by Kim Findlay

Maybe it’s time.

Maybe it’s time for what seemed dead . . . lifeless . . . dried up
to stretch and reach and thirst for more
to receive more.

Maybe it’s time to exhale the sorrow . . . the discouragement . . .the doubt

and inhale the wonder of healing, of hope
through the Breath of Life

Maybe it’s time for these dry bones to move

to rattle and make noise that brings glory.

Maybe it’s time to speak and declare and reveal

all glory and praise and honor
to the Giver of Life Himself.

Maybe it’s time to speak words once buried deep within,
words that once held fear can declare faith
words that once trickled in tears can nourish seeds of praise.

Maybe it’s time to embrace life now
even as we look forward to the life still to come.

Maybe, dear one, it’s time
to wake up and live.

Kim Findlay headshot

Kim Findlay explores life in the middle of faith and suffering, searching for God’s goodness. A midwestern transplant in New England, she is a wife, mom, stepmom, Nana, author and encourager of hearts. She works in Communications serving women impacted by domestic abuse, serves on the Board of her church and the New England district of the Christian & Missionary Alliance Denomination, and on quiet days, loves to read. Connect with her at and Instagram and Facebook.

From Morning to Night

From Morning to Night
by Becky Gonzalez

Hosanna-filled shouts from the crowd start the day,
“O Lord, save us.”
The same crowds that witnessed the dead being raised.
Signs and wonders,
palm branches and a donkey colt.
Prophecy fulfilled,
and glimpses of glory.

Then prediction of a crucifixion.
“The time has come.”
The storm-tossed soul of a savior on mission,
a savior with oil-anointed toes from the night before.
From glory to glory,
and darkness to light.
Speaking fragrant words of eternal life.

And speaking of fragrant, one final thought to ponder:
Was the scent of perfume from the night before
still in the air at the end of the day
as Jesus prepared to wash his disciples’ feet?
Love’s lingering aroma.
From darkness to light,
and morning to night.


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Rebecca “Becky” Gonzalez is a writer and speaker. She is a recovering perfectionist and people-pleaser, a hopeful encourager and freedom fighter. She embraces the grit and grace of life, love, and faith, and uses her words to encourage others. Becky lives in Miami, Florida with her husband, three children, and their rescue dog, Riley. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and her website.

Sweet Anticipation

Sweet Anticipation
by Laura Birnie

The sun is much brighter than it has been these past few months, a promise of more warmth to come. The snow is slowly melting away, watering the soil. I run my fingers down the branch of a shrub and feel the new buds formed and ready to open in their time. I can’t wait to see them unfurl, I think to myself.

Sweet anticipation.

I hear the birds chirping in the quiet of the winter snow. I’d forgotten about the sweet songs that fill the spring, summer, and fall air with their melodies. Oh! What’s this? A late winter snowstorm hits and it’s quiet again, but I’m reminded of what’s coming soon.

Sweet anticipation.

I spot the crocus and daffodil shoots peeking through the ground. “No, not yet! It’s too early!” I tell them, but they don’t listen. They insist on poking their little heads through the dirt and snow. I can’t wait for their greens, purples, and yellows to spring forth.

Sweet anticipation.

The world around me is awakening from its sluggish, winter slumber. A resurrection of what was dead. Just as Jesus’ lifeless body in that tomb was filled with breath once more. I think of Mary on that early spring morning in the garden when she fell at the feet of Jesus’ newly risen form, unable to touch Him; His resurrection bringing new hope. Was her heart so full of excitement she felt it might burst with…

Sweet anticipation?

All of a sudden, it seems, it’s much warmer, the snow is gone, and the cherry blossoms and magnolias have burst out of their buds. I stand in awe and breathe in the sweet scents. Spring is in full swing. The earth is alive again! If this world of clay is this beautiful, how much more amazing will heaven be? One day, my Savior will take me home to spend eternity with Him, but in the meantime, I will wait with…

Sweet anticipation.


Laura Birnie is a wife and a stay-at-home mom who loves Jesus, her family and coffee, in that order. She lives in Ontario, Canada, and loves spending time soaking in the beauty of God’s creation. When she isn’t writing, homeschooling, or taking care of her family, she can often be found crafting or reading with a cup of coffee in her hand and her Boston Terrier in her lap.

