Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved wandering around in empty places. I think one of the reasons I love them is that they never feel empty to me. There is a spaciousness, a reverence, the presence of peace. I have a good memory of going to school over on Conner Street […]Read more "Sanctuary of the Heart"
Have you ever tried baking your own bread? If not, I highly recommend it. Yes, it’s messy. And there’s often a lot of kneading involved. Your hands may get tired. You will certainly get flour everywhere. And it takes a lot of time, maybe all afternoon, if you do it right. But there’s quite a […]Read more "Bread of Life"
This seems like a good query for the start of 2023: How often do you really praise God? Like, I mean really. With your whole heart full of gratitude, just spilling out in thanks. Let me give you an example of what I mean. This week I was waiting a bit anxiously to see whether […]Read more "Bless the Lord, O My Soul"
Well, happy New Year, Friends. I hope you’re feeling hopeful and looking forward to all that 2023 will bring. As one year transitions to the next, it’s a natural time for us to reflect on what we’ve just lived through—we take a moment to look back, so we can move forward a little wiser, with […]Read more "Starting with a Clean Heart"
A Christmas message. Christmas is always a funny mix of old and new. We love and look forward to our familiar traditions year after year. We get out our decorations, we wear our holiday clothes. We may go to Christmas events in the community like YuleTide or Newfields and of course our Candlelight service is […]Read more "Come and See"
Well, Friends, here we are, headed into the last leg of the Christmas countdown—six days and a wake-up will bring us to Christmas morning. On a practical level, it’s the goal and destination of all our plans, efforts, recipes, and wrapping paper. Do you still have a lot to do? If you’re having a house […]Read more "The First Motion of Love"
Greetings, friends and Friends! We hope the Christmas season is unfolding well for you and you are feeling a sense of peace and harmony and anticipation as you prepare for your own holiday traditions. This year we were so happy to be able to have our Christmas Candlelight service again! It had been three years […]Read more "Noblesville Friends Christmas Candlelight Service"
Last week our message centered on Zechariah and Elizabeth and God’s astounding news that they—after many, many years—would finally become parents. And what’s more, this child of theirs would have a divine purpose, walking in the power and spirit of Elijah, helping prepare people’s hearts and minds for the arrival of the son of God. […]Read more "The Song of Hope"
The story of Elizabeth and Zechariah is one of my favorites in the whole unfolding saga of the Christmas story. Elizabeth is an elderly woman of faith who was a direct descendent of Aaron, Moses’ brother. She had lived as righteously as she could—keeping the law and caring for family and neighbors; putting God first […]Read more "Something to Give"
We started our worship this morning with the well-loved hymn, “Tell Me the Story of Jesus.” It is a fitting beginning to our Advent season, I think, reminding us of the awe-inspiring reality of God’s love and continual presence with us. The first verse says, Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart […]Read more "Illumination"
The thankful season is upon us, as we make our shopping lists and get ready to cook the Thanksgiving feasts that are traditional for our families. Along with our favorite holidays come a big set of familiar expectations. We know who likes cranberry sauce and who doesn’t; who prefers apple pie to pumpkin; which grandchild […]Read more "A Blessed and Blessing People"
In looking through some files this morning (trying to find something for a training I need to facilitate tomorrow), I ran across this reflection written a while back for a memorable hospice patient. This post is dedicated to a gentle Japanese man who was seemingly alone in the world, with no family, no friends, and language and […]Read more "From All Limits, Free"
Early last week I cleaned my 29-gallon aquarium, draining roughly half the water, using a razor blade to scrape the algae off the sides of the tank, replanting the plants that my Plecostomus—who is 17 years old and 10 inches long—continually uproots. I refilled the tank with clean water and scrubbed the filter, repositioned the […]Read more "A Common Bond"
I hope you had an enjoyable Halloween and celebrated it in the way that felt right to you. Some people in recent years have stopped passing out candy—it’s expensive and with COVID there was a chance you could pass along more than Snickers bars. I have never been a big Halloween person myself, but I […]Read more "The Way of Quaker Saints"
Have you ever noticed how many different versions of the world there seem to be? There was the world you left behind for a little while when you slipped off to sleep last night. And the world you woke up to this morning as you stretched and opened your eyes. There’s the world we experience […]Read more "Remaking the World"
Two weeks ago, on a Thursday evening, I did something I’ve never done before; something I’ve always wanted to do. I went to my first pottery class. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I was prepared to look and feel a little silly, because I was a complete beginner. I didn’t know how to […]Read more "Made of Clay"
