September Sorting – keep this, toss that, create me

Glimmers September 5, 2017

Dear Friends,

Spider arrived today. I shouldn’t be surprised, she makes a home both inside and outside of our little lake house. It’s a spider-friendly environment. But when she walked into my life this time, I was cleaning a kitchen drawer…I was in a process of sorting.

Although I resist regular cleaning tasks, I find myself enjoying the process of sorting. Is the ginger still fresh? Do I really use that knife? What the heck is in this little plastic bag?? Sorting the details of the kitchen invites sorting though the details of my life. Do I want to stay on that committee? How is my morning routine going? What is my priority as I follow Autumn’s lead and begin again?

So what did Spider have to say about all of this? Well, as we know she is a creative master. She designs and constructs webs over and over, anticipating wind and weather, as if her life depends on it. She reminds me that I, too, weave my life with the strands of anxiety or the wisps of hope that I select from the vast storehouse of attitudes and emotions within me. She encourages me to notice that I have a choice over these resources. I can use my fears, over and over, to weave today’s web or I can gather my relationship with nature, for example, to establish intricate patterns within the space before me.

Spider gently invites me to see that my life depends upon my attempts to weave the elements of my life together into a Whole.

I don’t know what the Whole looks like yet. I’ve had glimpses, I’ve had dreams. I wonder if Spider sets her course with an architect’s hand, following the lines of a plan? Or does she turn to her core, her deepest places, and move forward out of her truth? I suspect she has learned to make spontaneous choices, to improvise. I admire that. Life can be unpredictable….

Sending love your way – from my web to yours,



Life’s a journey, not a destination

Glimmers August 1, 2017


Dear Friends,

When I woke up the second time, the sun was streaming through the window. “There is no doubt it’s morning.” The birds started singing even earlier, my first wake-up call, to announce the brand new day. These days, many hours are spent in my writing room on various projects and passions. I am making time, though, for walking, swimming, stretching and dancing!

I turn 67 this year. This birthday is not the celebratory arrival of 65, a landmark age in our country’s countdown of aging. It’s not even 66, which slid by before I noticed I was one year older. 67?  Well, 67 has significance for me. It is that much closer to 70, which looms large in my mind. 70, an official elder. How can that be?

I always skip now and move toward then,its a habit to escape the difficulties around us. If I stay with anticipation instead of lived reality, I can avoid the feelings that come with everyday concerns or even the more serious challenges. It’s easy to develop that pattern, isn’t it? Especially, if you are faced with fears and pain in the present moment. But if there is breathing room, I take a pause and tune in to now.… “Lisa, you’re not 70. At the time of this writing, you’re not even 67! Instead, stay in this day… this hour… this moment.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life’s a journey not a destination.” What is the journey I am on today, this one day, on God’s green earth? What person will I be asked to love?  What accomplishment will I complete to support the greater good, the human family? Does cleaning under the kitchen sink count? Well, it does ease my mind…less stress gives me more space for love.

I choose love. When I encounter feelings of distrust or hurt or confusion in my relationships, I try to see them as lessons in love. If I address the disconnect within myself, I am freer to love this person, fully, just as they are.  I seek a practice of “generosity of spirit” to all I meet – barista, storekeeper, doctor, street person, neighbor – each a Child of God.

Some days are easier than others, but it’s a great way to live in the world. Each of us, bumbling along, sharing our best selves, shining our Light. May it be so!

with a grateful heart, Lisa

Love given, love received…a gift for us all….

Glimmers July 1, 2017

Dear Friends,

Love given, love received…a gift for us all.

Weddings reveal this precious exchange, a treasure found between human beings. Weddings, of all shapes and sizes, invite our hearts into their reality of hope, promise and joy. And we respond, don’t we? Our hearts repeat the love-filled vibration and are lifted up into the Love that sustains us all.

Our son, Jared, stepped into Love with his bride, Samantha, on June 11. All of us present, and those praying from afar, were drawn into their embrace and we remembered…

the birth of regard and respect for another, the gift of possibility the tender trust of an infant, resting in our arms

the moments of nature’s beauty that create a deep sigh and release

the times of forgiveness when we become aligned with another

the memories of discovering the sweetness of emotional intimacy

We saw this young couple’s love for one another as it radiated from their hearts to ours, inviting us to join in….to believe in Love. I offer these images of love to you, dear friends, to stir your own memories of Love. To return, perhaps on a day of doubt or discouragement, to that which nurtures your hearts. To trust the love you have known, to care for it tenderly, abide in it’s unfailing presence. Jesus tried to lead us home to Love, these special human moments remind us what is waiting for us when we say, “yes.”

May we all open our hearts to the dance of love,


Can you read the signs?