A Garden of Words

A Garden of Words
by Ashlyn McKayla Ohm

Was the news scary, you ask? Well, of course it was, and how could it not be? I am a grower of ideas, after all. Long before I had heard of publishing models and three-act structure, long before I could know that books were written instead of gathered from some garden at the end of the world, I was already living those ideas, verdant vines tying themselves around the corners of my life. And that is what I have done, all my life, even now—nurtured the seeds of stories in my soul, waiting for each one to catch the light and sprout words like leaves.

So yes, when they came with their tongue-tangled tales of this magic machine—this technological alchemy they called ChatGPT—yes, the wind felt strange. Where my heart had been a garden of ideas—a garden requiring the purest kind of patience as I waited on the words—here was a factory, ready to mass-produce words and reap by wizardry all my staple crops: essays, poetry, stories. Fertilize it with a few fragmented notions, they told me, and the hurried harvest would burst forth.

So now, I walk these spring evenings, out on the country roads where the awakening hills arch their backs and the wind carries the deep delight of growing and the broken-down asphalt has made friends with the grass. And I wonder: Who will have time now for the organic words, the ones grown green with grace? Who will still value the work of the idea-farmer, the heart kept wide with wonder, the hands gently working the soil of the soul? If artificial words can be mixed in a minute, who will wait for the seeds in my spirit to sprout soft and slow?

But perhaps they will.

Because perhaps, in the end, the prefabricated products of any chatbot aren’t truly the gift that the world needs. Perhaps it’s time for you, and me, and all of us to discover the truth that just might save us from the mad welter of mass-produced words: The short-term gratification of getting the words doesn’t outweigh the long-term sanctification of growing the words.

Yes, I am a grower of ideas, and this I know: I am changed by my words. As each infant idea unfolds in the underground of my heart, I feel its roots stretching through soil that might otherwise grow hard with hurt. As the idea takes form and stretches shoots into day, I too look to the light that has drawn it out of the darkness. As the words burst from bud, each one bursts something in me. And so as my ideas—my words—my stories grow in me, I grow in them as well.

You see, at the end of the long process, I bring a gift to the world: The pretty paperback that I harvest from my heart, my words finally ripe and ready to offer themselves to every pair of hands that hold my stories close. But as for me, I find the healing of my heart in the wrestling with the words. The nurturing of the idea all through the winters when my faith has turned to frost. The surrender to the sun in which my stories stand. The wrangling with every word, the call of the grower to grapple with grit and grace, to reach into the darkest underground and hold forth hope. It is there where my words change me, not in the polished product, but in the unwritten corners of my own story—where my words bow in worship to The Word, and all can be rewritten.

I am still walking this evening. The frogs are singing in the marshes, shrill and strong—serenading the green grass, unafraid that any computerized contraption will steal their singular song. And I smile, and I feel it—the mystery that cannot be mechanized—the faith-flicker of the words within.


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A passionate follower of Jesus Christ, Ashlyn McKayla Ohm finds her writing calling where her heart for God and her love for His creation intersect. Born and raised in rural Arkansas on the shoulders of the Ouachita Mountains, she’s most at home where the streetlights die and the pavement ends. She finds joy in weaving words into messages of hope and healing and is forever grateful that God has given her the gift of not only exploring His beautiful world but also using her words to prayerfully draw others to Him. Follow her adventures on her blog, Words from the Wilderness, or on Instagram and Facebook.

