A Call to Prayer

A Call to Prayer

April 23, 2019

It was clear they didn’t need me or my prayers that day. But I needed to be there, kneeling and weeping in that sighing space between words...I may have looked the part but...my tongue didn’t know the prayers.

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On Expansion

On Expansion

April 18, 2019

I know the anxiety of willing myself not to molt, not to shed the protective layer of belief that once preserved me. It's not safe to let go of this, I've thought. This is the only right place to be...I talk to God and remember only one of us is afraid of the dark.

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On Winning the Kalos Art Prize

On Winning the Kalos Art Prize

April 16, 2019

Through my current series Seen and Unseen, I hope to create a quiet space for contemplation, allowing viewers to reflect upon the world that we have created and the future that we must sustain. The most pristine and remote parts of the planet are touched by the actions that we all have taken, and that we continue to take.

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Vial: A Product Review

Vial: A Product Review

April 11, 2019

This vial is exactly the same sort of container that is used when people give out bubbles as wedding favors. Except there’s no bubble wand inside. Obviously there’s no reason for one, because it would be sacrilegious to make bubbles with holy oil.

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Editors Ruminate: What Sustains

Editors Ruminate: What Sustains

April 09, 2019

Asking what sustains is what sustains us. These poems probe the limits of sustainability in all its ecological, musical, labor-intensive, and emotional forms. The hope for this issue, then, is that it might sustain you too.

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Blessings

Blessings

April 04, 2019

I know blessing and prayer and words and ritual and body and grace and anguish and contentment and supplication. I suspect they are not one thing, but as I travel through them I cannot find their edges...

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Hope's Fragile Wings

Hope's Fragile Wings

April 02, 2019

It’s been over a year since the Parkland, Florida shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and over a year after the massacre in Las Vegas. It’s almost three years after Orlando, almost four years after Charleston, and six years, three months after Sandy Hook...We must seek light and joy again and we must do it with all our heart and soul because what is the alternative? Darkness.

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SEEN AND UNSEEN

SEEN AND UNSEEN

March 27, 2019

Jennifer Cronin's visual art "Seen and Unseen" won first place in our 2019 Kalos Visual Art Prize and was selected by final juror Betty Spackman. It appears in Issue No. 50: What Sustains.

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Love Languages

Love Languages

March 26, 2019

The ocean may try to kill me, but until it actually succeeds, it’s a give and take relationship—harmonious. It takes my false sense of comfort and security and gives me the gratitude of being alive. Writing may not be able to kill me, but I’m beginning to think it’s controlling me in other ways. 

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On the Search for What Matters

On the Search for What Matters

March 19, 2019

For the last six months I have been navigating this wall of hurt and pain and sadness and existential crisis. What matters? What really matters? Each thing that crops up in a day I weigh against all the other stresses. There is too much of it.

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Riding the Waves of the Moment

Riding the Waves of the Moment

March 14, 2019

At moments, I feel I’m like the rain, drowning in ceaseless sadness. Other times, I feel as if I’m a cardboard figure moving in a cardboard world. Sometimes, I feel like the indignant ocean wanting to lash out at Joe for leaving me.

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Descendants

Descendants

March 13, 2019

Emily Stoddard's poem "Descendants" appears in Issue No. 50: What Sustains.

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Poem in Which Jesus Christ Sprains His Knee Fishing in Bethsaida

Poem in Which Jesus Christ Sprains His Knee Fishing in Bethsaida

March 12, 2019

He twists it good, too. He wasn’t paying sharp attention to the angle of his foot / As he pulled the boat to shore. He pins his foot beneath the hull, moves his /Hips the wrong way, the knee slips. Down he goes...

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Roof Clearing

Roof Clearing

March 07, 2019

Choreographed like a dance, pairs of officers asked each protester to leave, recorded their refusal, helped them stand, cuffed their hands behind their backs, and walked them to the waiting vans. Reverend Allison, third from the last to be arrested, chatted with those seated next to her, at times laughing as if they were waiting for an outdoor summer performance to begin.

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“Love of the Thing Sung and Not of the Singing:” On Ambition

“Love of the Thing Sung and Not of the Singing:” On Ambition

March 05, 2019

For everything I’ve accomplished in life, for every small victory, I find myself continually pushing myself to do better. That insatiable, ambitious ego within me—something so many writers have at their core—demands results, and quickly.

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Hyssop and Cedarwood

Hyssop and Cedarwood

February 26, 2019

My dress with the muddy hem is in the laundry and a garbage can full of empty bottles is still in the backyard. I’m happy I didn’t do a face plant and join what must be thousands of wedding mishaps on YouTube.

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for the love of lowly things (for mary)

for the love of lowly things (for mary)

February 21, 2019

 I knew Mary Oliver's work well enough to mourn her, to recall the way some poems snag you with their fishhook beauty and won’t let you go until you have reckoned with them. Perhaps most of all, the sacred imperative to give your whole self to a place and time—the endless and proper work of paying attention.

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Creative Risks

Creative Risks

February 14, 2019

It's scary to take creative risks, but I believe these risks help remind us to play and to stay vulnerable, nimble, and curious in our work. 

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I'll Leave the Light on for You

I'll Leave the Light on for You

February 12, 2019

I have lived a long life in a world too few would recognize now. I reckon, by today’s standards, it was “old fashioned.” Simplistic? We managed to live with an ingrained sense of simplicity, of sufficiency. Our lives defied any particular sort of accumulation.

