Creativity As A Spiritual Response

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July = Story

The topic of story is important to me for at least three major reasons:

1. I work part-time in a Memory Care setting at a retirement facility.  The residents are mostly in middle to late-stage dementia.  They have moved beyond repetitive story telling to living mostly in the present.  In my work as an Activity Coordinator, I listen for story and attempt to provide enough engaging activities that story emerges.  I listen, make inquiries, and listen again as the person expresses to the best of their ability something that happened possibly many years ago. I inquire of their family members and staff to find out what they know, so I can see a fuller picture of the person now, and who they have been.  I believe that story is important through all of our lives.

2. I did not grow up with stories so my interest is part of an experience of loss of what having stories might have meant.  I am the third child, the youngest.  I thought for many years that the reason I was not told stories was because the stories had been told previously, perhaps to my siblings.  Later, I discovered that they were not told stories either.  As we grew up away from other family, there was no story-teller to fill in the blanks of the lives of our parents, or early memories of ourselves.  My parents had many gifts, but they were not story-tellers.  And, I did not ask.   I have found that my experience is not unusual.

3. I am a spiritual director or spiritual coach.  At my heart, I am not a story-teller, although I am working on that.  Rather, I am a story listener.  While, a therapist may listen to stories of individuals and families, I in my role of a spiritual coach also listen. The stories that I listen to may come from both individuals, and small groups.  These particular stories reflect their relationship to the Divine as these people understand that relationship to be, or perhaps long for it to be.  My vocation is to listen to stories that can be tentative and to stories that change.  These stories can also be deep, emotional, questioning, and trusting as part of a dynamic relationship.  My role is to not get in the way of the person’s relationship with the Divine, but rather to understand the Divine as being with both of us, in our present moment.  It all begins with story.

My purpose in sharing this is to invite your own reflection on story.  If stories are important to you, why are they important?  

Changes Underway

If you have been looking at Earthenware Ministry’s website, you may be aware of some changes.  The most obvious is that there is a front page rather than the site opening directly onto the blog post.  The front page is awaiting some tweaking toward the end of next month.

More importantly, I hope you will be aware of a shift in focus from being primarily a reflective blog to becoming a creativity resource website.  This emerging focus will become more clear as time goes on.  My hope is that this website may be a catalyst for your own creativity, however you may define that, and mine.

For those of you who follow the blog, beginning in May the topics explored will all have something to do with creativity as a spiritual response.  This will be a move away from a topic (changing monthly) as a spiritual practice.  There will be subtopics explored under creativity.  The overall theme will be creativity and service as an expression of,  and response to,  spirituality – a spiritual response.

Next week, I expect to write my 100th blog on this site.  A lot has changed since I tentatively began the blog in 2013.  At that time, it was written as part of a form of spiritual exploration as well as learning the skills of blogging.  Through this process I learned something about my own writing, the stuck places that became predictable to me, as well as the pleasure of reading thoughtful comments from others.   I have loved reading the insightful posts by other bloggers similarly engaged.  I feel that I am a part of an expanding world-wide community.  Many thanks to you all.

Earth Day Musings

April 21, the day before Earth Day, is a beautiful day in Northern California.  It is warm, and mostly clear.  I took a walk and enjoyed the feel of the fresh air, the sound of birds and the distant whine of the BART train. A pleasurable Saturday.

Tomorrow I will be doing activities with elders with dementia who reside at a retirement community.  In the afternoon, in honor of Earth Day, I have planned to do some planting in the small outdoor garden with the residents.  Earlier this week I stopped off at the nursery to pick up some healthy plants, mostly culinary garden herbs.  Once established the plants should thrive in sun and with a potentially haphazard watering schedule.  I have chosen tarragon, sage, Italian oregano, lavender, thyme and marigolds.  These plants will be joining a well established rose at the center of the raised circular planting area as well as an equally well established geranium.  The presence of these established plants gives me some hope that those newly added may in fact thrive and become abundant in their new environment.

My expectation is that the residents will enjoy my presentation of the herbs and will dutifully touch them, or perhaps smell them, when I bring individual plants close to them.  A couple of the residents may choose to assist me with planting these new plants.  What I do know for sure is that many of the residents enjoy being out in the garden, wearing sun hats or sitting under an awning, feeling the breeze and listening to the birds.  It gives them pleasure.  Their pleasure makes me happy.

What are your plans for Earth Day?

Caring For The Earth As A Spiritual Practice

Welcome to the month of April!

This month, we will be reflecting on caring for the earth as a Spiritual Practice.

To be sure, reflecting on the earth and the environment is hardly a unique topic for a month that includes Earth Day, April 22. We all will be hearing about the global environment repeatedly and with good reason. Our earthly home is indeed fragile.

I will however move through the month making slightly different inquires. Some of these inquiries are:

  • How does one’s intention to care for the earth lead to spiritual practices? What new practices might emerge or are emerging?
  • Does caring for the earth enable our individual and collective spirit to grow or diminish? If so, how might that growth or diminishment appear?

What do you think? Please comment below.

During the month of April, I will be updating my website. There are guaranteed to be some changes which may create some anxiety because the site will feel different. I am hoping that everything goes smoothly. Once the changes are made your comments are welcomed and appreciated!

With much love,


Building Bridges As A Spiritual Practice

We are coming near to the end of the month and our reflections on building bridges.

In this all too brief series of reflections and inquiries, we have had some opportunity to reflect on the on-going and complex process of conceptualizing and building metaphorical bridges with others.

I wonder what it has meant to you to be invited to understand creativity and spirituality as intentional bridge building as well as to reflect on power, privilege, partnership and play. If something has come up for you that you wish to share, please comment below.

I note that writing a few comments in a blog do not honor the complexity of this topic. There is so much more that could be written.

For many Christians, next week will be Holy Week. A week in which we experience a bridge built from love for all people as we remember the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. I will be joining once again with others in worship, prayer and silence. I do not expect to be blogging, but who knows. I may.

Tomorrow, children and adults will be marching for the lives of children everywhere to be safe in their schools and in their communities. I will not be able to march with them, but they are in my heart this evening. I am happy they are speaking out against violence in their, and our lives.

Please pray for the mission and ministry of Earthenware Ministry. Please know that you are in my prayers as well.

With much love,


Building Bridges As A Spiritual Practice

This week we traversed the bridge between one season and another: Winter to Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and Summer to Fall in the Southern Hemisphere.  This movement is not dependent on our personal action, or necessarily choice.  Each of us may have expectations of what the season change will mean and what we may be doing. I happen to live in a location where it is obviously Spring while there are many who are clearing the roads and sidewalks after yet another early spring storm.