Psalm 19

Psalm 19
by Carolyn Miller

Loneliness is not bad until you’re made aware of it.
What’s glory?
The heavens declare God’s pleasure in what He’s made. Do you feel it when you stare
alone, cold on the balcony? Magnificence pulling your breath out of your chest in cold
smearable colors
desires to fly
The sky’s signature is one of His notable achievements.
Like an orchestrated symphony for
the deaf – an orchestrated
symphony despite the blind –
the unconstructed shapes and colors run over towards
the ground gravity pulling the silk layers down into the
day after day the same trick never done the same way twice like
watercolors bleeding off the page until the moon blacks them
out and the stars force their fingers through the wrapping
The skies carry the largest
silent scream translated
through irises of every color in
faces of every shape mouths
mumble prayers into the
below the silent rainbow
crimes of unspeakable
nature happen mirroring
the skies ravaging
The eyes see
The ears hear
The rivers run black in the dark Yet, again,
and again – and again the sun rises
streaming in knowledge of all the holes in
the universe its whispering through
leaves and into flowers and into graves
promises of a rising promises of life to
below above inside out the sun falls it warms the dry bones and the fresh
babies held up in victory held up in joy grass unfurls and springs out from
below the dirt clods, little green banners shivering in the light
His train falls
people screaming into the foam of the ocean
Their feet imprinted in
the sand laughter spray
His train falls into the depths of the liquid
the color becoming more dense as it falls through the
bubbles His feet plant firmly into the freshly furrowed
soil, staining His ankles red as He strides forward
through the fresh smell after the rain The folds of light
drag through the trees and they bend to its force the
leaves curling along the ground
their dust sending up the sweet smell
On the cliff
He pauses a second before
plunging from sight and His train
wraps the land into darkness the
splash of His landing lights
another day
Yawning tiredly the fresh spray awakens my soul from fatigue
Again the beams of Your crown shatter the stillness and the birds join into the chorus
I am revived
coffee and wood
and warm soft
i hide my face in the blankets
yet the sun finds me
its warm fingers pull me close
i throw back the covers and
stretch Until my limbs feel
and i sit up
soft warmth
i blink in the golden
brightness slivers
cascading through the
glass shivering me to my
knees a darting bird a flash
of color
honey heat
Like fire on my flesh its heat sends me into the shadows
my feet cold on the tile like fish flipping out on
the shore everything is still here in the kitchen
my presence sending up a disco of dust in the
beams of light
My motions are clumsy yet
the sun spills without pause
or error on the floor
all i am my naked flesh goosed in
the cool morning
exposed below Your
eyes My hidden errors
on display my actions x-
rayed into the day
my rhythms slashing through the universe
my mouth
formed by
The whole universe a living
breathing word uttered into the
un. and wriggled into being.
i. a
a living breathing
breath. as i interact i
as i interact with His word i learn.
am i, Your word, bringing delight to Your heart?
Your Word does not go forth and
return void. i, Your word, stand – eyes
closed – in the sunlight.



Carolyn Miller is a yellow glasses, yellow shoes wearing scribbler. She’s been reading since she was four and writing since she was 6. Her passion is hidden in her curiosity and her unconventional dialogue; be that in person, or on paper. She’s been a freelance writer, and an editor for others’ work, since her freshman year of college and been in ministry since she was 13 (be that nursery, youth leader, church librarian, or missions teacher and board member). Carolyn’s heart is that people would look below the surface of their sight and feelings to find and invite God where we least expect or desire Him. She believes writing holds a special ability to dialogue with people even beyond the reach of human connection. And that the Master Storyteller has given us this gift of Word to bring the Kingdom to life within us so that we can walk it out, encouraged in heart and united in love. You can peruse her writing at, Instagram, and Facebook.

Love Breaks Through

Love Breaks Through
by Shemaiah Gonzalez

The dark earth cracked with small specks of ice even though it had not rained in days. In ravines and ruts, where the last rain had pooled, sheets of ice were left shard, like broken mirrors strewn across the Surrey landscape. It was upon these paths I spent my afternoons wandering and praying.

This past January, I traveled to England to mediate on joy. To spend an entire month, without my family, without comforts of home, to turn the concept of delight and wonder and happiness over and over in my mind.

Most of this adventure was spent wandering the countryside of Surrey and Devon in Southern England. I stayed with religious communities, Jesuits and Benedictines who opened their doors and their guest rooms for me, and attended services at least once a day.  And I took long, long walks.

How I came up with this formula I do not know. But it seemed to work for me.

The climate in England is quite similar to my hometown of Seattle, Washington. Januarys are cold and wet. I had not accounted for the fact that when I am home, I am not out of doors, actually in the wet and the cold. I am cozy and dry inside. Similarly, I had not accounted for the bitter chill of Victorian era monasteries which cost a fortune to heat. The result was that I was always cold. I was cold but happy.

