Yearly Archives


The Longest Night

Glimmers December 20, 2023

Dear Friends,

This Glimmer may seem longer than usual, but that’s only because I’ve included Jan Richardson’s wonderful “Blessing for the Longest Night.”  Jan prefers the form of left side margins for the entire piece, so we acknowledge the longest night with the longest Glimmer. In my Connecticut home, Thursday, December 21st at 10:27pm will be the moment Earth is tilted the farthest away from the sun, leaving us with our shortest day and longest night, until the companion tilt on June 20, 2024.

Back and forth, we ride the celestial rhythm that continues whether we pay attention or not. But what if we pay attention this time? What if we place our intentions on this single night and receive her gifts? Gifts of loosening, of thinning, of light within the darkness, of rest within the calming promise of trust. What if we enter this night, as Jan invites us, as a blessing that nourishes our awareness of our place in the universe, of our value as holy, human beings. We do not enter this night alone, but with one another at our side and all of us held closely by Divine Love, always and forever.

peace to you, Lisa


Blessing for the Longest Night

All throughout these months
as the shadows
have lengthened,
this blessing has been
gathering itself,
making ready,
preparing for
this night.

It has practiced
walking in the dark,
traveling with
its eyes closed,
feeling its way
by memory
by touch
by the pull of the moon
even as it wanes.

So believe me
when I tell you
this blessing will
reach you
even if you
have not light enough
to read it;
it will find you
even though you cannot
see it coming.

You will know
the moment of its
by your release
of the breath
you have held
so long;
a loosening
of the clenching
in your hands,
of the clutch
around your heart;
a thinning
of the darkness
that had drawn itself
around you.

This blessing
does not mean
to take the night away
but it knows
its hidden roads,
knows the resting spots
along the path,
knows what it means
to travel
in the company
of a friend.

So when
this blessing comes,
take its hand.
Get up.
Set out on the road
you cannot see.

This is the night
when you can trust
that any direction
you go,
you will be walking
toward the dawn.

Trust the Thin Places

Glimmers November 30, 2023

Dear Friends,

On this last day of November, let us prepare to enter the mystery of Advent, a time of holy waiting and surrender. I offer the idea that Advent is a “thin place” in our time on the planet, where wonder exists and Spirit speaks. Thin places can be described as “ports in the storm of life, where pilgrims can move closer to the God they seek, where one leaves that which is familiar and journeys into Divine Presence.” I offer the invitation to claim the thin places in our lives, even if they require no physical traveling at all.

The first time I heard the phrase “thin places” was from a wise Sister of Charity, beloved at the Hospital of St Raphael, who stirred my imagination during a day of prayer. A trip to Sedona, Arizona raised the idea again a few years later – people spoke of sacred energy, a cathedral without walls, as we experienced the red rock canyons and unusual beauty. These last few years, I’ve been studying and praying with Celtic spirituality which offers a deep invitation into an encounter with the Divine through the natural world. Iona, a tiny Scottish island, for example, calls many pilgrims who explore the sacred harmony between all peoples, Divine Presence and the Earth.

I, like many, am drawn to the idea of a tangible experience of the Holy. I, like many, seek a connection that “passeth all understanding” and calms my restless heart. I have explored pilgrimage on cross-country trips to my parents’ graves or last summer’s dip into our English family heritage. At the same time, I wonder about the “thin places” that are right here in front of me. My travels with others in the Land of Loss, for example, are filled with moments of intimacy and tenderness…such times open our awareness of God in our midst and they become a thin place where we share Presence, healing and love.

So friends, I encourage you to listen to that little voice that reminds you how precious this time of waiting can be. Light a candle in the quiet morning, send a card of gratitude or recognition, be still and listen. Trust the thin places in your life as invitations into a deeper connection with the One who loves you and holds you close.

peace, Lisa





Are you still there, God? It’s me, Lisa

Glimmers October 27, 2023

Dear Friends,

“Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret.” Asked in the quiet of her bedroom or in the panic in her heart, 11 year old Margaret poses a question that many of us have today. Whether we are wandering in the Land of Loss due to personal crisis or carry the weight of discord, war and tragedy around us, we might be wondering where God is, right now.

