Two Kinds of Wisdom

In a confusing time, in an overstimulating world, it is no wonder that we often yearn for life to be easier, our path to be clearer, our decisions more obvious. We can feel like there’s so much struggle, we try so hard, we make so much effort, and all that effort may or may not […]

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Consider It Pure Joy

Last week as our Call to Worship I read something William Penn wrote in 1693, and that passage has really stuck with me this week, popping into my head, first thing in the morning, and reminding me to choose moments of peace in the middle of my day. I tried following his simple instructions and […]

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“Aha!” Moments

You may know that Thursday of this past week was what’s known on the Christian calendar as Epiphany, celebrated as the day the Magi arrived to bring their gifts to the infant Jesus. In our New Testament reading today we heard the story. Matthew gives us only a few general ideas about who these men […]

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Adding It All Up

The end of the year for me is always a reflective time, as I look back on the year stretching behind me, full of moments of happiness and peace, and uncertainty and the occasional stress and upset. There were problems, but they worked out. There were questions, and they got answered. If your year was […]

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A Peaceful Hush

Today we are doing something a little different. Instead of our traditional message, we will have a series of short reflections, followed by several moments of waiting silence. We at Noblesville Friends hope you had a love and light-filled Christmas and are looking forward to a New Year full of possibilities and potential. Today we […]

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A Guiding Star

I have to confess, I was a little worried yesterday about how this message might come together. All I ate—almost all day—was sugar. I made homemade caramels with a recipe my favorite 103-year-old patient gave me late Friday afternoon, and of course I had to try some of those. I dipped all the peanut butter […]

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A Radiant Hope

When I was a little girl, my biggest hope at Christmastime was not that Santa would bring me lots of presents or that I would get all the things I’d circled in the Sears Christmas Toy catalog. I enjoyed the colorful lights and looked forward to and ate far too many cookies, and I faithfully […]

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An Advent Correction :)

Isn’t Advent all about making a course correction to allow the time and space for God’s Love to shine into our lives? I realized this morning that I inadvertently included yesterday’s reflection in our Advent booklet twice. Here is the Advent reflection that is supposed to be in the booklet for today: Day 12: Thursday, […]

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Growing Peace

This week I participated by Zoom, with more than 130 other people from 30 countries, in a fascinating and enlightening conference that helped participants learn a new way to become aware of and invite new ideas that are trying to emerge among and through us. The approach can be applied in professional development settings, for […]

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The Promise of Light

What is your favorite thing about Christmas? The family gatherings, the big meals, the holiday shopping—yes, really, some people actually love it! Maybe you look forward to making—or eating–your family’s favorite treats—cookies and candies, fruitcakes and more. Or driving through the city at night, looking at the Christmas lights, feeling that sense of wonder and […]

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Doubt and Miracles

I’m not completely sure where the inspiration for today’s message came from. I’d been reading something that referred to God as the Alpha and Omega—the one creative force in the universe that always has been and always will be, outside of time and beyond all created realms. God isn’t limited by any of the things […]

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Taking Care

Do you enjoy taking care of things? Big things, small things, maybe things no one else will ever notice. Like folding all the towels carefully, so they line up neatly on the shelf in the linen closet. Arranging all the spoons in the silverware drawer or using the freshest ingredients for the soup you’re serving […]

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Time and Eternity

Well, we seemed to have made it through the time change okay—so far. It took effect at 2am this morning, while we were all sleeping, and the clocks actually moved backward an hour, so we may have felt more rested than usual. The sun rose a little earlier today, didn’t it? That was a treat. […]

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Living Masterpieces

The inspiration for our message this morning comes courtesy of Jean Ann, who earlier this week sent me a couple of texts with stunning pictures of beautiful birds. The colors of their feathers were remarkable—so amazing they didn’t seem possible—and exquisitely detailed. One fancy chicken had feathers with what appeared to be scalloped edges. Just […]

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The Joys of Imperfection

Do you remember how old you were when you first realized that life isn’t perfect? Chances are, you don’t. Almost immediately in this life we get a chance to use our lungs and make some noise, first to tell our parents we’ve arrived, then to let them know when we’re hungry, or wet, or otherwise […]