“That is how life can work, as God created it. We all fit together in a great and beloved community where one person’s gift fits another’s need and so there is no lack, no hunger, no division, no jealousy, no hate… It’s not such a far-fetched idea: all the trees around us are doing it right now. When we let God’s love inspire our actions in the world, our true and soulful colors will begin to show through. Our world can—even now–be transformed.”Read more "The Measure of Love"
The idea for our message this week came when I was having a conversation with a friend at hospice about family patterns. As we talked, all of a sudden I understood some things in my own life differently. It was like someone had flipped a light switch: I thought of the way I was at […]Read more "Patterns of Light"
Good morning! It occurs to me to invite you to listen to our Quaker Morning mini-podcasts, posted each weekday on topics of practical faith and reflective wondering. A Friend at our Quaker meeting calls it a work of “Quaker whimsy.” I love that. 🙂 Each reflection is brief–just 3 or 4 minutes long–so I hope […]Read more "A Delicious Way to Start the Week :)"
It’s so good to have you all with us on World Quaker Day! All over the world just now, on different continents and in different time zones, Quakers are gathering together and celebrating and sharing the essence of the growing faith that animates and unfolds our lives. If you are new to Quakerism, you might […]Read more "God-with-Us: Stories of Faith"
Do you have any kind of gratitude practice in your life? Some people make it a point, just before they drift off to sleep at night, to name three things that happened during the day they feel thankful for. Others keep a running gratitude list or they may just simply do their best to be […]Read more "A Present Good"
Today is a sad and somber day, and it probably always will be. The 9-11 Memorial services are going on now, as family members read the names of the loved ones they’ve lost and continue to grieve, and firefighters ring the bell commemorating each precious life. Every September 11th I feel echoes of the sadness, […]Read more "Overruling Fear"
Sometimes our messages are inspired by lofty moments—a breathtaking sunrise, a deeply kind gesture, a moment of peace that is so perfect it simply must be God. Today’s message is not one of those. Today’s message comes to you courtesy of Mike’s Car Wash. This week I noticed that my car was carrying much of […]Read more "Cleanliness and Godliness"
Do you remember a time as a kid when you thought you were going to get in Big Trouble for something—maybe a bad grade or a broken window or accidentally causing your little sister to trip and fall—but instead of anger and punishment, you were met with understanding? Or perhaps there was a time when […]Read more "The Thing about Grace"
Did you know that we speak an average of 16,000 words per day? Men and women alike, we use words for everything: we say good morning, we order coffee, we talk to the clerk at the store, we explain to the librarian what we’re looking for. We talk to each other, we talk to strangers, […]Read more "The Power of the Word"
When you think back over the last week, how much of God’s light do you think you shared with others? How often did you feel it yourself? We rarely think of looking at life that way or gauging the success of our days based on how often we smiled, how many times we were kind, […]Read more "Let Your Light Shine"
Good morning, Friends! I felt inspired to begin posting brief daily reflections on our Quaker Morning page again yesterday and just wanted to let you all know. There isn’t really a game plan for these mini-podcasts; I simply want to share the ideas that bubble up during my quiet time at the start of the […]Read more "Quaker Morning Dawns (again)"
I’d like to start off this morning with a kind of informal survey. Raise your hand if you are able, perhaps fairly regularly, to have a completely peaceful day. Okay, leave your hand up if you are able to experience peace two or three days in a row. How about a week? Is there anyone […]Read more "A Peace That Lasts"
I went to the State Fair yesterday with my son Christopher and daughter-in-law Ashley. It was an absolutely beautiful morning for it. We enjoyed all the animals and the displays—and discovered a big white ribbon on my son’s photography entry, which made us all happy. And of course, there was the food: I had a […]Read more "Food Is Love"
Sitting here just now, do you feel rested this morning? For much of our lives, many of us have a fairly complicated relationship with the idea of rest. When we are young, we don’t really want to rest. There’s too much to do, too many games to play, fireflies to catch, baseballs to throw, friends […]Read more "Rest and Restoration"
Have you ever thought about how we create things in our lives? We create from the inside, out. Everything begins with an idea…maybe something we want to make, like chocolate chip cookies; or build, like a new shelf. The idea pops into our head and we think, “Huh, that sounds interesting, I wonder if I […]Read more "The House Forgiveness Builds"
Isn’t it hard to wait for an answer to prayer? Especially when it’s an answer you really, really need. Maybe you’ve got a big decision to make and you aren’t sure which way to go. Or you are worried about someone you love and need to know—the sooner, the better—that things will be okay. It’s […]Read more "Waiting on God"
Have you ever really failed at something? Like really failed. Took a chance, tried something new, fell completely on your face? The small private things we fail at—maybe several of those every week, things like sticking to a diet or giving up almost immediately on something new we said we’d do—those are hard enough. But […]Read more "The Gifts of Failing"