I just saw “Are you there God? It’s me Margaret,” a lovely movie based on a wonderful book by Judy Blume. At the end of the movie, after all of Margaret’s challenges, she adds that single word, still, to her prayer. It’s a touching awareness for her, and for me. She’s traveled into her adolescent experiences with deep feelings, and seen family conflict between Christian and Jewish grandparents – each want their tradition for their granddaughter. I find Margaret’s lived example of hope very touching. Still….

Every time I sit in a circle with folks who want to share about personal loss, I am keenly aware of our conversation being held in the context of the tragic national and world news. Though we may not speak of it directly, but more and more we do, we seek personal healing under the shadow of global brokenness. We too, can easily ask, are you still there, God? 

But friends, I must tell you, that it is in those very circles where the question is answered. It is in the vulnerable, intimate moments of sharing one’s heart that Love shines through and touches us all. An elderly man speaks his truth, a woman weeps while quietly naming her deceased twin sister, an individual soul admits fear of the unknown –  authentic voices reveal the transformative presence of God and together in the stillness, we are renewed. Still…

Doris Klein, CSA, an artist and poet, consistently offers a voice of hope which reminds and comforts me. Let her speak to you, friends, let her assure you that Love is still in our midst: holding, nurturing, healing all of us. Please click on this link to see her poem, “We risk a sacred journey,” set to music and infused with hope.

 We stand, clothed in grace and showered with blessing. At times we see the flecks of light; at other times we see only the shadows of the silhouette. But always, both in our knowing and in our unknowing, we are escorted into tomorrow by Love, who gives us everything we need.

We risk a sacred journey, indeed, to choose Love, still…

with affection, Lisa


My First Born

Glimmers September 19, 2023

Dear Friends,

Today, September 21, is the 44th birthday of our first child. This year is special, as he anticipates the arrival of his first child, and we consider the miracle of our first grandchild. My mind returns to the overwhelming experience of childbirth – husband and medical team guiding me through – and my body taking charge in the revelation of new life. I remember deep trust in the moment, mixed in with repeated adjustments, as time and the phases of delivery led me through this fundamental encounter with my humanity.

I am ever grateful for the gift of motherhood from both of our sons – for the love we share that is unique to us, for the opportunity to watch them grow through all the stages of  life and become men I enjoy and respect. I sit in wonder as we watch their lives grow beyond anything I can imagine.

One year before our boy was born, Earth, Wind and Fire released “September.” It became an anthem in our house, as we celebrated his birthday, and the obvious choice for our mother-son dance at his wedding. The lyrics speak of the power of love, of hearts and souls aligned, and of dancing…always dancing. This year’s birthday is one to remember, my boy, and I pray for your journey into fatherhood. Friends, won’t you join me? Let’s dance! (click here to listen!)

Do you rememberThe 21st night of September?Love was changin’ the minds of pretendersWhile chasin’ the clouds away
Our hearts were ringin’In the key that our souls were singin’As we danced in the night, rememberHow the stars stole the night away, oh, yeah


With love for all of our children, for the children of the world without loving parents, for those loving hearts without children. Love, the common denominator, unites us, Lisa

The Sacred Season of Wonder

Glimmers September 9, 2023

Dear Friends,

I watched a leaf swirl to the ground this morning. Even in the midst of summer-like heat and humidity, the trees know…. the season of “letting go” is coming our way.

What sort of whispering inhabits your heart in the quiet mornings, inviting you to let go, to surrender, as the wheel of life turns? Yes, we’ve been here before and, as the path of life leads us, we’ll be here again. This time of “getting ready for a new school year” is a familiar pattern. But this year, this unique moment in our life, this set of circumstances and relationships …calls us to a new layer of wisdom and growth. Instead of forcing a recycled task of self-improvement, let us turn to images of loosen…unlock…release, as our trust deepens and our heart opens into fullness.

