends, prescription

I started to cry last night.

Defenses were down, sovaldi warm friendship held my heart, and I began sharing my “truth.” It’s as if I gave Sadness the permission to be real. Slowly, I felt the ache of loss, the sting of loneliness as Sadness revealed itself. Part of me wanted to run away. Part of me knew Sadness was just waiting, and would continue to wait, until I took the time to be sad.

My life took a little detour last week. I broke my ankle and ended up with surgery, plate and screws, and a future managed by medical appointments. Plans and trips were cancelled and my husband gained a new vocation in his retirement – caregiver. At this point, I feel like “me” except when I’m moving from one place to another….slowly. I’m learning new definitions for patience, freedom, hope, kindness. And sadness.

I share this with you so we can consider, together, how we care for our feelings…sadness in particular. I offer these thoughts with humility. Looking at the lives around us and the rest of the world, so many people face such difficulty and tragedy that my situation seems quite minor. In this larger context, it is minor. At the same time, it’s my leg and my life. The feelings that are triggered are part of me, as well.

I would suspect that most of us keep Sadness on a shelf. Unless it’s an immediate trauma or loss, we keep busy to avoid the feeling. Or we try to convince ourselves “it could be worse,” or “I have to stay strong.” The dull presence or the poignant twinge of emotion sit alongside our life, but rarely gains our full attention. Is it just the pain we are seeking to avoid? Or are there demands sitting underneath the pain, the prospect of change for example, if we accept the Sadness into our hearts and minds?

We humans often focus on achievement and responsibility at the cost of more tender places. We work to defend against painful feelings, but end up denying ourselves the fullness of who we are And we are, in fact, complex, amazing creatures! We are capable of accomplishment and strength, sincerity and presence. With mercy’s touch, we learn to accept and embrace ourselves, and step into the possibility of grace. Our “yes” to life – joys and challenges, sadness and love, hope and loss – is our “yes” to God. Today I say “yes,” even to the sadness. I desire to step (or hop at this point) into the possibility of grace and be who God created me to be.

A few years ago, I received these words from a dear friend, Loren. Her life ended too soon, but her passion inspires me today. As you read this quote, think about the strength and courage you need to accept your feelings. Trust God’s mercy to comfort you in your times of sadness, guiding you toward wholeness. Rely upon God’s love for you and these gifts of strength and courage as you share your “truth” and feel your feelings.

It takes strength to be firm, it takes courage to be gentle
It takes strength to stand guard, it takes courage to let down your guard
It takes strength to conquer, it takes courage to surrender
It takes strength to be certain, it takes courage to have doubt
It takes strength to fit in, it takes courage to stand out
It takes strength to feel a friend’s pain, it takes courage to feel your own pain
It takes strength to endure abuse, it takes courage to stop it
It takes strength to stand alone, it takes courage to lean on another
It takes strength to love, it takes courage to be loved
It takes strength to survive, it takes courage to live
David L Griffith

Peace to you, Lisa

The Heart of Things

Glimmers September 27, 2015

“The future has an ancient heart.” Carlo Levi  

Dear Friends,

I hope this September Glimmer finds you well. I always experience a “new year” feeling as Summer slides into Fall, this year is no exception. Do you carry the echoes of starting over at this time of year? I’ve been busy working on a book that will be published next year (another new beginning in Fall), and have been looking forward to reconnecting with you through my monthly missive.

Carlo Levi’s words set the direction for this Glimmer. I ask you to join me in considering them:

“The future has an ancient heart.”
picture of an ancient wood carving

Stop and think about it for yourself…

The future…all that is before me, mostly unknown except the promise of my death. Future…the time to come…opportunity…a gift.

An ancient heart…heart, evokes a tender image…love. Combined with ancient, I envision the promise of love that extends back through time. Love that is in my own story, my parents and grandparents, love that is part of my legacy as a human being. The image of ancient heart aligns my heart with the Source of Love.