Something happens when you deprive yourself of comforts voluntarily, whether in fasting, abstaining, or finding yourself in an old monastery in the middle of the English countryside. With only two meals a day, a chill I couldn’t shake, lack of internet and cell service, something happened in that space which is usually cloaked by comfort. Call it magic or mystery but the words of the liturgy I heard several times a day became part of my cadence, placing me in some sort of liminal space; a space between this world and the one we cannot usually see.

The prayers prayed with the monks became part of my sleep.

Lord, come to my aid.

I heard Brother Thomas, whose voice started our prayers in this way, sing this refrain over in my mind as I brushed my teeth.

And make haste to help me.

I whispered as I tied my shoes.

I dreamt of the words from compline.

Watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in His peace.

But too, the Word became part of my waking thoughts—especially as I walked the stark countryside lined with barren branches.

Lord, let Your love come upon me.

I was discovering on those walks and through these prayers how much joy is entwined with love. How knowing I am loved, believing I am loved, opens me up to joy.

Dusk covered the landscape early. Without streetlights, it could prove difficult to find my way back to the monastery if I didn’t return by four o’clock. But there was another reason why I wanted to return before vespers—so I could chat with Brother Andrew.

He was usually waiting for me when I pushed open the huge wooden door to the guest house. Brother Andrew was my host monk. He made sure I felt welcome and guided me through the prayer books for each of the daily offices. Also, we liked to tell stories in the afternoon. I peeled off my gloves and filled up the kettle for tea.

What are you doing out there on your afternoon walk?

Looking for a fox. I told him.

They are everywhere.

Well, I’ve never seen one and I’d like to. I’m such a city girl, a fox is an exotic creature to me.

I’m going to pray that you see your fox—before you leave our monastery.


After compline I lay in bed singing the lines from the Welsh melody we just sang,

Day is done, but love unfailing

Dwells ever here

Shadows fall but hope prevailing,

Calms every fear.


Starting this journey, I had been fearful. Would I be able to be away from my family for this long? Would I navigate the logistics of travel? Would I stay safe on the journey?

Each day, these fears subsided as I felt God’s love pouring over me. I had felt the need to accomplish something. Perhaps write a good portion of the book I had brewing in me during the trip. But it quickly became clear that God wanted me to experience the book, to soak in joy, to know He loved me.

The next day after Mass, I had planned on taking the bus into the closest town, pick up a few provisions and then walk back to the monastery. A parishioner heard my plan and offered a ride five miles into town.

After a hot lunch, a new book, a quart of milk, and a refill on drugstore toiletries, I headed back to the monastery with new ground and sights to cover. It was brisk but the sunshine was out. Bright enough for me to pull out my sunglasses. The air smelled clean and woodsy. The public path took me to the top of a hill with farmland spread out before me. Sheep dotted the landscape as did cottages made of sandstone. So this is what awe feels like, I thought to myself.

Down in the valley, the pathway became mucky. My shoes stuck in the mud as I stepped, my socked foot pulling out on its own. There was nothing I could do but laugh, stick the foot back into my shoe and move forward. I had four miles more to go. Villagers met me on the path with knee high wellies on.

I think you’ve ruined your trainers there. They teased.

I didn’t care. It was glorious.

Bramble bush on one side of me and farmland on the other. I felt as if I connected with some great grandmother who walked these fields centuries before. My legs moved strong beneath me even as I moved awkwardly through the mire.

Three miles to go and I walked through woods behind village houses until the path spit me out abruptly onto train tracks, perhaps miles from a crossing, unguarded and unfenced on either side. It was jarring to find myself upon the tracks I rode in a rapid train just a few days before. I stopped to listen as I looked each way before crossing over.

In the middle of the tracks, I stopped, realizing I may never be in this position again. I pulled out my iPhone to document the thrill of standing on the tracks and snapped. That’s when I saw it. A fox. He saw me first. He stopped in the middle of the tracks looking at me. He is there, in that photo. When I stopped, he stopped. When I moved, he moved, his body sleek and low to the ground. We looked at each other for a few seconds until I realized I wasn’t breathing. And I was in the middle of train tracks.

I dashed to the other side and looked back at him. I saw the white tip of his luxuriant tail as he sauntered away. And then, as if he felt me, he too, looked back, his eyes narrowing over his long-pointed nose. It was just a second. Then he was gone, down onto the path, out of sight. And without warning, without any notice, I sobbed. I sobbed because he was so beautiful. I sobbed because I had wanted so badly to see one. And I sobbed because I knew that just as I like to give my own children gifts that will fill them up with hope and wonder, God likes to do this too.