I listen carefully to the invitations of this moment. How about you? Is there a place inside that is stirring, that is flapping its wings? Are memories returning that awaken a thought, a feeling, an image that holds your attention?  Is there a new person or adventure that is calling your name? These are little gifts along the way, signposts perhaps, that let you know when it’s time to turn right or left, to stop and breathe for a time, or fall deeply in love, once again, with the Presence of God in your life.

In my ministry as a spiritual director, I am blessed to listen to stories, see new images, and hear new narratives. I’m invited to witness a directee’s moment of clarity, confusion or depth, or to watch a glistening tear form in the corner of her eye, and slowly slide down her cheek. “And what is the name of that tear?” I ask, deeply grateful for the first time I was asked that question.

This is the lens that I bring to the turn of the wheel, to the inner adjustment I/we must make in New England when summer dances us into autumn. Join me, friends, let us move together in our journey of healing and harvest. Let us trust the rhythms that guide us, and the Holy One who loves us. We may consider this is the end of summer or the beginning of autumn, both viewpoints offer lessons for this sacred moment. Hear the wisdom from “The Four Quartets,” as TS Eliot reminds us,

What we call the beginning is often the end,

and to make an end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from….

We shall not cease from exploration

and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started

and know the place for the first time.

Many blessings brothers and sisters, Lisa




Listening to the Heartbeat of God

Glimmers August 17, 2023


Dear Friends,

It has been a wonderful summer at Lake Beseck, I hope your life had space for play and for sunrises, for creativity and for hope.

I’ve had a good summer, it’s not over yet, but there’s this invention – they call it a calendar? It keeps pulling me out of the present moment. Today is a great example. A quiet morning, looking outside and yes, there is indeed, a lake out there. I continue to be in wonder that I landed here. Then, I check on Heather Cox Richardson’s contributions to my understanding of our political reality. This, too, places me in a state of wonder, but with a whiff of horror. So, in less than 30 minutes my prayer is pulled into such a challenging place. Fortunately, today’s calendar (wink*wink) led me to the YMCA’s swimming pool, where I moved through silky water, among and beside other women. Gift.

This where you find me.

I have been writing these messages, monthly, for 9 1/12 years, they’re part of my practice of prayer. At the same time, they are part of my ministry. You and I have had a relationship, though non-traditional, for 9 1/2 years.   Blessed by a kiss of the Divine, we have a contract of sacred listening for which I am profoundly grateful. Thank you.

As you know, I offer programs and retreats, often about grief, at area retreat houses. The Directed Retreat is a unique experience where the retreatant lives in a private room, eats and moves in silence, takes in the beauty of the setting – all while listening closely to the heartbeat of God. These times away from our day-to-day routine become lessons in that sacred listening and opportunities to enter the Mystery with an open heart. If this idea interests you, I hope you’ll look into calendars at your favorite retreat house. Or, you might consider joining me for a 6 day Directed Retreat at Genesis Retreat House and Conference Center in Westfield, MA in November.  Here’s the link at Genesis:

As your spiritual director for the week, I would have the privilege of accompanying you on this inner journey. We’d meet once a day, have an opportunity for prayer and reflection, and share in the depth of silence that is rich and renewing. If this type of experience interests you, I hope you’ll ask questions and pray about it. Consider it a seed for any future retreat or prayer invitations that come your way. We are called to this great love affair, friends, and setting time apart for it is a way to say “Yes!” to the gifts of life, “Yes!” to the love of our God. Perhaps our calendars can be helpful, after all….

peace, Lisa

The Dance of Life

Glimmers August 3, 2023

Petra bobbed her head, dipping her massive body into sturdy legs. She pulled her wings inward, a feathered presence gathering strength to fly. Earlier, we had held our breath as she, a gorgeous Turkmenian Eagle Owl, flew around the seated crowd from post to post. Her trainer’s British accent heightened the moment, telling stories of an owl’s life and survival, also confirming that I wasn’t in Kansas (or Connecticut) anymore.