Glimmers June 1, 2017

Dear Friends,
The morning light shimmers on the lake.
The dawn chorus greets the new day, sometimes before I’m ready to join them.
Colors have erupted everywhere.
Spring rain and Eastern wind have birthed new life right before my eyes.

When I return to the lake, I return to a state of mind that is filled with trust, with hope. I discover equanimity…mental calmness, evenness of temper, composure.

This does not mean I do not suffer. Anxiety, fear, self-consciousness – they are just around the corner! They are waiting to take me out to lunch!

But this morning, I breathe…look…be.

Over 50 years ago, a “Mitchell Drive” street sign was put up in Walnut Creek, California. It was in honor of my father, Ted Mitchell, who had died while helping Dow Chemical Company build a new laboratory in an undeveloped area of the city. That sign was part of my family story… we took pictures in front of it, introduced our sons to my dad’s legacy. That sign, just like my father’s memory, reaches across time and space to my heart…it’s part our Braid of Love.

This Spring, I asked the town of Middlefield for a speed limit sign on the road around Lake Beseck. I, and others, needed a reminder to slow down when entering the quiet of the lake. But, it wasn’t until it was standing there, tall and honest, that I put the two together. 

My father’s sign, this sign – they are reminders to breathe, look, be.

When I slow down, I am connected. My mind releases it’s relentless list of tasks and activities. When I tune into my surroundings, there is more to see, more to hear. Life is full and all around me, if I just slow down and read the signs.

Thinking of you with a grateful heart,


Stories from the past shape our view of the present

Glimmers May 14, 2017

Dear Friends,

Many years ago, during a season of reading science fiction, I entered the world of Ray Bradbury’s “All Summer in a Day.” It was the story about children on the planet, Venus, where “it had been raining for seven years; thousands upon thousands of days compounded and filled from one end to the other with rain, with the drum and gush of water..” These nine year olds, who could not remember a time when there wasn’t rain, cruelly taunted a little girl who had traveled from Earth more recently. She remembered the sun’s warmth and light. She tried to tell them what it was like, as they anticipated the two-hours of sunshine predicted to appear that afternoon. For some reason, as humans sometimes do, the children would not listen. They mocked her and put her in a closet before the teacher returned. There she stayed while the rest experienced a glorious summer’s day for two hours, until the next seven years of rain began again. And then they remembered to open the closet.

This story has stayed with me, speaking of loss, of cruelty, of ignorance…all part of the human condition I see in the world today. But I always remembered the sunshine, the vision of “that yellowness and that amazing blueness … of the fresh, fresh air and … the silence which suspended them in a blessed sea of no sound and no motion.” I celebrated the feeling of hope that a sunny day brings to my heart.

It’s possible these images remained with me because I was the girl who moved from sunny California to rainy Washington. I was the girl whose father’s death put me in a space so different from other sixth-graders. Today, as the promise of Spring keeps trying to present itself in the wet, coolness of New England’s month of May, I am still trying to remember light in the midst of darkness. Today, as cruelty and ignorance seem to take over the land I am part of, I seek to embody that light in my own way. I will celebrate the light, I will not be deterred. I will join with you, who speak of truth and love and hope, even as we wait for the rains to stop. We know the warmth of the sun.

with blessings on this new day, Lisa

The holiness of Springtime

Glimmers April 1, 2017



Dear Friends,

You have been in my heart this April, as this Glimmer simmered through the weeks of Lent, Passover and Easter. This time was a kind of a “spiritual crossroads” where the mists part and that which is holy peeks through. If we listen we can hear Love speaking, in different languages to reach our different ears, but always speaking of love and mercy.

I am grateful I have “ears to hear.” For years, I have been hesitant to voice my Christian faith. I wanted, and want, to speak of universal truths that will reach out to any who need to hear the voice of love and hope. I believe that is my call at this point in my life. And yet, I must be grounded in a particular experience of the Divine. While I have the capacity and desire to share a universal message of love, my own heart must rest in the nest that gives me life. My soul comes alive when I am challenged to stand for justice and compassion, called to move out of my comfort zone to trust my truth. My heart is lifted when I am reminded of the reality of love.

This year, my Holy Week included sharing meals in silent with fifty other people who were listening for the Divine in their hearts. It included traveling to a friend’s home to celebrate Passover, to eat traditional foods and hear her grandchildren sing the prayer in Hebrew. I was blessed with experiencing Spring’s arrival while nestled at Mercy-by-the-Sea in Madison, CT and watched a woman’s heart break in her portrayal of Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb.