This is all to dazzle you. Just let Me love you.



Shemaiah Gonzalez is a storyteller and essayist whose work has appeared in America Magazine, U.S. Catholic and Loyola Press, among others. Her biography on beloved Catholic writer Brian Doyle will be published with Liturgical Press, Fall 2023. She is currently working on transforming her popular Substack Undaunted Joy into a collection of essays. A Los Angeles native, she now lives in Seattle with her husband and their two sons. Connect with her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and her website.

*Photo courtesy of Jeremy Vessey and Unsplash

Now Found

Now Found
by Lisa Anne Tindal

The noisy celebration at “Aunt Boo’s” was interrupted by the arrival my baby sister. Seven years younger, our life’s trajectories vastly different and our starts in life I suppose vary in both perspectives and experiences. Her hair is long, she’s got a leaner body, an easy elegance in her posture.  Her temperament is wait and see sort of measured while mine is it’s possible it could be true, let’s dream it!

Our eyes are the exact same blue and they met mine with a sort of giddiness not typical of her that day. She was the bearer of unexpected news.

She announced that she’d brought me something. With a sweet little bit of pride, she lifted a one-eyed, smushed and worn of its fluff teddy bear from a brown paper bag.

And I smiled and paused, lost in the strangeness, the mystery in the room. Then, I asked her if it had belonged to my daughter or son and I’d just passed it on to her daughter, then her son.

They’d cleaned out their attic and she found it. She told me this and then with blank puzzlement on her face, her excitement changed to disbelief.

“This was your bear,” she said. “This was yours.”

An audience of family had gathered by then and so I pretended to be happy, pretended that I remembered.

The worn brown bear with a zipper pouch and old battery from the 60’s was tucked quickly behind the door, safe so it wouldn’t get thrown in with the crazy of “white elephant” gift exchanging.

“That’s mine.” I said softly to my daughter hoping to convey the significance. I said the same to my husband and my sweet aunt, adding that I don’t remember being a little girl who loved a bear.

But the wonder of it all changed to solemn longing. There are things I cannot remember. This makes no sense at all.

My siblings tell stories of us that I don’t own. I’ve been told I cried most of my infancy. I’ve heard the account of my grandfather’s boat falling on my leg and I listen when the cousins remember days that were special. I absorb their memories hoping they’ll somehow flip the switch to enlighten mine. I see the blank expressions on their faces that I suppose mirror mine. Trauma in your childhood leads to memory loss, either because as a child you removed yourself from the sadness or danger or because your brain did it for you.  Like most things in life that keep you searching to unlock the mystery, the more healing choice is to understand the void and accept it.

The brown bear ended up tossed in the back of my daughter’s car and I quietly retrieved it, knowing it as a true treasure. I laid it on the bed in the spare room/nursery, my bear.

Weeks passed and I could not stop writing stories about the look on my baby sister’s face.

Twice or more she repeated, her brow furrowed, and her mouth pursed in expression, “This is your bear, I found it and wanted you to have it.”

Questions and schemes mounted. I could call my sister and ask her to help me put the pieces together. I could explain to her that I have been trying so hard. I do not remember being a child who was given a teddy bear and I don’t remember letting her keep it.

Then, she’d read to me from the book of our childhood and I’d be relieved or even more troubled by sweet details long ago vanished. I decided against calling. I decided to remember only the love in her eyes when she passed me the borrowed bear, not to taint the gift of this giver, my sister, not stir up memories of our childhoods we’re both better off not revisiting.

After a time of being afraid, my granddaughter asked for a sleepover. We were cuddled together before nine. She asked to sleep with my bear. Sleep came quickly as she lay close beside me, her little face next to the one-eyed bear. It was early and I hoped for a night with no “take me home.” I struggled to be still. I struggled to get the weight from my chest. Then, her little frame turned to her side and let out a sigh that said sleep and the teddy bear lay between us.

I pulled it to my chest and let out a long exhale. I slept. Words are lacking to express the realization of that sleep now two weeks passed, sleep that came softly, suddenly and so gently. Until now, there’s been a bigger secret, a more beautiful discovery.