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Waiting on God

You know, we Quakers are a waiting people. We listen in all earnestness for God’s leading in our lives. We have a quiet time in the middle of our meeting for worship—usually 10 to 15 minutes or so—where we do our best to listen for God in our hearts and minds. We call that silent […]

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Flourishing & Free

Isn’t it nice to have free time? Time when nothing is scheduled, no one expects you to be anywhere, there’s nothing you absolutely have to do. It’s all your choice. Paint a picture, repot a plant, take a nap, watch a show, you get to decide what to do with the free moments stretching out […]

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The Many Faces of God

Back when I was finishing up seminary, almost 20 years ago now, I spent a semester in chaplaincy training at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis. The training, called Clinical Pastoral Education, or CPE, is encouraged but not mandatory for chaplains, and it helps those of us hoping to serve others learn more about ourselves, the […]

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On Our Way

Now that fall is officially here and the nights are so much cooler—which is great if you’re a fan of warm blankets and cozy sweatshirts like I am—the hummingbirds at my house are practically swarming the feeders, often two or three at time, chasing each other back and forth until one finally stakes a claim […]

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Song of the Earth

The spark of inspiration for this week’s message came as I read the new memoir of Joy Harjo, our former Poet Laureate of the United States, and the only Native American to have been awarded that role for three consecutive terms. Harjo is a member of the Muscogee Nation, which is a federally recognized tribe […]

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Kodachrome

Are you curious about the title of today’s message? I was too, when I started writing it. But I can tell you, now that it is done, it is a message about memory, about finding truth, and about how spirit turns everything to good, even our flaws and mistakes and blind spots. When we learn […]

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The Joy of Serving

Have you ever had moments in your life when you really needed help and help was there? I can think of a half dozen experiences, right off the top of my head—the time someone broadsided me on a my way to work a couple of years ago, the afternoon I broke my collarbone, a time […]

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Traveling Together

On the door of my office at hospice there is a small picture showing a tiny boy and girl walking away from the camera, holding hands and headed toward what looks to be an open field and blue sky beyond. Underneath the sweet image is a caption: “We’re all just walking each other home.” These […]

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Come Home

The book of Ruth has always been one of my favorite books in the Bible. It is one of only two books named after women (the other is Esther, whose faith saved the children of Israel from a devious, genocidal plot). The story of Ruth is not big and heroic and dramatic like that, though—instead, […]

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The Hard Work of Forgiveness

If you are a human being, chances are good that forgiveness—at least sometimes—is something you have to work at. Of all the things Jesus taught and modeled—devotion to God, integrity of mind, openness of heart, just and merciful actions—forgiveness may be the hardest lesson to understand, the hardest to choose, and the hardest to live […]

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Pressed Down and Running Over

We all know how good it feels to be grateful. Someone has done something thoughtful for us, or we’ve reached a big goal, had a big moment, or felt a sweeping sense of beauty and awe come over us. Something deep inside whispers or says or shouts, “Thanks!” There is usually a smile on our […]

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The Transforming Presence

This week is the third Sunday of our three-week series on the promise of prayer. I’m surprised to find that as we come to the end of this time, I feel like we’re really only just beginning to scratch the surface of the topic. We talked the first week about George Fox’s struggle with despair […]

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Marco Polo, God’s Way

When you were a kid at the pool in the summer, did you ever play the game Marco Polo? It’s really fun if you have a few friends with you and it’s even more fun if it’s a hot and beautiful day and the pool is crowded, because then you can all scatter in different […]

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The Promise of Prayer

It’s good to be back with you this morning, Friends. I wish I could tell you exactly what I did on my very-relaxing-and-wonderful vacation last week, but I have to admit it’s a bit of a blur now. The main thing I remember is that there was a lot of quiet, a lot of peace, […]

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Preparing for Peace

I had planned all sorts of things for this message this morning, as I anticipated having a whole delicious week off with no surgery, no recovery, and no “have tos” planned. The whole week stretched before me and my only intention was to spend time quietly with God, keeping my heart and mind open, awake […]

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The Difference of Devotion

The kids and I had dinner with my 94-year-old stepdad last night. He’s doing well, still full of stories, kind, and hopeful. As we all shared pizza, I was reminded yet again that no matter how old we all get, he will always do those dad things he’s always done: recommending things he thinks we […]