We are not stranded here in this life, nor will we be as we move forward. The future’s vibrating reality will not shed the Source from which it came. Instead the future will carry the wisdom and tenderness of the ages. The future will inhabit the legacy of Love.

I write these words as a member of the human race, as one voice that embraces the both/and of being alive. When I look to the future, and embrace this vision, I find myself more fully in the Now. And this moment, this breath, is the mystery of God.

I write these words with an awareness of the tragedies that surround us in 2015, our “now.” While I explore the breadth and depth of Spirit, it is not done so in a vacuum. Currents of cruelty and confusion challenge our hearts everyday. That is why it is critical that we align ourselves with Love, with the ancient heart that beats throughout time. It is vital that we see ourselves, our value and our light as part of that Light of hope.

Seek and share your gifts, friends. Bring the treasure of your heart into service of the Ancient Heart that holds us all so tenderly. The world needs you, your family and friends need you. I need you.

With love and Mercy, Lisa

Live into who you are

Glimmers August 27, 2015

Sliding through the changes life brings

Glimmers July 27, 2015

Dear Friends,

As June turns into July, I’m wondering…what kinds of “turning” are you experiencing these days? How is change moving things around in your life and in your heart?

First, may I say it is a gift to be reaching out to you again. I’m considering offering more frequent communication from This Little Light. I really enjoy “the pause” when I think of each of you, pray for you, and become connected with you. Thank you for being there. I would suggest that “the pause” these Glimmers seek to offer is one way to process, even reverence, the moments in our lives. Is this a time of change for you? It is for me!

  • Perhaps if I name some particular examples you’ll understand my recent appreciation of change, transition and transformation.
  • I’ve started noticing the song birds around our house. We are building a relationship, the birds and I, that gives me such life! I observe their variety, melody, silliness and habits and find myself quieting down. Their song of life is teaching me, and I bring this joy with me out into the world.
  • I’ve accepted the invitation to listen deeply, with more intention and consistency. This “practice” moves me from simply “seeking answers” to becoming comfortable with the questions. I am learning that holding a question is a grace-filled way of being.
  • I made a change in my work life. I moved from hospital ministry to community-based chaplaincy, experiencing transition several months before I left, and now, three months later. Transition is both subtle and powerful, leaving its mark on my point of view, on feelings about the past, and on the limits of my eager heart.
  • I applied for Medicare. This rite of passage brought tears, not giggles, for me. I felt my vulnerability at this stage of life. I saw the many roads I have traveled so far and wondered what lay ahead. It seems these pivotal events that last a few hours or a few minutes reverberate through our stories, inviting our participation.

My words to you this month…respect and care for the influence of change in your life. How is it teaching you? What is it teaching you? Are you willing to learn? We know our contemporary and technological lifestyle favors moving on to the next thing, often as quickly as possible. Instead, slow down… watch the birds… breathe in the change. Experience how it feels in your body. Listen to your heart and trust its invitations. Pause as you cross the threshold. Wonder at your life, its joys and challenges, and consider the glimmers of light hiding in the corners or blinding your way. Let Love live in you.

with affection,


Care for the wounds of your heart

Glimmers June 26, 2015

Dear Friends,

How are you as this new month arrives? Although its raining today at Lake Beseck, the promise of summer has already lifted our hearts and opened the windows. Time to pause and reflect…

Years ago, I was given this little story and subsequently shared it with others. It offers a piece of wisdom that makes sense.

An elder Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me…it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, generosity, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, truth, compassion and faith. This same fight is going on inside you and every other person too.”

They thought about that for a moment, when one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The grandfather looked his grandchild in the eyes and said, “The one you feed.”

And that is the end of the traditional story. We hear it and nod our heads, don’t we? We think, “Yes, I am invited to embrace the good in myself and stop ‘feeding’ the bad that is within me.” We nod our heads and move forward in our lives, believing we follow the better path.

