Yearly Archives


Can we stay tethered to Love in the midst of uncertainty?

Glimmers December 3, 2016

Dear Friends,

I have missed you! When I sit in this chair and think of you, my heart warms up and smiles! I am grateful for our connections found through word and image, I am truly grateful for you. Blessings on you and your loved ones today and every day.

“Love is the gravity of our soul.”  

These words of St Bonaventure speak to my heart this Advent. They create a compass I can rely upon in this time of change and uncertainty. They remind me of what I know in the deepest places of who I am, Love will show the way.

Sometimes fear prevents me from staying grounded in that truth…fear of not getting my needs met, fear of cruelty’s poison in the world, or simply fear of a new pain in my body. When fear seeps in, I lose my mooring and I lose my way. But then, a word, touch or a sweet bird flying across the winter sky appears, and I remember. I am held fast by Love.

Sometimes forces gather and all my fears come tumbling in at once, it can be overwhelming. I have learned to trust the line that holds me close to Love’s berth, I just hold on as best I can. Other reminders appear, like the anticipation of seeing my children again or a neighbor’s generosity. Or the words to a song that rises above fear and doubt, leading me back home to Love.

David Wilcox’s “Show the Way,” (1995) is my gift to you as the night gets longer and the air colder. Let’s pray these words together as we await the Light that always breaks through the darkness.Love can show the way…

It is love who mixed the mortar
And its love who stacked these stones
And its love that made the stage here
Though it looks like we’re alone.
In this scene set in shadows
Like the night is here to stay
There is evil cast around us
But it’s love that wrote the play.
In this darkness
Love can show the way.  

with love, Lisa

What are the lessons in YOUR life?

Glimmers November 5, 2016

Dear Friends,

The squirrels will not give up! It would be comical if it wasn’t so annoying! And distracting! I’m supposed to be working at the computer, but instead I’m watching their antics. We are new to the world of birds and bird feeders, just starting our second year. I think the squirrels gave us a pass in the first few months, giving us time to enjoy all the new visitors. But as time went by, these furry-tailed rodents became more insistent, and creative. Their leaps became longer, their visits more frequent. Despite the baffles and squirrel-buster techniques, I think they are here to stay.

I imagine there is a lesson here for me, perhaps you more experienced “birders” have come to peace with the unwanted guests? As I look out this November morning, my heart is calmed by the mourning dove’s silhouette as she walks up the shed’s roofline. I smile at the nut hatcher who pecks for food while upside down. The tufted titmouse bounces from arm to arm of the black metal stand before setting down with some seed. All is right with the world, and then…(cue the soundtrack from “Jaws”)…instead of nicely rustling around in the leaves below, picking up the leftover seeds and shells, Squirrel remembers, “There are seeds in yonder ‘hills’!” and the ritual begins again.

Squirrel doesn’t give up, and her tenacity inspires me. I suspect the rewards are few compared to her heroic efforts, but persistent determination keeps her going. Could that be the lesson for me today? Is Squirrel teaching me to respond to the challenges in my life with purpose and renewed stamina?

Right now, it’s time for me to go to my water aerobics class. When I get back, its time to work on edits for my book. Its time for me to climb up that pole, leap from that shed, and trust I will land where seeds are plentiful. It’s time to rely upon my life-giving instincts and keep going!!

with affection, Lisa

Can I let go with the same grace as the leaves of fall?

Glimmers October 5, 2016

Dear Friends,

Here in Connecticut, Fall is welcomed with pumpkins on the porch and warm apple cider on the stove. These rituals help us say goodbye to the warm pleasures of Summer. The wind blows new beginnings into my heart, a leftover from back-to-school rhythms, I suspect. What will happen in this new year of learning?

Is the cardinal, who keeps visiting, trying to tell me something? Or how about the book I am looking for on the shelf or in a stack somewhere… is the fact I can’t find it telling me that its not yet time to read it? These kind of questions mystify me. They invite me into a new way of thinking….a way without clearcut answers. When I don’t have an answer, though, I get a little nervous. There is security in certainty, my preferred route. But life keeps presenting unpredictable, or challenging, questions without answers. And I remember words I that resisted the first time I heard them, “Maybe the answer is not yours to know.”

Let’s say, I accept this open-ended approach to life. Let’s say, I say yes to Mystery, even when it touches the details of MY life. What would that feel like? How do I wrap my control-desperate mind around a call to such deep surrender? Today, I embrace the words of Dag Hammarskjold as my mantra for the new “school year.” May I, may we, cultivate a heart open to Mystery…

               “For all that has been – Thanks. For all that shall be – Yes.”

with affection, Lisa

What do we see in the reflections?