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The Lord Who Heals

We don’t have to look far in our lives to know that God cares about healing. Everything that has life has the capacity to grow, adjust, and repair itself. This happens within individuals and within communities across species. Trees in a forest share nourishment with other trees that are struggling. Plants have immune systems that […]

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Finding a Balance

The week before last at the hospital I gave two workshops on, “Responding to Stress with Creativity and Kindness,” and that’s had me thinking about the importance of balance ever since. Over the last couple of decades, we’ve learned more and more about what living with stress can do to us, inside and out. That’s […]

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Gardening Thoughts

One evening this week, I was outside puttering in the garden, when I noticed that one of my rose bushes looked stressed. There were chipmunk holes in the soil around its roots—and that would be upsetting enough—but the leaves also had been chewed on and were thinning on the branches. There were some buds forming […]

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Moment by Moment

At precisely 11:40 this morning, I will turn 60 years old. Right now I am enjoying the last little bit of my 59th year. But when that moment rolls around, I begin a whole new year, a whole new decade, filled entirely with whole new experiences. Tiny moments like that are so plentiful in our […]

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To an Unknown God

What do you think it means to be “holy”? In this day and age, when so many folks in our popular culture compete for attention in the media, when loud and fast and explosive are considered values somehow, the word holy may seem outdated, old-fashioned, unreachable. If you look up the definition of holy, you’ll […]

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Snapshots of Mom

This week I heard something on the radio that I think has been a long time coming. Companies large and small—from chocolate companies to homemade crafts to travel businesses—have started giving people the option of “opting out” of Mother’s Day promotions, recognizing that after an unthinkable amount of loss in a pandemic year, many people […]

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Clothed by God

Yesterday was such a beautiful day–it felt like perfection. Warm sun, cool breeze, birds singing everywhere, flowers blossoming, trees greening up, lovely sky—clouds high and wispy against a brilliant blue sky. Don’t you imagine that was just the kind of weather Adam and Eve enjoyed in the Garden of Eden? It wouldn’t have been too […]

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No Feeling Is Final

It’s no secret that we are emotional beings. We experience our world—we connect with and participate in the life around us—by feeling it. When we see a beautiful sunset, for example, we don’t just look at it with our eyes and think, intellectually, oh wow that’s really pretty. We feel it in our bodies as […]

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In Reach of Wisdom

For the past two weeks I’ve been reading a book about mindfulness called, Relax and Be Aware. The ideas it contains are at the same time, simple and clear as well as profoundly deep and challenging. The author teaches meditation at a center in Myanmar (me-yan-mar) and in his book, he invites readers to become […]

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This Is the Moment

One day this week, early in the morning, I was starting my drive in to the hospital, when I noticed that seemingly overnight, all the Bradford pear trees in my neighborhood had burst into full bloom. They’d started the process several days before—first showing small hints of white blossoms and then beginning to spread flowers […]

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But Wait, There’s More

This is a day for celebrating. Wherever we’ve been, whatever we’ve been dealing with, for this moment, the rock of COVID-19 has been rolled away and here we are again together at long last! God’s light and love has once again led us out of our closed off places, ending the long season of isolation […]

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Real Power

PALM SUNDAY Today our scripture is based on one of my favorite stories about Jesus: The Triumphal Entry. I’m not sure why I love it so much, except that it is such a pinnacle moment for Jesus, such a cinematic scene, filled with color and movement, celebration and joy. It is a high point in […]

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Life’s Soundtrack

You may have noticed that now that the days are getting warmer, the birds are back in the mornings. And I’m not talking about one or two lonely birds with thin, warbly voices, braving the cold to offer their thin, pure melodies. I’m talked about rich and riotous songs of all kinds—cardinals and robins and […]

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Grace for a Rough Road

Often when people hear about the work I do at hospice—and this is true for other people on my team as well—the person says, “Oh, I don’t know how you do it. It must be so depressing.” I can understand why someone who hasn’t been part of hospice work to think that. After all, I […]

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If Thine Eye Be Single

Whether you were born into a family of Friends or became a convinced Friend later in life, you know that there are some things about our tradition that make us different from other Protestant denominations. First and most obvious is that we don’t do communion in the same way that other Christian churches do; for […]

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