My husband makes the bed some days even though I remake it. I’m certain he’s aware of my sleeping with a stuffed animal. He either places it on the nightstand or just leaves it on the floor. My nights have been tender and I’m not embarrassed. Not embarrassed to be sixty-two years old and hugging tightly like a treasure my childhood bear.  No need for questioning the gift of sleeping like a baby.

The bear my sister found has guided me to a deeper and more important healing. The path is one like little tiptoes, not sought or forced.

In a recent talk before a group of women about my journey back to art and about understanding our value is according to God, not others, not acclaim, not our past detours, I described myself in a way I hadn’t planned.

“I stand before you, a woman sort of lost and now found.”

Strange, until now because last week I found a devotional from thirty plus years ago. I wasn’t ready for it back then as I fought to stop starving myself or to destroy my body. I’m reading it now.

Reading and remembering without shame.

Tonight, I’ll find my teddy bear and hold it closely in the dark, the connection between my sister and me.

Hold closely what is found, not long for what is meant to be lost.


Lisa Anne Tindal is a writer and artist, and a children’s book author and illustrator of a book inspired by her granddaughter entitled “Look at The Birds”. Lisa Anne hopes to convey strength and courage in both her artwork and writing and to empower women who have experienced childhood or adult trauma. She believes in beautiful redemption stories and writes honestly about her own as a way to lead others to believe they can live unhindered. Connect with her at, and Instagram, and Twitter.

*Photo courtesy of Victor Guevarra and Unsplash

Goodness Still Grows

Goodness Still Grows
by Diana Gruver

That spring, I desperately wanted a baby, but I planted tomatoes instead. We were midway through our infertility journey at the time, sorting through our grief over something we’d never actually possessed. Little did I know that in just over a year, I’d find out I was pregnant. We were still in the throes of uncertainty and pain in those days, and I needed something to nurture.

We did the first planting of the season at our kitchen table. Every day, I would inspect the black plastic tray on our window sill, willing the little seedlings to live. As the weeks passed, I stared at their fresh green leaves, gently running my hands across the tops of them.

A few weeks later, we got into the dirt of our friend’s garden, which he was kind enough to open to us since our housing situation at the time didn’t give us the chance to have one of our own. My hands plunged into the soft earth, breaking the clods apart between my fingers, as we nestled those delicate plants into the dirt, along with a few seeds I now no longer remember.

As we walked inside, our friend quipped, “Well, I hope something grows.”

My husband smiled. “It has every other time, hasn’t it?”

Gardening really does take some faith—to do all the dirty work, to put those little innocuous looking seeds or fragile plants in the ground, and to trust that, in time, they’ll grow. The only proof is “they have every other time,” but you don’t really know until you see the tender green tendrils emerge from the earth. They’ve grown every other time, but while you’re still in the midst of the weeding and pruning, pest-fighting and watering, you can’t be sure how much your efforts will be worth, until, that is, you hold the harvest in your hands.

Ironically enough, that year, we had nothing to show for our efforts. Those little tomato seedlings grew strong and healthy. We went one day with bowls, anticipating plants laden with ripe tomatoes. Instead, where only a few days before there had been dozens of green oblong fruit, the plants were stripped bare. The deer ate well that year.

Sometimes life is like that. I poured my heart and soul into those plants. They were a means to seeing something grow and bear fruit, even while other parts of my life, namely, my womb, remained void and futile. I may have cried over tomatoes that year.

And yet, in spite of the wildlife rampaging through my crops, year after year since then, I eagerly await the warming of spring, counting down the weeks until I can once again bend close to damp earth, pinching seeds from my cupped palm and sprinkling them carefully into indentations in the soil. Year after year, I hold out the hope that something will grow. (I’ve also wizened up. We have a fence around our small backyard garden to keep the rather abundant neighborhood bunny population at bay.) Year after year, I come back because I’ve found that, if I need to be anchored in hope, if I need to be reminded of goodness, I go out to my garden.

I suppose you could say gardening is one of my coping mechanisms. But it’s more than that. It is an embodied metaphor that cultivates hope and perseverance and faith in my heart. It’s a place I meet God.