Glimmers September 6, 2016

Return to the Lake

Oh, its been too long. Too long since I’ve sat here and received your wisdom. The September sky changed everything, and I remembered. Without you, without the created world that surrounds me when I sit with you…I lose touch.

I love looking out at the expanse of the lake, especially when the sky’s reflection doubles the view. I see the lake below and the lake above, parallel colors, but not exactly the same. I love entering the scene, becoming a part of it, just another bit of mystery – like the sky, the ducks, the ripples in the water. I find great freedom in that imagining – is my fear stronger than the trees that withstand the cold of winter? Is my stress more important than the swan protecting her family? Instead, I see my life’s tasks and tensions become a part of the wholeness around me, my concerns aligned with Mystery and I can let go.

My dear friends,

It’s been two and a half years since I started This Little Light. Since then, my monthly Glimmers have become part of my prayer and, I hear, part of your life. I have embraced digital communication and hope it will help you and I continue to learn from one another. This November, I plan to launch a new website that shares the vision of Light we have been enjoying and offers a more consistent message through a blog format. I hope you will join me in this venture. Thanks to the return emails from many of you, I experience my writing as dialogue with you. Its sacred, really, to know there is an exchange between us in the midst of our solitary lives. A blessing, freely given and received.

I will still email and post monthly Glimmers with observations and (hopefully) inspirations, the blog will have a separate theme: Return to the Lake. It has come to me that if I slow down long enough, I can hear the wisdom around me. It is healing for me and perhaps will be helpful to you.

Blessings on the little children who go off to school this September. Blessings on each of you who face challenges and fears. Blessings on those who pray for healing, body, mind and soul.

With love, Lisa

See yourself through others eyes

Glimmers August 2, 2016

Dear Friends,

July’s gifts were many…warm summer nights, freedom found through vacations and long weekends, and heat that forced us to slow down. I hope you found some pleasure in your July this year. I chose to make the most of my flexible calendar, attending three lengthy experiences away from home – finding new faces, uncomfortable beds and the loving support of my husband when I returned home each time. I might have planned too much, but am grateful for what I learned. Enough for a year’s worth of Glimmers, but let me share an observation about meeting new people.

At 66, you would think I’d be used to the process of making a new friend. But as I age and gain perspective, I look at this (and other) phenomenon differently. First, I don’t take it for granted. People are often comfortable with their circle of friends and don’t exert the effort needed to get to know someone new. I understand the ease of long-term friendships, certainly treasure my own. But since I’ve felt the “closed door” version of relationship, I am sensitive to those who turn to me with an expectant smile and an unspoken desire to be known.

Then there’s my need to be known…and liked…and approved of…its exhausting! I’ve worked hard to “clean up” my neediness and like most of us, I enjoy the connections found in friendship. I try not to let my needs get in the way, instead I focus on the person in front of me, the gift that she or he is at this moment of our encounter. As I hear stories, understand points of view, and experience an emotional presence, I’m aware of grace stepping into the conversation.

When I, when we, open our hearts to a new person we are saying yes to the possibility of love. We are saying yes to vulnerability in the midst of our story, our fears, our desires. How brave we are! How beautiful! Each time we let go into an unexpected intimacy, we meet a new side of who we are, as well. We place it before another and risk their willingness to meet us right there – in that moment. I had a few of those encounters in my time away from home, Each felt like a blessing, a gift of love flowing over me and into my heart. This summer’s legacy will be these memories of sweet affection found in a complicated life. May it be so for you too, my friends.

With thanks for your friendship, Lisa

Calling upon prayer…

Glimmers July 1, 2016

Dear Friends,

I was all set to write about the ups and downs of writing and publishing a book. Or, the gift of a quiet moment and its role in leading me to a place of peace. I’ve also been thinking about summer life on a lake and the lessons of birds and clouds and floating. But then I got the phone call… my friend’s husband died. He was not ill, this was not expected. My mind tried to comprehend the news and to place it in a context that made sense. But it makes no sense. In the middle of my ordinary, but enjoyable, life, my friend’s world just turned upside down.