But these days I find the story incomplete, for it leaves out another option. It leaves out a fuller understanding of our complex humanity. For me, that which we reject – our pride or guilt or sadness or even anger – is not a flaw to be eliminated. It is evidence of wounds. It is a form of coping with life’s challenges.

To reach our fullness as human beings we are invited to move out of the either/or mentality, of choosing between these wolves. Instead, we are invited to adopt the both/and point of view. We are invited to embrace all of ourselves, for we are creatures of both joy and fear, both hope and envy, both empathy and guilt.

Another option? Do not starve the second wolf, instead offer it the sweet milk of compassion. Help it find a new way to be understood and heard. Listen to the wolf’s cries, and even its growls, and provide a soothing touch to calm its pain. Life is not a tale of win or lose, but of healing and hope.

                               Trust the wisdom found in the fullness of life. Trust the wisdom found in yourself.

with love, Lisa

The rhythms of life

Glimmers May 26, 2015

Dear Friends,

This May Glimmer comes just as the leaves are starting to show themselves in Connecticut. It was a long winter here, as you know, and Spring seems to be shy about arriving. Most of the people I talk to about the weather feel we deserve good weather because we have endured such a rough winter. It’s funny isn’t it? Why do we place entitlement on weather patterns?

I’ve been thinking about “rhythms” lately….the rhythms of weather, both daily and seasonally…or how about the rhythms of being busy or relaxed? Maybe this topic came up because I am in the process of creating my own daily rhythm, instead of responding to the demands of working for an employer. And I was thinking that many of the rhythms in people’s lives are imposed from the outside…a child needs you? you respond immediately. Refrigerator breaks? time to research brands and set up delivery. Friends ask for some time to visit or become too busy for a visit? you respond as it unfolds.

I was looking at one of our tall trees the other day, wondering when the leaves will arrive. As I considered the life of a tree, I realized picture of a tree about to bloomthe tree has a very slow rhythm. Unlike you and me, who dart around to complete, accomplish or do. The tree? It knows it’s job is to be. That’s all, just be. And it’s purpose in life, its “treeness,” is to be a tree. It’s calling is to wait, be, and slowly move through the yearly changes. The tree, by BEing, seemed to be teaching me about my own call to be.

Here’s my question for you. Is it possible to look at our lives and make choices that influence the patterns we follow every day? Can our rhythm be shaped from the inside, not just from outside influences? Can we respect our personal rhythms and make adjustments so we are living with greater connection to our true self and to the Divine? I’ve a friend who takes a “pause” after a meeting or encounter and checks in with herself. Instead of rushing to the next task, she is making a practice of listening inside, then trusting what she hears. She’s finding this new rhythm is keeping her more grounded and more “in the moment.”

We all hear God speak in different languages – a child’s laugh, a particular scripture, a brilliant sunrise or a moment of vulnerability. I would suspect, though, that regardless of the language chosen, our part in this conversation is our capacity to listen. To pause and to really listen. We will not hear Love through that little one’s laugh or a friend’s tears of gratitude unless we slow down. Our personal rhythm needs regular quiet time if we are to experience the fullness of life, the fullness of who we are.

Just as the tree is being “tree,” I am being called to be “me.”

with love, Lisa

What does holy look like for you?

Glimmers April 26, 2015

Dear Friends,

As I begin this April Glimmer, my mind and heart turns to each of you. It really does! I’ve heard from enough of you to realize that we’re in a conversation – even if it happens only once a month. I have learned that my thoughts, feelings and prayer join with yours and in doing so, we create something new…maybe even something holy.

And so, I’m wondering…what does “holy” mean to you? Where do you find “the holy” in your life? It seems an appropriate theme this month as Christian friends walk through Holy Week and Jewish friends prepare for Passover. We usually find an understanding of “holy” in our religious traditions and stories – they invite us to move into realms such as freedom and resurrection that transcend our day-to-day experience. It’s a gift, in fact, to find an experience of “the holy” in our worship and to share it’s Presence in community.