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Waiting in Liminal Space

Waiting in Liminal Space

February 07, 2019

There have been times where liminal space became more like a burial shroud than a cocoon. I stayed in a relationship, friendship, or in bad habits, waiting in this space for as long as I could, never pushing forward, until I grew used to my surroundings in languish. Even in its awkwardness, there is a sacredness in liminal space.

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Forgiveness Beyond Herself

Forgiveness Beyond Herself

January 31, 2019

Daily we pilgrimage to the saints' seemingly split facades: we interact—in families and communities, in cyberspace and private thoughts—and if we realize where we’re standing when approach their unhinged thresholds, we take off our shoes, bow, and offer puja.

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50 Hours of Ruminate Happenings

50 Hours of Ruminate Happenings

January 30, 2019

Last April, as I was sitting in a beautiful chapel at Calvin College listening to Marie Howe and Pádraig Ó Tuama discuss the power of poetry, Marie Howe described an event she helped plan and host called The Poet Is In. Poets set up tables with typewriters in Grand Central Station and invited the public to come and have a poem written for them, "with them," as she said.

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Sacred Spaces II

Sacred Spaces II

January 24, 2019

We are scarred and sometimes scared. But together, we bring fears into the light and imagine that God is the sea anyways, so if we fall, if we drift off, if the boat sinks or overturns or we find there was never a boat at all, it will be into holy water; we will fall into God.

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All the Things and a Prayer:  Slowing Down a Moving Life

All the Things and a Prayer: Slowing Down a Moving Life

January 17, 2019

This prayer took me inward, took me backward, to who I used to be and who I realized I still carry in me today. This prayer took my attention off external details and put it on the space between details. This space, this prayer, may not heal my body or redeem time, but it will allow, if briefly, a chance to reacquaint myself with my self.

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Every Moment Grace to Me

Every Moment Grace to Me

January 15, 2019

The medicine that saved my life was no longer saving me, and so the darkness came. The summer passed. Now I am in the in-between...I am in the not-knowing.

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A Year of No Buying: A Fourth Quarter Report

A Year of No Buying: A Fourth Quarter Report

January 10, 2019

In the face of a culture that is constantly telling us otherwise, A Year of No Buying allowed us to separate our joy from our things. We were left to find it elsewhere...We had more family outings and more lazy Saturdays, and in the bargain got laughter and creativity and relationship and rest.

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God's Business

God's Business

January 08, 2019

I’m proud of the work I’ve produced. I’m grateful to have had the books published. It’s soul writing. It feeds my spirit. Truth is, though, it does not always feed my family. That’s just the reality of it. And that, too, is the struggle.

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5 Favorite Blog Posts to Revisit from 2018

5 Favorite Blog Posts to Revisit from 2018

December 20, 2018

 For a review of the highlights, here are the top 5 most-viewed blog posts of 2018. I hope you enjoy these ruminations.

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Lessons Learned: On Winning the William Van Dyke Short Story Prize

Lessons Learned: On Winning the William Van Dyke Short Story Prize

December 18, 2018

Stories have a way of percolating in people. They land, they ripple outward, they settle. Over time they become a part of us through their telling and retelling, a new limb through which we feel the world. Their lessons latch on to our senses and color anew everything we experience.

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Faith and Femininity

Faith and Femininity

December 13, 2018

When I watched my ponytail fall to the floor, I was surprised by the lurch in my stomach. The definite markings of my femininity would soon be swept into the forest, leaving uncertainty: How would I embody femininity now that I had chosen to withdraw from traditional feminine expectations? 

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The Grace of Waiting and Its End

The Grace of Waiting and Its End

December 11, 2018

There’s a magic that comes of waiting and watching—a magic only apparent when the waiting is over. Allow me to introduce myself. I am the Queen of Waiting. I have no problem waiting out anything, even if it takes years. I have a patience born of soap operas.

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Small Miracles & Happy Dances

Small Miracles & Happy Dances

December 07, 2018

With each order that comes through we seriously do a happy dance knowing that the good work of our contributors will be seen and held by more hearts and our little nonprofit is earning the funds that will help us start the new year strong. Our staff is deeply encouraged as we witness each intimate act of one human sharing something they love with another. 

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Stories and the Lives They Save

Stories and the Lives They Save

December 06, 2018

Stories do save lives—they always have, and they always will. We use stories to make sense of the world around us. We may sometimes turn to them for escape, and other times for answers to questions that plague us. Stories instruct. Stories uplift. Stories...validate the fact that we matter, that we are not alone.

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Waiting with Simeon

Waiting with Simeon

December 04, 2018

There in the dust and bustle and eventual hush of familiar religious practice, the Old and New Testaments interwove suddenly, quite simply. Between God’s unlikely prophet, and the newborn—the oh, so unlikely One foretold.

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Rebuilding My Life: Making Sense of Burnout and Depression

Rebuilding My Life: Making Sense of Burnout and Depression

November 29, 2018

After 14 years of teaching, I finally decided that it was time for me to leave the profession. A few days after I handed in my resignation, I broke down. I didn't return to work again. Since then, I have been trying to function daily with a body and mind that is challenged by limitations, pain, and struggle.

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