Scholarship Sunday, June 26, 2022 Our Old Testament reading for today is a welcome reminder that no matter how things might look in a given moment, God is always about the work of restoration and renewal: “See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making […]Read more "Christ Along the Way"
When you were little, did you say prayers when you went to bed each night? Maybe your mom or dad said them with you, or you might have prayed by yourself in the quiet of your room. Every night I prayed that little prayer we probably all know by heart: Now I lay me down […]Read more "Ways to Pray"
Last Monday on my way to the hospital, against the soft blue and gold of the morning sky, I saw two different murmurations. Seemed like a miracle—or a message. So beautiful! And mysterious. In case you don’t remember what a murmuration is, it is a big, flowing flock of birds—starlings, scientists say, in groups sometimes […]Read more "Joyful Murmurations"
Today’s message is about forgiveness and how the lack of it can limit us, blind us, maybe even make us sick. How grievances, large and small, held and nourished maybe silently in our hearts, keep us from growing closer to God and to one another. The good news is that God has provided, does provide, […]Read more "The Other Side of Grievance"
Yesterday afternoon, when it had warmed up enough for gardening, I spent a good long while carefully combing through a flower bed out back, trying to pull the wild strawberry plants out of the Dianthus. I don’t begrudge the strawberries their exuberance—they have lovely green leaves, sunny yellow flowers, and bright red berries—but they are […]Read more "Taming the Wild"
This week I’ve been thinking about why we do the things we do, personally and collectively. There are lots of reasons, of course, lots of motivations, many causes—seen and unseen—that contribute to us being the people we are, making the choices we make, and creating the lives we live. But there’s also something more than […]Read more "For One Another"
How long did it take you to learn how to rest? Resting is something I was never very good at—even as a little girl, I would stay outside playing as long as there was a tiny bit of light in the sky. I remember a few times in elementary school being so worn out after […]Read more "Restful Moments"
What is your favorite memory of your mom? Maybe it had something to do with baking cookies, or nighttime prayers, or a time you really made her laugh. One of my sweetest, happiest memories with my mom is just a little snapshot in my mind, as she and I walked together in downtown Indianapolis one […]Read more "The Mothering Spirit"
How many kindnesses did you experience this week? Did someone let you go first in line when your arms were full of groceries? Or give you the right of way in traffic when you didn’t really deserve it? Or maybe a kindly person bought you coffee or lunch or sent you a card or otherwise […]Read more "Love’s Everyday Miracles"
Last week, on Easter Sunday, we heard the miraculous story of the women’s encounter with the angels at the tomb—how these mysterious men dressed in clothes that gleamed like lightning told them, “He is not here! He has risen, just as he said!” We heard how the women hurried excitedly back to where the disciples […]Read more "Signs and Wonders"
Well, Friends, God has surprised us yet again. Just when we thought all was lost, the world was falling apart, all the goodness we had hoped for and counted on was nailed to a cross; just when everything looked dark and all our best efforts came to nothing, God surprised us. Just when we were […]Read more "Rise and Shine!"
One early morning this week, while it was still dark, I went outside to fill the birder feeders and was met with what I can only describe as “riotous” song. I couldn’t believe how loud the birds were! And there were so many different melodies. And they all—hundreds of them—sounded so close and so clear […]Read more "Song of a New Day"
Over the last decade or so, I’ve gotten fairly used to the idea that some people are glad to see the chaplain coming and some aren’t. Sometimes I show up on the scene and people look at me with a combination of fear and horror, as though my arrival means things are worse than they […]Read more "The Rest of the Story"
If you had to take a guess, what would you think are the three biggest temptations people struggle with on a regular basis? If you’re not sure, or you have trouble of thinking of what might qualify as a temptation in your own life, think about something you regularly chastise yourself for; something you seem […]Read more "Temptation’s Antidote"
We had at least two beautiful, sunny, 70-degree days this week and all of nature—at least here in central Indiana—seemed to respond. The grass in my backyard is already greening up. Mornings are full of birdsong. There are buds on the maple tree. The tulip and daffodil shoots in the front garden—which is on the […]Read more "The Growing Season"
When you think of the word wholehearted what comes to mind? Maybe children playing on a beautiful summer day, or an orchestra in full song, an athlete competing, striving for first place, or maybe a person deep in prayer. Wholehearted—whatever we may be doing when we feel that way—has something to do with being “all […]Read more "Wholehearted"
Do you remember that hopeful quote from George Fox where he says he saw an ocean of darkness that was swept over by an infinite ocean of light? We’re just about ready for that big wave of goodness to sweep over our world, aren’t we? This week has been harrowing, with the unprovoked attack by […]Read more "A Force for Good"