For My Womenfolk, Vocational Duty, & Hot Soup - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 45

#SevenGratitudes is a weekly gratitude practice for the enlivening of my soul, a deepening engagement with the world, and simple encouragement for anyone who stops by.

Thanks for being here.

This week I am grateful…


For my womenfolk.


In this photo are women on my mother’s side. From left to right: me, Grandma, Aunt Monica, Mama, and Granny.

Leanna, Doris, Monica, Michelle, and Earlene.

We took the photo after Granny and Poppy bought us all breakfast Saturday morning.

Mom and I were down for the weekend with Aunt Monica in her forest home. I am not sure if we knew it going in, but it was definitely a YaYa kind of weekend for the three of us.

(A view from my drive up to Aunt Monica's.)

It was a weekend for sharing and receiving stories, daring to be present to one another and to see one another as the women we are.

It was a weekend for falling asleep as we talked Friday night because we can relax together and rummaging through antiques Saturday morning because we can be honest about what inspires us and what doesn’t.

It was a weekend for tears, laughter, and trust, trust, trust.

It was a weekend for my women, the ones whose blood runs through my veins, whose told and untold stories echo deep within me.

And it was—


For productive days.

For the feeling of knocking things out and checking things off. Woot.


I am also thankful, though, for turns of phrase that help me turn toward the heart of why I am doing this. You know, instead of thinking, “AHH! I have to write 10 pages by Tuesday every week in order to—to—NOT DIE!” I can envision, “Oh, I have to get these 10 pages down by Tuesdays because, like preachers who gotta preach and teachers who gotta teach by certain days and times, I, too, have an awfully beautiful duty to the people of God.”

Which is the Reality of the situation. I am in seminary because I have an awfully beautiful duty to the people of God.

If I disconnect from that Reality, everything feels too big and too pointless to attempt.

But, if I remember that, say, these prayers I am writing are not meant to be perfect, but rather timely words for the people of God right now—if I remember that they do not have to be-all-end-all—then, suddenly, breath comes back to my lungs and my arms don’t hurt when I look at my computer.

Nothing I do is an end. It is all a means, a byway, a threshold.

It is all a solid try to be faithful to God’s calling.

So. I am thankful for productive days born on the breeze of God’s Kindom sweeping through, and not my own steam.


For hot soup on a cold day.


Simple, delectable comfort. Last night it was creamy veggie-potato soup. Warmed me through.


For worship around the Table, literally.

Yesterday chapel was different.

We worshiped around tables together and Communion commissioned the service instead of crowning its highest crest. The student planners dreamed up the design so that our nourishment at God’s table might fuel and fire our imaginations for the Lectio Divina that followed.

Ain’t nothing like a little Jesus to open things up!

There was such an intimacy around those tables. It was hard to know where to look sometimes, but, when I did, I saw smiles, deep connection, memories, and healing tears.

Fellowship. And communion.

Our academic dean led us to the Meal, speaking of the night the sacrament began. We passed the bread and cup, serving one another. My thesis mentor looked into my eyes and pronounced Christ’s body and cup of salvation, for me.

Eucharist, indeed. Such thanksgiving.


For diversity and the opportunity for growth that it brings.


For Outlander folks who think deeply.


Outlander is truly one of the best stories I have ever read (AND seen; it is now in its 3rd season on Starz). There is so much to explore in its thousands of pages—questions of ethics, religion, womanhood, marriage, vocation, courage, etc. One of my dreams is to find a book club who will talk it all out with me.

Until then, I am thankful for articles like this one—that Outlander author Diana Gabaldon herself shared on FB—to tide me by and help me process the outlandish crossovers between Clare’s world and my own.


For my feline study buddy.


I feel very lucky. Luna is particularly choosey with her cuddles. Like, she was probably just cold and used me for my body heat.

But I’ll take it. haha!

Thankful for critters who grace us with their affection. 

(And I really miss my dog. How is it possible to miss a dog so much?)


Thanks be to God for the mundane and the miracle, the humdrum and the holy--two sides of the same Love, a never-ending circle of God's embrace.

Thanks for being here, beloveds--for celebrating this great Love with me.