Giving Voice to Gratitude

There is wisdom in Easter lasting for 50 days. It takes a long time for the good news to sink in, to penetrate our bones. Lent, in some ways, comes more naturally to me: to lament, to turn inwards to God, to sacrifice. Joy is more challenging. I need all 50 days to practice living into celebration.

Brené Brown speaks to this challenge in both her books and her new Netflix special, The Call to Courage. The show kept me company as I folded laundry last week. I was half-listening to Brené while I ran through a to-do list for promoting This Life That Is Ours in my mind. Promoting a book is new work to me, and I often feel anxious about what I could and should be doing. However, when Brené described the difference between people who live vulnerable, authentic, whole-hearted lives, and those who don’t, she had my complete attention.

“The number one difference,” she said, “is that whole-hearted people let themselves experience joy.” They don’t run from it and they don’t catastrophize it, she explained. Instead, “they practice gratitude.”

I realized that I had been so worried about all that I could be doing for the book that I hadn’t paused to experience the deep goodness that already existed. Today, one month after the release of This Life That Is Ours and two weeks into the Easter season, I am pausing to be grateful for all that I have received, to savor the graces, and to practice joy. I am writing this list to say thank you to YOU, for the part you’ve played in this journey, and to invite you to make your own litany of gratitude.

A Litany of Gratitude, an Incomplete List

I am grateful…

For each person who came to each event – nearly 150 in all! For the gift of time and open hearts.

For the venues I was in, for the way they so lovingly held the launching of this book.

For the food and the hands that prepared it, and the joy my dad and my husband found in working together to set up the events.

For my mom and my sister taking care of my children, so I didn’t have to.

For my children, generously celebrating and practicing patience at long events.

For the beautiful extra touches my mom provided, the flowers and tablecloths and custom cookies which matched the cover of the book. 

I am grateful…

For the gifts I’ve received: the wine and flowers and brownies, the handmade Celtic mug, the necklace, each a tangible marker of celebration.

For each person who has bought a book.

For the privilege of signing books for people I know and people I don’t.

For the ways the book has already been shared: as a gift, through word of mouth, through social media posts, and Amazon reviews.

For the ways I hear through each of these things that this work is important. 

I am grateful.

And I pray for the way this book is making through the world. I pray over the current of love that flows from its words to the hearts of its readers. I pray the pages will be a channel through which the Holy Spirit flows. May the book be a good companion to each mother it meets.


A Pause

What might appear on your list of gratitude? What gifts and graces in your life long to be named? How might you practice joy this Easter season?

A Favor

If you have read This Life That Is Ours, I have a favor to ask: could you take a few minutes to rate and review it on Amazon and/or Goodreads? Reader reviews are an easy way to share about the book and help others to find it. (You don’t have to have bought the book from Amazon to review it there.)

THANK YOU – for the gift of your time, for reading along with me, for joining the celebration.

May Easter continue to unfold for you. May this season be one of both deep gratitude and deep joy.

A Blessing For Holy Week

I confess to you that I am arriving to this Holy Week distracted and frazzled. I had such high hopes for Lent, for what I would give up, for what I would do, for how I would spend time with the Lord. Some of these have worked out, but many of them haven’t.

holy week.jpg

Although I am rushing and collapsing into the week, I know I come in time. There is still time, in these next days, to draw close to Christ. I can still quiet my heart and mind and let Jesus be the center. This week we are invited to journey with Jesus, to walk alongside him as he approaches the cross. We are invited to offer him the attention and love and companionship that he offers us every other day of the year.

One of the ways I join Jesus is through a sense of wonder. I wonder what that last week was like for him. He clearly knew what was coming and hoped against it and yet walked forward faithfully. What was it like to be in his body that week? To feel his feet stepping firmly on the earth and count his footsteps? To wash his hands and marvel at the calluses and creases, the marks of a life that was coming to an end? How do you be present to life when you are confronting death?

These are some of the questions I hold, as I join him on the road. I hope for you to find your own questions, your own sources of wonder, your own ways to come alongside him this week. And I so offer you this blessing, to seal your holy journey.