This year, I carried all of you with me as I went apart to travel the road of healing, reflection, humility and love. Your needs, whether I know them or not, went with me as I was nurtured in my nest and while I waited in the tomb. Your needs, whether I know them or not, are with me now as the glow of the Resurrection continues to fill my heart with peace. Friends, let us find a way to acknowledge the reality of love in our lives and give it room to grow. Happy Passover! Happy Easter! Happy Life!
With love,


Live the questions

Glimmers March 1, 2017

Dear Friends,

You have been on my mind and in my heart as February turns to March, as snow turns to sunshine and then back again. I wonder how you are managing the strife that surrounds us all, regardless of which side of the aisle we prefer. I wonder how you are taking care of yourself in this time of change.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about change, as I write about grief’s transformation in my upcoming book. While we all react to the demands of loss differently, each of us must come face to face with change’s unflinching presence in our lives. How do we process that? How do we make sense of our powerlessness?

Rainier Maria Rilke’s words from “Letters to a Young Poet” offer a suggestion:

Have patience with everything that is unsolved in your heart and try to cherish the questions themselves. It is a matter of living everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, one distant day, live right into the answer.

With Rilke’s words in my heart, I sit before the unknown in my journey. There are questions in my story that remain unanswered. There are losses that I grieve. Today I choose to “live the questions,” I do not turn away from the unknown but step into it. I accept my feelings of sadness, fear, or anger, and I welcome the feelings of hope, compassion or love that live alongside. And you know what I’ve discovered? I find myself empowered by this process, seeds of courage have taken root. I have the capacity to live with the both/and of life. I am willing to sit with the unknown and befriend the mystery. I am enough, my friends, and so are you!!

May it be so, Lisa

Winter’s darkness is not without light

Glimmers February 1, 2017

Dear Friends,

As each winter day holds more light, I’ve noticed glimmers of hope within the snow and ice…and in my writing room, as well. I lit three candles last night, each a happy memory of a gift received. As I sat in the quiet, I remembered the three women who share their light so generously…Sarah, Shaila and Corinne.

Sarah’s light shines through a sphere of crystal glass. The many facets reflect and transfer the light within and without. Always changing and always the same, Sarah’s light reminds me that indeed, all will be well.

Shaila’s light illuminates an image of peace…an angel holding a child against a dark winter sky. Her light reveals hope in unexpected places, life in new possibilities. Shaila’s light makes me smile as the angel’s wings seem to embrace me, as well.

Corinne’s light, tucked away on the shelf, shines through the silhouette of a dragonfly. This light has been with me the longest of the three and I may have taken it for granted. Today I see the dragonfly’s story of transformation shining through, resonating with my own truth, leading me forward. Corinne’s light, ever faithful, will not fade. It is part of who I am, part of my light in the world.

Who are the lights in your life? And how do you share the singular warmth that only you have to give? May we all join with the Light of Love for our sake and for the sake of the world. 

with peace, Lisa

Christmas love lingers, from our house to yours..

Glimmers January 24, 2017

Dear Friends,

I have been thinking about you and praying for you, since the calendar turned and we entered 2017. Oh my goodness, here we are. A new year…time to reflect, however briefly, on our life, relationships, disappointments and joys. I pray you are well and ready to embrace your life!

As many of you know, I am working on a book. “Grieving – the Sacred Art,” has been with me for one and a half years now and I’m ready to give birth! But, as with all of creation, I am merely part of the flow. So, I keep working, keep breathing and giving it my all. Recently, a friend shared this quote from Robert Gregory Browne,

“Writing a book is like working a really difficult jigsaw puzzle without the benefit of knowing what the completed picture will be.”

As it turns out, our Christmas included hours and hours of focus on tiny little jigsaw puzzle parts. Bodies leaned over the table, stretched out on the floor – bodies returning as if the puzzle had a gravitational force.

This firsthand witness of the puzzle’s lure captures the experience of writing my book. I get lost in hours of writing as my family got lost creating Stuttgart’s Schlossplatz and a colorful Charleston house. And yes, a difference between us is the picture they could check to complete the puzzle. My project is more open-ended, which feels a little daunting. But there are similarities, as well. Each piece is sorted according to color, or in my case, theme. The outside edge or organizing structure is the first task to accomplish. And help is always valued!

But there is one more similarity I noticed, the lure of love. All the combinations of family members working together on the puzzles created a sacred space. Time and effort became a shared memory of just being together, of loving each other. My writing is a very solitary experience. Some days a candle provides a focus or Facebook, a distraction. But I keep returning, I keep seeking new ways to explain my thoughts on the sacred art of grieving. I too have been lured by love and I am trusting this call to share the light of Love as I know it. When I sit down to write, I bring the faces and hearts of those who have shared their stories with me. I see the images of love that they described and try to capture their wisdom. I’ll keep you posted, friends, in the meantime, I’m so grateful for my family, their excellence in jigsaw puzzles is keeping me going!

with love, Lisa

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