But this moment was different. Following an extended head swivel in both directions, Petra was looking in our direction. Her dark eyes held mine. I opened myself to the mystery…she flew between and barely above our heads…my son, Jared, and I were graced with Petra’s strength of purpose. As she passed by my ear, her silent wings spoke, “Here I am, join me in the dance of life.”

Dear Friends,

What I have heard is true, a pilgrim’s heart is an open heart. My plans to travel to England had some very specific destinations in mind, but with a pilgrim’s heart I was open to the unexpected and grace-filled moments that quietly appeared before my eyes. I am so grateful for these gifts, for the experiences I had on my own and with Jared and Samantha, my son and daughter-in-law, who shared the adventure. Before I continue, may I add two things: First, thank you for your responses and prayers following my last Glimmer. I truly carried you with me on this journey. And secondly, I hope my story-telling always carries invitations for you to consider your stories, your prayer and moments of grace. My intention is to speak of the personal as a doorway into the universal human experience.

I flew to England with two desires in mind: A shared experience with Jared to encounter landmarks from 3 generations in our family tree: my Grandma’s childhood home, my great-grandfather’s baptismal font, and my great-great grandparents home village. I hoped to sink into these spaces, to rest in the human story that these places and names represent and to trust their love, now and always. And, amazing but true, to spend special time with Jared and Sam, with an occasional hand on her belly, as they celebrate her 20 week pregnancy of their little girl, our first grandchild. Their joy was palpable, their love extended beyond that little bean in Sam’s belly into the world!

This pilgrim’s heart came home joy-filled and hopeful, as I found myself placed in the center of a lineage of love. From the Cotswolds to Cambridge, I experienced belonging deep in my heart. I join Petra’s sweet whisper and sing it to you, dear friends, “Here I am, join me in the dance of life!” May you find moments of pilgrimage in the unexpected around you. May you wait and watch, trusting yourself and the paths you’re invited to walk. May your heart remain open to love in all of its manifestations.

Peace, Lisa


A Pilgrim’s Path

Glimmers July 19, 2023

Dear Friends,

Today I begin a pilgrimage. Or has my life’s pilgrimage brought me to this day? I could not step out, into this new adventure, without including you in my preparation…without including you in my heart.

I have always been an experiential learner, and teacher, as well. The classroom was wall-papered with content, wisdom and stories of others whose humanity guided the path. Tables, chairs and desks were arranged so that conversation happened easily or contemplative listening happened naturally – engagement in the service of opening minds and hearts. Today, I welcome the image of myself as the student of my own story. I understand my passion for experience as an invitation to truth. I open my heart, just a little bit more, to the Source of my own wisdom and sink into my identity as “Beloved.”

This awareness is not an easy step for me, as I expect for you, as well. We are told we are “children of God,” we are taught a gospel of love and forgiveness, yet our traditional patterns include self-doubt, inner criticism, or serious judgement. How can I, or you, live in the light of knowing we are beloved of God? I propose the practice of experiential learning as a thread to follow! Let us pick ourselves up and enter new spaces. Let us discover ourselves as we explore the invitations that life offers, often in our own backyard. “Let us ponder the unknown, what is hidden and what’s whole, and finally learn to travel at the speed of our own soul.”

I was all set to describe my plan and my intentions for it, but fortunately I realized I’d be packing “expectation” into my suitcase instead of being open to the moments before me. Yes, I have an itinerary and some logistics set up, I’m nearly 73 after all. At the same time, I carry a pilgrim’s heart and trust the journey that invites me. May we all deepen our trust in the paths before and within us, may we all walk with the Holy One guiding our steps. As John Philip Newell prays, “My soul sings of you, O God, you are the seed of new beginnings. My soul sings of you, O God, my spirit delights in your Presence.”

