A Prescription for Self-Care

“The sacred is not in heaven or far away. It is all around us, and small human rituals can connect us to its presence. And of course the greatest challenge (and gift) is to see the sacred in each other.”–Anna Luz Villanueva Self-care is having a moment in pop culture, or at least the term is. It’s popping up a lot in social media posts and on the covers of magazines in the for-sale rack at work. When the term is used, massages and vases of flowers and naps on a beach come to mind. In commercials and ads, it … Continue reading A Prescription for Self-Care

Curling Up with Cookbooks

There’s almost nothing better than curling up with a good book. I read anything and everything. Most often, though, I turn to mysteries, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, James Baldwin, memoir, science nonfiction, spiritual self-help (I guess that’s the genre??), political and historical biographies, with some nature writing and poetry thrown in. Sometimes, though, it’s cookbooks that have my attention. I have a shelf in the living room bookcase brimming with them. It’s only due to self-restraint and budget that I don’t have more. After clearing out and giving away cookbooks over the years, the ones I own now are my … Continue reading Curling Up with Cookbooks

Celebration and Ritual

Some people ignore their birthdays. Some people celebrate them. Some celebrate in grand fashion. Some do not. I usually have been one who did not really celebrate, but secretly wanted someone to make all the arrangements for a big party. With my birthday in the middle of the summer, getting people together for a celebration often has been tricky. Numerous times growing up, we were out of town visiting my dad for summer birthdays. In college, and then in my summer seasonal work as an environmental educator, I often have not been around the people I knew best. Usually my … Continue reading Celebration and Ritual

Five Ways to Work Through a Funk

  The other day I was feeling funky. Others might call it a bad mood, but I think feelings and moods are neither good nor bad. They pass and are temporary. There was no event, person, or situation that caused the funky mood. I was just in a funk. Rather than wallow in it, I wanted to get back to my “normal” self as soon as possible. Here are my tried-and-true tools to get out of a funk: Exercise through it. My preferred method is to run, but a session of swimming laps feels great. The other morning, I got … Continue reading Five Ways to Work Through a Funk


Three weeks ago I lugged in the red and green duffel bag holding the Christmas tree and the faded blue plastic storage tub holding all the ornaments. During this season, decorating the Christmas tree is just about my favorite tradition. As I hang the ornaments on the tree and sprinkle the other Christmas decorations around my place, I examine my present, my history, and my future. As a single adult with no kids, I have only had a tree for about six years. In my twenties, I did not always decorate or I just hung a few ornaments from the … Continue reading Ornamental

Ritual Is Routine Made Sacred

Think about daily habits. Walking the dog, sipping a morning cup of coffee, mad-dashing it to the car with keys and bag, savoring an evening glass of wine, bedtime story reading with the second grader, whispering in noontime prayer, breathing in five minutes of meditation, sweatily running around the neighborhood. Some habits get us to the next part of the day, some are not so much habits as zombie routines, some are those we look forward to, and some, if not performed, make the whole day feel weird and uninspired. Right before the dawn of 2014, a friend of mine … Continue reading Ritual Is Routine Made Sacred

Shrove Tuesday and Waffles, Ash Wednesday and Fasting, Lent and Rituals

The season of Lent is upon us. In the Christian calendar, Lent represents the 40 days before Easter, but actually numbers between 44 and 46 days, depending upon whether or not it ends on Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter) or Easter Saturday, and somehow the Sundays do not end up in the total. Regardless of the number, this begins the march to Easter. While not mentioned in the bible, the season of Lent represents a time of feeling and fasting, repenting and renewing. It is a ritual to reflect upon the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting, as mentioned … Continue reading Shrove Tuesday and Waffles, Ash Wednesday and Fasting, Lent and Rituals