Friday, November 30, 2012

Still Speaking

Sometimes Spirits Need Shelters
Excerpt from 1 Thessalonians 5:12-20

"Do not quench the Spirit."

Reflection by Maren C. Tirabassi

Ellie adapted and adjusted to limitations caused by aging, redefining loss as opportunity.

"I can't stay at home - how exciting to meet new folks in the assisted living facility. My children live in other states – isn't Skype awesome? My pastor retired, but the interim (when plied with pumpkin bread) has amazing stories. My part-time job requires more vision than I have, but I can volunteer. When Fickle, my Jack Russell terrier, died, I found the perfect volunteer job walking dogs and cleaning small animal cages at the SPCA."

For five years Ellie was settled. She avoided bingo and gossip at Plymouth Grove, but the new pastor was acceptable, and Ellie was indispensable at the SPCA. She was a model of "Thessalonian" life that Paul commends—never idle, full of contagious joy, prayerful and thankful. Then the "quencher" happened. Ellie lost the use of her legs and suddenly discovered how much of her life was based on mobility.

Then the SPCA director asked Ellie if she would be willing to sit on a small chair inside four of the shelter cages where new dogs were so timid and traumatized that they were virtually non-adoptable. Not walk. Just sit. For an hour visit with each one, Ellie sits and talks and scratches ears, if the dog is willing to approach her. Four hours a day, six days a week, she, in the words of Paul's letter, "encourages the fainthearted, helps the weak, is patient with all of them."


God, thank you for all the small and precious stories of unquenchable spirits. Help me recognize them, share them and live into my own. Amen.

Needs vs Wants

I don't know what Patagonia's manufacturing practices are but I thought the sentiment of this video was very powerful.  Pass it on.....paz.

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Jim Bennitt Early Bird Discount Deadline Extended. Sign up Today!
Prana and Pranayama Jim Bennitt pose
Sunday, December 2
9:30am - 12:00pm
Instructor: Jim Bennitt
"Pranayama practiced appropriately can cure all disease and practiced inappropriate can cause all disease".- The Hatha Yoga Pradapika
The ancient yogi's didn't practice to achieve a "six pack" or that great "yoga butt". They practiced to build, move and eventually stop the flow of prana. While most practitioners today have gained great flexibility and strength through the physical practice, they have little to no knowledge on the subtle practice of breathwork.
This class will first discuss prana in more detail followed by a short, gentle asana practice to help prepare for a longer pranayama session. Appropriate for teachers and students with some yoga experience. This 2.5 hour workshop allows for question and answer time at the end of class.
Fee: $35 pre-registered. $45 at the door, space available.  Focus Yoga, Brookfield

Advent Begins

Advent is a time to focus our expectations and anticipation on "the adult Christ, the Cosmic Christ," who challenges us to empty ourselves, to lose ourselves, to surrender. Preparing for Christmas offers daily meditations, prayers, Scripture readings, and questions for reflection for each day of Advent.
ISBN: 978-1-61636-478-6 Item #: B36478 Price:$8.99

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Christmas Carol Sing-Along
There's nothing quite like singing Christmas carols to get you in the Christmas spirit! Bring your kids, friends, and neighbors and join the Spirit Worship Band in Plymouth Hall at 3pm on Dec. 16th to sing all your favorites plus a few new carols. Hot chocolate and refreshments will be served, and there will be activity tables for children. GREAT event for Families in Faith!
First Congregational Church Western Springs

Book Sign-ups
If you have not yet signed up for your January book selection, please do so before November 30th. Click this link for the online registration form.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sistine Chapel Anniversary

Sistine Chapel Anniversary
Living a little vicariously these days as the winter routine sets in....
Click on link to make a visit to a room with the cosmos for a ceiling.

Friday, November 23, 2012


customized Puffin classics here.



So how do you communicate to others what is inherently a secret? Or can you? How can the secret become “unhidden”? It becomes unhidden when people stop hiding—from God, themselves, and at least one other person. The emergence of our True Self is actually the big disclosure of the secret. Such risky self-disclosure is what I mean by intimacy, and intimacy is the way that love is transmitted. Some say the word comes from the Latin intimus, referring to that which is interior or inside. Some say its older meaning is found by in timor, or “into fear.” In either case, the point is clear: intimacy happens when we reveal and expose our insides, and this is always scary. One never knows if the other can receive what is exposed, will respect it, or will run fast in the other direction. One must be prepared to be rejected. It is always a risk. The pain of rejection after self-disclosure is so great that it often takes a lifetime for people to risk it again. - Friar R. Rohr
One Pray at a Time

Excerpt from 1 Samuel 1:21-28

"And [Hannah] said, 'Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord.'"