I have no platitudes to offer, which is just as well. They might make me feel better but they won’t help my friend. I can’t comprehend her pain, and will admit to myself that I don’t really want to join her in the screaming gash of emptiness that loss can bring. I feel helpless as I slowly sink into memories of my own losses. If you’ve read this far perhaps you’re wondering why I’m sharing this news with you. Maybe you’re the kind of person who would rather think of sunny thoughts on sunny days. I’m sharing this news because I seek to write to you from my deepest place, my authentic place. And today, that place is sitting with the weight of my friend’s pain.

As God would have it, my deepest place is also where I rest with Love in my heart. So in this case, I don’t have to go very far to bring my friend to prayer. I see her face in my mind, and ask Love to surround her with comfort. I hear her voice in my memory and ask Love to sustain her as she sorts out the details before her. I recall her warm presence and pray that those closest to her will give her a safe place to collapse should she need one.

I guess this July Glimmer is about prayer. At this most helpless time of grief, it’s all I have to offer my friend. At the same time, it’s everything. My friend is a woman of prayer, but I suspect the trauma of losing her husband has shaken her heart, perhaps rocked her faith. So on her behalf, I enter the reality of Love as I know it, and call out her name. I return to the experience of Love that is planted deep within my heart, bringing her with me. Together, we wait for healing.

In the midst of deep sadness, I know it will come, I know Love is here.

Thinking of you on this summer day with love,


Staying present to disappointment

Glimmers June 5, 2016

Dear Friends,

I’ve been thinking about “disappointment.”

Do you know disappointment? Do you know the “downer” feeling when things don’t go your way and, as a grown up, you’re supposed to accept, adjust and “move on?” Disappointment feels like a dark cloud between me and the elusive contentment that I prefer….Moving on? How?

I seem to stay in the sad place when my hopes and expectations are not met…. longer than I would like. AND on top of that, I feel guilty for my inability to let go of my disappointment! I think, what do you have to be disappointed about Lisa? Look at people around you who face serious illness, can’t find work, are displaced from their home or country, or at odds with family members. What do you, on this lovely June day, possibly need that you don’t already have? Get over yourself and your “disappointment!”

I wonder, do we talk to others with the same impatience and judgement that we use to talk to ourselves? I doubt it. Can I (can we) treat myself with the gentle affection I offer to a neighbor’s grandchild as she visits on a sunny afternoon? If a loving presence is good for her, wouldn’t it be good for me too?

What’s wrong, Sadie? You seem a little “down” today.
Mrs Irish, my dad said I can’t go with my sister to the movies.
She’s going with her friends from school.
Ahh – you wanted to go?
Yes! I was the one who wanted to see that movie! But now I can’t!
And you’re disappointed….I’m sorry.
I don’t like being disappointed Mrs Irish! I feel it inside, its pushing at me.
I don’t like disappointment either Sadie. Can I stay here with you?
Could you? Could you watch me? Look, I can do a cartwheel!  

Is it really that simple? Can I make a shift in the feeling of disappointment just by being “present” to it? Can I love my little girl self as she adjusts, at her own pace, to unmet expectations? Can I be patient with myself as I manage responsibilities and relationships with the reality of unpredictability all around me?

I say yes. On this new June day, I choose to treat myself with compassion and to honor my feelings, whatever they are. I’ll consider trying a cartwheel later!

Seeking the Light,

Seeing with vulnerable eyes

Glimmers April 28, 2016

Dear Friends,

Something new happened for me this Spring.

I stopped waiting for leaves to appear and began seeing the beauty of the trees, just as they are. I admired the grey-brown textured trunks, reaching up into the sky. Branches, thick at first, created a labyrinth as they narrowed and met one another above me. Some trees were clumped together as tall families hovering over the ground below. I looked far into the woods, no shady green branches were blocking my view. I saw past their upright lines and beyond, light came through from the other side. In a few months, this will be a forest. It will be a place of shelter and quiet. But today, the space feels like a foreign land inviting me into a new perspective.

The eagles called me to this new way of seeing. Their flight past my window thrills my heart every single time. They dip into the lake for a snack and then, whoosh, up into the tree to munch on their catch. I watch their naps, occasional preening, and their community meetings of 2, 3 or 4. Without leaves to block my view, the private life of my eagle friends has become accessible to me.

I don’t want to rush the arrival of green that covers the world above me. I’m looking for new signs of life that are hidden when summer’s leaves arrive. I find I am grateful for the trees in their vulnerable state. They have revealed another beauty around and within their midst. With quiet assurance, the trees have survived our Connecticut winter, and I wonder…have I?

