Molasses Bear

Evening has fallen.

The once brightly coloured stained glass windows

of the chapel are now dark as molasses.

They are so dark they almost look sticky and sweet.

What if they are, and this is actually a giant gingerbread house?

I ponder breaking off a piece to taste it,

the sugarcane windowpane…

but then the cold night air would come rushing in,

smelling of starlight and snow

and possibly followed by the large nose of a black bear,

snuffling about and eager to lick the molasses windows

with his long, wet tongue.

Even if we all rushed off to bed,

the bear could eat his way in,

then wander about the place,

leaving a trail of muddy paw prints

and crushed leaves and little bits of cedar

and a scent like the memory of late summer blackberries

coming from this large furry living thing

prowling about indoors,

who is not normally meant to be there…

On second thought,

I suppose I won’t try tasting the windows, after all.

(PS Thanks for the great bear pic, Four States News!)


I am a cloud

lying exhausted on the mountain’s shoulders

heavy with tears

I am a cloud

leaving behind a faint trail of snow

an imprint of my embrace

I am a cloud

my misty fingers clinging to the treetops

as I drift along

longing for their steadfast patience

I am a cloud

floating about

moved by wind and water

a constant living painting

unfolding across the sky

By various miracles, including a generous friend who gave me her spot, and a generous husband who agreed to work from home while watching our 7 kids, I’ve been able to go on a much desired silent retreat this weekend. It is amazing to have this restful time to myself to ponder such things as the quiet movement of clouds across the sky, in between naps and beautiful meditations in the chapel. Praying for you all as I recharge my batteries and fill up my bucket with beauty.

Rain Murmurs Gently

Rain falls on the gazebo roof
and murmurs gently 
in the surrounding forest

I sit here with the stone lion
who gazes with undivided attention 
into the nearby woods
as if expecting Aslan 

I admire his silence
and try to cultivate interior quiet
attuning my ears to the soft sounds
of bird calls and frog chatter
sounds of my youth
unchanged and immortal

The baby sleeps warmly on my chest
snuggled beneath the nursing cover
I sigh and he echoes me
heart to heart
imitating me even in his sleep

A tiny spider throws his rope onto my iPad 
and hangs out with me while I write
Today even a spider
is delightful 

Happy as a lark!

Right now I have the amazing blessing of being on a week’s workshop with other lovely Catholic women. We are doing a beautiful course on marriage and family, with talks on friendship, faith, empathy, effective communication, and practical workshops on making a house more of a home among other things. 

Besides all this, we have free time in the afternoons, so several of us took a lovely walk! When I’m in the woods, roaming about and eating wild  thimbleberries and huckleberries, I feel 10 years old again, and happy as a lark. 


Sisters of the World

How beautiful it is to be here with so many sisters

Of ages 18 to 80
From many countries

And many different pasts
Learning together, growing together,

Dancing through the differences to find

Our common heart

Our shared desire for

A life with deeper meaning

A world with brighter hope

And warmer love

Embracing everyone
With our prayer and affection

Those confiding smiles

That sincere understanding

And  many little acts of kindness

May this better world

Where each person is sacred

Begin with us

Some Things the Broken Heart Knows

There are some things the broken heart knows. It knows them in a way not unreasonable, but beyond reason, deeper than it. I know that love is not limited. We don’t run out. There are people who would say that because the baby I lost was my sixth, she didn’t matter as much. That it wasn’t such a terrible tragedy, because I have the others. That perhaps I didn’t need to love her all that much, because I already had enough.

But I can tell you something, from the depths of my soul, that each child is worth all the love the universe can contain. And they do not earn it. Do not need to. A mother’s heart loves her child because that’s what it was created to do, because that’s what it must do, the way we must breathe in order to live.

I love Josephine even though she never took a breath. I love Josephine even though she never once had the chance to smile at me. I love Josephine even though she will never say “Mama,”until I reach the pearly gates. I love her simply because she is my daughter and always will be.

And I want to share with you through my tears, what came to me in prayer: that each one of you, each one of us, myself included, is one of those precious children who is infinitely and unconditionally loved by God.

Perhaps many of us find this hard to except. We think we need to earn love, we think we need to deserve it. But our Father God loves each one of us with all the madness of the heart in love, with all the tender awe of a father holding his newborn child. He loves you simply because you exist. He loves you because he created you and you are his own, and he will love you forever. No matter what. Despite everything. Because the nature of Love is to love.

Every child is a universe unto themselves, it is said, and every child is a unique creation with a unique mission. We should have such reverence and respect for every single person. Created by God they are sacred; loved by God they are precious. In fact so precious that God, just like a human father, so willingly gives his life for each one of them.

I understand this better now. If there is anything I could have done to save my daughter, even at the cost of my own life, I would do it. A parent’s love doesn’t count the cost. God’s love doesn’t need to be earned because a parent’s love doesn’t need to be earned. All it wants is to be returned. And across time and space, from the throne of grace where she sits curled up on our Father God’s lap, my little daughter’s love reaches me.


Deep Roots


Here we are together
many sisters not of flesh but of heart
praying, laughing, resting and learning
gathering strength in a place apart

Be like giant trees
we are told
stretching to the sky
but humbly, firmly rooted in love

This is your strength
to rely on something greater than yourselves
to plant yourselves deeply in something bigger

Those who base everything on themselves
are like rootless trees
towering egos
unstable ‘I’s ready to topple
in the first wind


Let the love of God be your strength
your firm root
your soul’s nourishment

For in this way
your branches will grow
stretching out to embrace the world
touching those around you
with the gentle caress of love

And in your shade
they will find shelter
and the safety to grow themselves