When my mind is inundated and overtaken by news feeds of crises and controversies I have little or no ability to influence, I pull up weeds, creating space for my little crops to thrive. When I’m overwhelmed, stuck in a mental swirl of what-ifs and anxiety and grief, I find my jittery system still and my muscles begin to relax as I focus on simple, tangible tasks in the little plot of earth at my feet. When I’m plagued by besetting mental health struggles or interpersonal conflict or prayers of heartbreak, I reach my hands into the dirt and breathe deep, anchoring myself in a moment that is good.

I’m hardly what you would call a master gardener, and I wouldn’t dare to suggest that gardening has been the secret to solving all of my problems. And yet, when I bring my open heart and my mediocre gardening skills to that space, I find a place to catch my breath. I am rooted in a place, just as the seeds I’ve sown have done. As with the rest of life, there are no guarantees of the harvest, but I work and cultivate and wait, and, also like the rest of life, defying odds and chaos and occasional neglect, seeds germinate and take root and grow and bear fruit. I look at that little garden plot, with its rows of carrots and lettuce and, yes, tomatoes, and I am reminded: goodness still grows.

Diana Gruver headshot (1)

Diana Gruver writes about discipleship and spiritual formation in the every day. She is the author of Companions in the Darkness: Seven Saints who Struggled with Depression and Doubt. You can often find her singing in her Pennsylvania kitchen with her husband and two ever-curious children. You can find more of her writing at or on Twitter @dianagruver.

Two Poems

Two Poems
by Elizabeth Hudgens

justice rendered

the image i carry perhaps skewed
by my western mind sees You as
Judge robed sitting high and distant
disgusted looking down with gavel
raised ready to hammer home a ruling
declaring every way i have fallen short
in rebellious rigor but this vision itself
lands far south of truth Your judgment
is so much more than mere retribution
it is a dearly uttered promise to enter
the story enrobed with flesh in order
to set right what is wrong not wearing
a scowl but beaming delight coming
close to restore what has been lost to
redeem those caught up in slavery with
blood poured out to heal the death due
as Life eternal renders justice kind


ambushed by mercy

we on this path of following
love Incarnate stalking those
hobbling lame and blind
vulnerable to more danger
have been presented with
an opportunity to affect
what is broken
as marauders of mercy
raiding this world
with hope embodied
priests prowling together
a band of wanderers all
looking out for the bruised
the beaten needing to be
ambushed with grace
to be fallen upon swiftly
not to produce loss but instead
mend with great compassion
that restores and points to
redemption’s triumphant gain


Elizabeth Hudgens lives in South Carolina with her husband and 3 mostly grown up kids. She has been writing for several years with the aim of encouraging her friends and family to see the redemptive beauty of Jesus all around them, and has a new found love for attempting to do so through poetry. She longs to live an intentional, embodied, faithful life as a partaker of grace and a participant in the gospel. Connect with her at her blog and Instagram.

Wondrous Revelation

Wondrous Revelation
by Haley Donaldson

Colors are a wondrous revelation
I am constantly in wonder and awe
The wild and extraordinary depths
From the smoky peach skies of summer
To the icy white glitter of winter

The enlightening warm glow of the sun
Peeping above the cascading mountains
Spewing colors of golden pinks, oranges
yellows & purples
Setting the world asleep.

Rotating color palettes to dark skies
Brewing a whimsical storm that splashes
Mystical grays and deep hues of blues
Specklings of gold
Splatter the stratosphere

The glistening spark in a human eye
Swirling layers of greens & browns, hazel-blend
Opening the windows of our souls
Lighting a lamp
Extinguishes the darkness

Little dots sprinkled across the nose
Freckled cheeks tinted with rosy reds
Unique compositions decorate our skin
Covering our fleshly blood
Saved by spilled wine.

All the colors near, far, and in between
Painter, Potter, Artist, Creator
Glorious Wondrous Heavenly Father
Your works….
A masterpiece.




Haley Donaldson is a writer and creator nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Her heart beats to the sound of creativity, words, and following God’s footsteps. She is currently employed in vocational ministry, serving collegiate athletes and coaches and leading them into a relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church. In her free time, she dreams of becoming a writer and uses her hands to craft the beauty she envisions. You can find her routinely on her current blog, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Her spirit-led mission is to fulfill God’s calling on leading young women to discover their Godly, heavenly sunshine to bring joy and creativity to others.