I think of my own vulnerable places. Can I, like the trees, live for today just as I am? Can I see beauty  in what is, without imposing expectation or defense?In other Springs, I saw the trees as “naked” as I waited impatiently for their green vestments. This year, I’m learning that these noble trees “are” just as they are supposed to be. There is grace in their faithful acceptance of the rhythm of life. Could it be, that I too am just where I’m supposed to be? Can I embrace what is within, around and before me? May I stand tall with my tree friends and remember…”I am enough.”

Peace be with you this day, Lisa

Look around and see

Glimmers April 28, 2016


Dear Friends,

It is what it is

I have struggled with this phrase ever since it became part of our everyday conversation. In writing it down here, I can’t believe it’s only 5 words! Just 5 words, but when spoken they drop like a 2 ton weight right in the middle of the room. “It is what it is” stops conversation, deflates hope, and forces a supposed “reality check” around a certain situation. Is it like that for you?

Originally, I blamed my resistance to this phrase due to my lack of maturity or my inability to accept the limitations that life presents. There’s something to that, I am a “glass is half full” kinda gal, so I like to stay on the bright side. It just sounds like resignation when people use those 5 words. Recently, I’ve adopted another translation of “it is what it is” and would like to share it with you.

Maybe you too wonder about this current statement 
and would like an alternative?

On a fabulous March weekend, I was on retreat with a dear group of Mercy Associates at our beloved Mercy-be-the-Sea. We were being led in prayer and insight by Mary Daly, RSM, a treasure. After we settled into the reflective process of retreat, focused on the Mercy of God, she asked us to think about:

How have I encountered God’s care for me?
When has God’s love been easy? When has it been hard?
What have I learned from God’s love?

I settled in with my journal and named real people who love me just as I am, that’s an experience of God’s care for me. I named moments of welcoming and resisting the boundless, merciful love of God. It’s crazy to turn away from such love. But I, like all of us, struggle with feelings of self-worth once in a while. Fortunately, I also have experiences of accepting God’s mercy. So I then asked myself, “What have I learned from God’s love?” listening carefully for my heart’s truest answer. And here it is.

I have not done anything to deserve God’s love. And yet it is present in my life! God’s love exists all around me. It is revealed through a single tear, a new mother’s wonder, the unfolding of a Spring bud. Through my husband’s patience, through creativity, through moments of courage. God’s love is within me, within all of us. It illuminates our hearts, enlivens our hope, and holds our pain with great tenderness just by it’s very existence. God’s love is the foundation of life, it is the energy of creation – what was, what is and what will be. In other words? GOD’S LOVE IS WHAT IT IS!

So, my sisters and brothers, I join with you who choose Love. Let’s stand together and remind ourselves of the presence of Love. Let’s join with those who humbly offer their gifts for the good of the world. Let us transform the sound of resignation to an aria of hope. May our hearts remain open as we witness God’s boundless, merciful love……It truly is what it is!

Blessings to you from Beseck, Lisa

Seeking Glimmers

Glimmers March 28, 2016

Dear Friends,

I emerge from eight weeks of a dedicated writing life, with four more to go. My mind and heart are swimming with ideas and images as I seek to bring new hope to the topic of Grief. This March Glimmer is just that for me, a glimmer of perspective and reconnection with each of you.

It’s hard work to write a book! All the glamour of “being published” is taking a back seat to the effort to make sense and contribute something that is helpful. To speak with authenticity, the work also includes returning to the deepest places of my understanding of loss and the tangled way through it. “Grieving – the Sacred Art” offers a passionate respect for Grief’s healing response to the painful reality of Loss. I look forward to sharing it with you, especially those who are processing losses.

The families of birds that visit our bird feeders continue to provide respite for this writer’s heart. Their cheerful energy makes me smile on a snowy, grey afternoon or in the bright blue of morning. Recently, we added a new feeder. It looks like a donut made from yellow, green and blue mosaic tiles. The birds sit on or in it, head or tail poking out, as they wish. The day they discovered it seemed to bring extra energy to the scene as they flew between one feeder to the next. Their delight in a new “friend” intrigued me. I wonder, can I experience delight in each of the people and places I come upon in my day? Can I sing my song of joy as I discover new windows to life, to Love?

An added feature of this dear mosaic feeder is the little squares of light it reflects into my writing room. As it twirls around, the lights move across the walls and I smile some more. May we, you and I, welcome the opportunities for life whenever they appear. And may we rejoice in the reflections of Light around us.

with love, Lisa