But so many look outside religion for inspiration or may have stopped looking. And that pattern invites the question...What does “holy” look like for you? Years ago, I watched and listened as a nursing home caregiver combed and braided a patient’s hair. Her gentle movements and tender touch joined with a sweet melody as this holy moment unfolded. This caregiver’s song invited grace into the room. Another image comes from a friend who has set aside a place in her house for prayer and meditation. This space, cared for and filled with intention and love, has indeed become a holy space and supports her relationship with the Divine.

Yesterday, a friend told me about watching Boston Marathon bombing survivors coming onto the field at Red Sox Spring Training in Florida. As she described the scene and her own emotional response to it, I found myself praying for these innocent victims and those that did not survive. I entered into an awareness of the holy, as the horror of their lives sunk in. For me, when things make no sense I stop trying to cram the facts into a box of logic. I let go and ask Love to enter, to soothe, to heal all of us who’ve experienced or witnessed pain.

Holy is easily seen in the swell of a young mother’s belly or a young father’s kiss on the forehead of his sweet baby. Holy blazes forth as the sun breaks out into the morning sky and the birds rejoice. I invite you to look for your holy moments, wherever they may be. After you find them, stop. Pause. Reflect. Be.

“The Holy” invites to step into the fullness of life, the whole of life. Holy moments embrace brokenness and discord for they, too, are part of the amazing wholeness of creation. Holy moments remind us of fundamentals…being, trusting, loving. And for me, dear friends, this is one of those holy moments. As I write to you my heart reaches
out in love. As I see you in my mind’s eye, I
trust that which is greater than you and I. Our conversation becomes our communion as I let go into God. Be well…

With love, Lisa

What does forgiveness feel like?

Glimmers March 26, 2015

Dear Friends,

Thinking of you on this snowy Sunday in Connecticut. Another storm for New England, requiring acceptance and adjustment…and snow shovels! I’ve been watching the birds this winter, pecking at the snow-frosted suet. I admire their patient flitting about, in and among the snowflakes. I wonder where they go when it’s dark or when the wind lifts the falling snow to a horizontal line. It seems the birds have made peace with Winter, letting go of an expectation of safety or comfort.

My own relationship with Winter invites a contemplative stance…. today I’m considering forgiveness. When I seek forgiveness, I imagine someone seeing my flaw, my error and telling me it’s OK. Telling me, am OK. They see and accept my error, and forgive me. And when I’m called to forgive someone, I imagine myself looking deep within myself and finding the compassion that helps me accept their error or unthinking action – even if it hurts me very much.

                                            If I want to forgive them, I keep trying to send loving energy their way…..f-o-r-g-i-v-e-n-e-s-s.

Does this make sense to you? Our Christian tradition certainly teaches this sort of dynamic. We ask God to “forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” It’s as if forgiveness is a gift you bestow or receive. But what if that energy-exchange image is an incomplete way of looking at our capacity to forgive?

The Aramaic word (Jesus’ language) for forgive is “shbag.” It means: to cancel, to let loose or to untie. This ancient language offers a glimpse into healing found through a deeper experience of forgiving. When I forgive someone, I am invited to let loose of the toxic memory that this hurt has created. When I bring forgiveness into my heart and mind as I consider a long-ago or recent pain, I am encouraged to untie the hold this pain has on me. Instead of force-fitting an ethic of forgiveness into a hurting wound, imagine a wash of Love flowing over the wound, over the memory, and encouraging the strands of pain and bitterness to untie…release…let go.

This understanding of forgiveness allows healing to cross time and space and does not require the participation of an unwilling, or even deceased, person. It does require, however, courage and trust. We step into a conscious relationship with our own vulnerability. Hopefully, we do so with confidence of a loving God in our Present Moment.

                                                               To forgive is to surrender our pain to Love.

We, like the birds of winter, are invited to trust that our needs will be met. As we flit through our lives, may Love live in our hearts and lift our wings toward Hope.

Peace to you this month of March,