A Blessing for Holy Week

However you arrive here – 
Centered and prepared,
Distracted and rushing,
Robust or fragile - 
It does not matter. 
It simply matters that you are here, 
At this holiest of weeks. 

This week has been waiting for you.
Can you feel the weight of it?
There is a slowness, a solidity to it. 
These days ask you to slow down with them. 
They ask you to let the weight hold you in place, 
That you may be fully present, 
That you may center yourself in Christ. 

The same Jesus who companions you
Is waiting to be companioned. 
Can you join him…
As he enters Jerusalem?
As he washes the feet of his beloved friends?
As he breaks bread and pours the cup?
As he eats one last meal?
As he waits for the betrayal of his disciple?
As he prays in the garden, begging the Lord?
And that is just the beginning of his walk…

May you hear the invitation of this week. 
May you move slow with the weight of it. 
May you arrive at Easter
Centered in Christ. 

A Blessing For the Cold

In January, I attended the Mystic Soul conference, a gathering to explore people of color-centered spirituality and activism. The conference was in Chicago, a city known for its harsh winter weather. The first day a freezing rain fell from a grey sky, and I hurried in from the cold to a warm and gently lit room.

Our gathering was opened with the simple refrain, sung over and over:

Come on in from the cold,

Come on in from the outside.

I have been reflecting on that invitation as I journey through January and February, as the weather around me is freezing and as my soul also feels a bit cold, without the joy of Christmas anticipation to sustain me. There are no family gatherings or major celebrations to get me through this month. Instead I am needing smaller points of warmth, to notice where I am being invited in from the cold in my ordinary existence.

May you also hear those small invitations, to come in from the cold, to find warmth and connection. Whether your cold is literal or figurative, three feet of snow outside or a sense of loneliness within, this blessing is for you.


When you are cold,

Your bones aching,

Your muscles tense.

When there is too little light

In your sky, as it moves from

Grey to black to grey again.

When you feel small, constricted,

Without hope.

May there be small sources of heat:

The light of the smile of a loved one.

The distant song of one bird,

Singing to you of spring.

The spark of recognition

In reading a sacred story.

A gift of laughter

Shared with a stranger.

May that warmth then radiate.

May it loosen your muscles,

Expand your lungs.

May your heart leap with unexpected joy.

And then –

May your warmth shine out,

May you be the source of heat for another.

That the cold around us may no longer penetrate so deeply.

That it may be met with freedom,

For we are ones who carry warmth.

A Blessing For One Who Walks With

I wrote this blessing for my spiritual community, when we were in a season of many people experiencing hard things. We were walking with each other through the pain and the fear, collectively and individually, and I wanted to bless our path. This prayer is for you, as you journey with others. May your path be blessed.

A Blessing For One Who Walks With

As you journey beside a hurting a heart,

And feel your own heart breaking with and for,

May you know love.

May you feel God’s love for you,

Wrapping around and within,

And then may you feel it flowing out,

And towards, and over.


May you be both a vessel and a river,

Holding love and pouring out love,

Holding mercy and pouring out mercy.


And may you rest when it is time to rest.

May you remember that all the work is not yours to do.


May you know Christ in the companioning,

Christ in the resting,

Christ in the tears,

Christ in the joy.

May You Know Courage

I wrote this blessing for myself, during a particularly challenging week. It is not just for me, though. It is for you, too. I hope it will be a gift for you, for the days you need some courage. 

A Blessing for Courage

May you know that courage is not always stoic and even-keeled or brash and risky.

May you know that courage can wear different faces:

It can sneak around your shoulders as you are overwhelmed by tears.

It can steal into your heart when you think all that lives there is fear.

It can pour down your shoulders and out through your fingers, mingling with a righteous anger.

It can live in your breath as you sit with the hard things and just breathe, in…

And out…


I was going to write you a blessing to summon courage,

A prayer that would gird you with it like armor, but look:

Courage is already here.


So instead, I pray:

May your eyes be open to its presence.

May your heart be clear and spacious enough for courage to spread out, move around,

and stretch its way into showing you what it might mean to live your courage.

And when you know where your courage is leading you,

May your steps be strong and firm.

Courage is already here.