Making Room for Awe

First Tuesday in Advent

Every night, as I put my two children to bed, they ask if we can read a story. We do, sometimes more than one, and then I turn out the lights and remind them that it’s time to sleep.

But, sometimes, one or the both of them just want one more story.

Now, I am overjoyed that I am raising children who love to read, but it is sometimes the case that I am just so dang tired at the end of a long day that one more book, or one more story, is just too much.

The other night was one such night.


But Baby Boy? He just wasn’t having it. He was insistent on reading his book once more. And so, he crawled under Little Man’s bed (it’s a loft style) with his book and his flashlight, and he “read” his book through. Once he was done, he was satisfied, crawled into bed and fell asleep.

There was something amazing about watching him deliberately shine the light on each page, face intent on the images and the words that he found. He was finding something in that book, more than the story that was presented. He was finding the simple joy of reading, of opening up your mind to imagination, wonder and awe.

It was, indeed, a holy moment.

Awe works within you, opening your heart and mind to the wonders of the world, of God’s workings, of creation, of all that is amazing and right and good. The more you experience awe, the more you are open to experiencing it. It’s self perpetuating, awe begets awe.

And so I was, and am, reminded to always make space for awe, even when I’m tired at the end of a long day, that it may rest in me, allow me to see more awe-filled sights in the world, sights of all that God has done and is doing.

Stitch by stitch

The First Monday in Advent


Months ago, I discovered a cross stitch pattern that struck a chord. It’s a door to a Hobbit hole, with wording from The Hobbit. Excited, I got all of the supplies, and went to work, creating the image in the pattern, stitch by stitch. Today, I’m less than a quarter of the way through the project.

Stitch by stitch is such a slow way to get things done.

There are times when I have felt as if I’m getting absolutely nowhere with the project. I can sit and stitch for two hours, and find that I have completed only a tiny bit of the design. I just can’t see the progress as I go.

But each time I pick it up again, I realize just how far I’ve come. With every single little “x” sewn into the fabric, I see the picture emerge. Stitch by stitch, it becomes clearer as borders are filled out and details are filled in.

Stitch by stitch may be tedious, but it works, it gets there, and it is worth it.

I write this on the First Monday in Advent in a year where everything just seems to be coming together stitch by stitch. Our world and our lives are in such chaos that it’s hard to look around and see the image of what we are supposed to be in it. In my own life, especially when it comes to the children, it often feels as if we are simply treading water, not getting anywhere. We are promised that God is working wonderful things in the world, but it is hard to see.

But maybe, every once in a while, we can start to see a glimmer of the picture that is being created in, around, and through us, stitch by stitch, a glimmer or two of hope breaking through the dimness of the world like rays of sunshine breaking through a grey, rainy day…

In those moments, whatever they are, we can start to see the picture emerging, the kingdom of God shining through, the promise and reality of God’s presence and working in the world. And we can start to see that, even though it may be slow, God is working on it, on us, and on the world.

Stitch by stitch may be tedious…but I believe that if the glimmers that I see are in any way indicative of what God is doing, then not only will it be amazing to watch the image unfold, but the wait is so worth it.

The Mundane Holy - An Introduction

A Reflection for the First Sunday in Advent 


What is Holy in the pile of shoes by the door? In the sink full of dishes needing to be washed? In the piles of laundry, the driveway in need of shoveling, the lawn in need of mowing, the gridlock on the commute to work, the diapers to be changed, the budgeting gymnastics when there’s too much month at the end of the paycheck? What is Holy in the Mundane that we live in? 

In the 17th century, there was a member of the barefooted Carmelites order in Paris by the name of Brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence worked as a cook for fifteen years in the monastery kitchen. In his later life, suffering from a severe sciatic gout, he was unable to stand for the time required by working in the kitchen. As a result, he spent the final years of his life as a sandal maker for the monastery, making and repairing the shoes of his brothers. 

Brother Lawerence spent his life doing the mundane: worldly tasks that were everyday, unextraordinary, even repetitive. 

In the book The Practice of the Presence of God, which is a collection of his letters and conversations with other people, Brother Lawrence said:

“For me the time of action does not differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are together calling for as many different things, I possess God in as great tranquillity as when upon my knees at the Blessed Sacrament.”

Brother Lawrence, in his service, chose to make every moment of his life, everything that he did and everything that he was called to do, an act of devotion and worship of God. He approached his whole life prayerfully, attentive to what God was saying to him in all moments, even in the midst of the mundane moments, and contemplative on their meaning. 

The Mundane Holy is an experiment in doing the same: seeking the Divine amidst the Everyday, teasing out the Holy moments in and among the Mundane of our lives. 

We begin with the Season of Advent, a perfect time to pause and seek God in the midst of this world.

For the season of Advent, there will be a post every day, as a sort of Advent Devotion. After Advent ends, there will be an evaluation of what frequency of reflections is both helpful and realistic.