Pray for me, friends, as I pray for you on the pilgrim’s path, Lisa




The Limit of Our Sight

Glimmers June 27, 2023

Hi Friends,

How are you on this new day? As June comes to a close, I consider the “life lessons” that have come my way. I wonder what words or images might connect with your heart at summer’s arrival. A couple years ago, I shared about the feelings of belonging I enjoy when playing in the pool at the YMCA . Today my mind returns to that cool, blue water where I’m surrounded by laughing and hard-working friends.

Our Water Ex class is filled with movements that work so many parts of my body, even my feet as as I use them to grasp an underwater noodle! I used to believe laps were a superior work-out in the pool, but no more! Just a different experience of inhabiting my aging, but faithful, body. I also used to get frustrated when our instructor called for one set of twists and turns on the left side and didn’t duplicate it on the right side of said body. “What is she doing?” I muttered to myself as I did it the “right” way out there in the back row. (Being tall, I land in deeper water and enjoy the freedom it offers.)

Lately, though, I’ve stopped monitoring our instructor’s cues for the left and right sides of leg or arm movements. Sometimes there is a difference between each side, but instead of worrying about her possible forgetfulness or my needing the security of sameness (it’s my inner Monk), I’ve surrendered to the gift of the present moment. I’m moving, for heaven’s sake! I’m paying attention to my right hip (or left shoulder or right abductor) with love!

If you’ve made it all the way through this Glimmer, thank you! If you relate to the ongoing and complex relationships with 1) body, 2) surrender, 3) ego and 4) self-compassion, hello and welcome! If you’d join me one step further, I offer these words and music of Carly Simon that just seem to fit my own inner movements of healing and hope, self-acceptance and aging. She says, “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about growing older and moving on, nobody wants to be told that they’re getting on.”

There is wisdom in this moment of our lives, friends. This very moment holds the fullness of failure and joy, life and loss. Let us stretch our hearts, as well as our beloved arms and legs, to a truth so eloquently expressed:

“That life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizonLife is eternal as we move into the light, and a horizon is nothing, save the limit of our sight”

My love to you, Lisa



Stepping into myself…

Glimmers May 25, 2023


Dear Friends,

Do you remember the thrill of seeing a newborn’s hands? And their little tiny fingers? Do you remember calling out, “Look at the fingernails! Do you see those teeny, tiny fingernails?” The miracle of life, right there, in that tiny bit of hardened protein!

I had my own fingernail epiphany recently. After trying the “dip” method of nail color for three consecutive visits, nearly 12 weeks of my fingernails encased in layers of serious chemical color, I decided to take a break and see how they’re doing. The thrill was gone. Instead, my pronouncement was, “Look at my fingernails! Do you see those damaged, injured fingernails?”

My nails are a lot older than that unnamed baby’s. And they join the many changes my body has experienced over time – broken bones, addition of plate and screws, weight gained and lost, removal of a section of large intestine and of cataracts, and the birthing of two healthy babies. The miracle of life, right there, in this mature human being.

My new naturopath invited me to start each day with this question, “If I decided to take complete care of myself today, I would….” Today, I sit in a quiet, contemplative space and listen for the answers. I look at my recovering fingernails and am grateful that they, and I, have the capacity to heal. I consider the many sides of my life and am grateful for the opportunities that offer such care in attending to my body and soul. I surrender into my identity as a child of God and accept my unique rhythm of learning and growing.

If I decided to take complete care of myself today, I would celebrate who I am and whose I am. My fingernails, resting at the end of my wrinkled hands and fingers, are a humble, vulnerable reminder of my lovable self.  A self that I am learning to embrace, care for and know by her true name, “Beloved.”

May it be so for all of us, Lisa