Reflection by Maren C. Tirabassi

My best communities of faith are recovery groups. Some of them have "anonymous" in their title and others do not. These communities teach me how to live one day at a time, how to simply take others at the one day they are having without judgment, how to tell my story and listen to the stories of others and how to pray really hard!

When it comes to addiction the world is full of misunderstanding. Hannah was praying her longing for a child and Eli said, "How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself?" Did he make an assumption because he knew Hannah from her annual visits, or because that was his go-to criticism of women? We don't know.

Hannah didn't become defensive. She shared her story and asked for his help, which shook the holier-than-thou right out of him. Eli was willing to sponsor her in prayer before God. He rejoiced with her years later when she came with her boy Samuel to show him how her life was changed. And Samuel never drank.

God changes lives. In spite of all the ways we can misunderstand, enable, judge, or expect the worst of one another, every day is an opportunity to re-make relationships and recover hope.


God grant me the serenity to accept everyone as they are, the courage to tell my own story, and the wisdom to trust God to take care of the rest. Amen.

Advent Conspiracy

Something to keep in mind every year! Less presents! More presence! paz.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Dana Greene on Poet Denise Levertov

Dana Greene on Poet Denise Levertov
Click on link.
We all could use a little more poetry in our lives. Enjoy this piece on Denise Levertov.

Caring for an Aging Parent

Caring for an Aging Parent
Click on link.
This time in our lives seems to come all too soon. Just when you get the chance to be an adult with your parents and enjoy them as contemporaries they quickly start to rely on you for care and compassion. May we all have the patience and wisdom to move into this phase of life together.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

Learning about other traditions can deepen our faith and lead to greater peace and understanding in the world. Click on above link.
Happy Thanksgiving!!

God, we give thanks for so many things. Thank you mostly for all the ways you are present in our lives. We know who we belong to and we are grateful. paz.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Paper Kites - Bloom (Official Music Video)

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis - Otherside

Wal-Mart Faces a New Round of Historic Strikes... But Why Now?

Wal-Mart Faces a New Round of Historic Strikes... But Why Now?
I'm always wondering what the issues are surrounding strikes and labor issues. Here's one perspective. See post. 
Christians have a stake in how others are treated and in how we go about our daily lives, fully conscious of how our decisions impact the lives of others.  Thy Kingdom Come....

Feeding the Fire of Transformation

Focus Yoga: Feeding the Fire of Transformation: Judi Harvin Last post we talked about agni , the "digestive fire" that aids in transformation. The really cool thing about agni is that...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

U2's Bono Speaks at GU Global Social Enterprise Event

Inconvenient solidarity: Religion professors support a hotel boycott | The Christian Century

Inconvenient solidarity: Religion professors support a hotel boycott | The Christian Century
By Reverend Lillian Daniel

I'm not sure I understand what this boycott is all about. Ignorance is bliss. This is an opportunity to learn about a struggle for low wage workers. What do you think?

Monday, November 12, 2012

What Is Grace?

What Is Grace?

I really struggle with the concept of grace.  I know it's not popular Christian theology to say but I disagree that we don't deserve the love of God. That's how grace has been explained to me. I believe we all deserve the love of God because we were born, plain and simple. We are God's children, well made and filled with the Spirit. My children deserve every ounce of my love, always, because they were born to me, miracles, a gift pure and simple. Grace is the love that a parent has for the child, always (with bumps and challenges), but we don't have the choice to love them or not.  God doesn't have the choice to love his children or not. We belong to Him, forever, made in Her image, well made and good. Grace is unselfish and holy. We are the beloved - thanks be to God.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Serving a Second Time

The Mission Continues

Good Works

Chabad Relief and Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

Things We Should Know As Women, As Christians

The Misogyny Behind an Attempted Assassination of a Man in Congo - The Atlantic

Love Your Body

New Thinking for a New Era
The World Community for Christian Meditation
presents two masters:
Richard Rohr, OFM
and Laurence Freeman, OSB
Feb. 15-17, 2013
Chicago Marriott O'Hare
Don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity!
There is widening agreement in scientific and social fields alike that a radical new way of thinking about our national and global issues is necessary. How do we arrive at a new way of comprehending ourselves, one another, and the world?
Sharing a long friendship and grounded in the same great spiritual tradition, Richard Rohr and Laurence Freeman offer ways we can put our deepest aspirations for personal realization and social transformation into practice. They explore the origins of our crisis and show us the path toward lasting change and a more just and loving humanity.

Faitheist by Chris Stedman | ABOUT THE BOOK

Faitheist by Chris Stedman | ABOUT THE BOOK
things to consider......

What Matters Most - ING DIRECT