Category Archives: centering prayer

Praise.

It’s just one of those weeks where despite the busy-ness, and the ups and downs, I’ve felt God’s presence so palpably, and I’m giving God praise.

On Plymouth Harbor.  Photo by Evan Schneider.
On Plymouth Harbor. Photo by Evan Schneider.

I give God praise for speaking into the silence, for meeting us simply and whole-heartedly.

I give God praise for listening ears and spiritual guidance on the journey.

And I give God praise for fellowship.  

Last night I had a phone call with a few girlfriends from seminary in which we got to affirm one another’s call, talk through challenges, and pray together.  It reminds me how much we were meant as human beings to rejoice together–in community.  And it made me realize all over again how powerful experiencing grace is, and how deserving of praise our God is for granting us grace.

When we look around and can see God’s hand in our lives, let us not take that for granted–let us praise God.

Amen.

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Virtual Coffee Date

If we were having coffee this morning I would tell you that I love this time of year, because the year, stretched out before us, firmly in the future, is full of possibilities.

Perhaps you would remember that I love to set goals, but this year as I prayerfully considered what God was calling me to, I found myself penning more general statements about how I want to live my life, Pray Audaciously.  Be Gracious of Heart.  Approach teaching as service and writing and learning as discipline.

A few nights ago I sat in silence, and I felt my heart racing.  I felt insecure.  I’m insecure, because teaching is a new experience for me this semester, and when I think about needing to prove myself, I’m crestfallen.  In my heart, I’m still yearning for China, and when I think of learning and serving, I often picture being hungry and cold with people somewhere else in the world, or preaching from a pulpit in a congregation.  But I sat there and I waited for a word from God, and I heard that what God’s calling me to is, “sitting at your feet, childlike, attentive, waiting.  It’s being a servant,” and my heart leapt as I thought, “and even I can do that.”

Approaching teaching as service reminds me that Jesus’ teaching was never about proving himself, or even about being right, but it was wholly relational, progressive, and above the fray.  And because Jesus relied on God for the balance between these qualities in teaching, his teaching was life-changing.

Yesterday as I talked through some of these fears and excitements with my spiritual director, I realized that if I could just listen to my students with love and attentiveness, if I could just learn with them, I think I’d be doing enough and serving well.  In the language of servanthood, teaching becomes less about doing things right or perfectly or best, and more about regarding the people in front of me with respect, reverence, and a gracious heart, and again, I think “even I can do that.”

I would go on to tell you that I intend to sit in silence this year to listen to God more often.  I would tell you that I plan to say audacious prayers for China.  Somewhere along the way, I think my heart became so troubled by not being there and not being able to “do” anything, and I think deep inside me, a little part of my faith died, when it comes to the people I love there who I feel are very confined by their circumstances.  But lately I’ve been remembering that God changes hearts and lives, which is pretty much the greatest path, perhaps the only, toward changing circumstances, and I’ve resolved to pray boldly for China and its people.

And finally, I would tell you that yesterday I had a meeting with a professor who somehow saw through all my meandering writings of late, that my heart lies with foster moms and disabled children, and he encouraged me not to look for ways to make my dissertation topic bigger or more important, but to trust that this small topic can become bigger and greater and more compelling than I ever imagined.  It was both overwhelming and heartening to hear such critique and advice–heartening because these are the stories I collected and want to tell, and overwhelming because I need to start a bit fresh with some applications and outlines and etchings.

But it’s a new year, and what better time to start fresh, right?

What’s on your mind in 2013?

Small World

–Erin

Unseen Servants Among Us

Today I’m over at Ed Cyzewski’s, In A Mirror Dimly, blogging for his Women in Ministry Series. There’s been some fabulous and thoughtful entries in this series, and I’m honored and thrilled to be a part of it!

You can read my entry here, entitled Unseen Servants Among Us.

If you’re joining us from Ed’s blog, welcome!  I hope you enjoy reading more about my adventures in China, my experience with reentry and readjustment to life in the States, and my love affair with Centering Prayer.  I try to cultivate a conversation about faith and culture here, and I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Meanwhile, I’m off to Arizona for the weekend for some time with family, some R & R, and some sunshine.

Hope you have a blessed weekend!

On prayer and presence

Do you ever get the feeling you are hemmed in by blessing both before you and behind you?  And that despite this season of grief and being torn from what was made familiar, there is promise in the ordinary, steady work of the hand of God?

I couldn’t sleep this morning.  I woke up around four o’clock and made the efforts at tossing and turning until it made more sense to rise and simply make something of these moments.

Photo credit: http://ayearabout.wordpress.com/category/new-england/.

And I’m sitting here in the dark of autumn in the early hours, oddly comforted by the quiet and the thoughts that wouldn’t leave me this morning: thoughts of friends and family who’ve listened to my thoughts these past few weeks with prayerful diligence, feelings of excitement about the presentation I gave yesterday on my research and the generosity with which it was received, and the sense that at a time like this, when China is fluttering away with rush hour energy on the other side of the world, God must be in the midst of it all, painstakingly working for justice and peace and love in motions far beyond my understanding.

I had that sense when I sat in silent prayer last Thursday at a weekly meditation lunch on the university campus.  I breathed in and out and felt filled by God’s presence.

Perhaps it was easier because I’d met with my spiritual director the day before and she’d made me attuned to the slightest of thoughts and motions that push God further away.  Perhaps it was the way in which the leader of the session invited us to think of those who were suffering and tears rushed to my eyes as I thought of all those friends and families in China who are ever on my heart and yet feel so far away.

Or perhaps it was simply the stopping, the breathing, and the embracing, that is that first necessary step toward God.

This morning’s meditation from Oswald Chambers talks about prayer as the end to our means.  It talks about the work that prayer does in us, and the sense that it is enough.  These words gave me great comfort and peace, especially at a time where I continue to feel the distance and the distress in leaving China in all the small and great things alike:

Prayer is the battle, and it makes no difference where you are. However God may engineer your circumstances, your duty is to pray. Never allow yourself this thought, “I am of no use where I am,” because you certainly cannot be used where you have not yet been placed. Wherever God has placed you and whatever your circumstances, you should pray, continually offering up prayers to Him. And He promises, “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do . . . (John 14:13). 

In prayer, we are promised God’s presence, which is what the spiritual life is all about–finding, knowing, and being known by God.  And so as I go about my daily life in this place, despite the aching and restless feelings that come with the culture shock, I’m starting to embrace the fact that God has called me here, and that prayer can be greater and wider and more than silence or rightness with God or signs of holiness.

I’m starting to realize that maybe all of life is prayer and my role is simply to show up.

What do you think?

My Spiritual Discipline: Centering Prayer

My friend, Mihee, writes a wonderful blog called First Day Walking, and she’s been so gracious to feature an essay I wrote on Centering Prayer for her Merely Beloved series on Spiritual Disciplines.  You can click over and read my essay here, or scroll down, and if you’re just joining us from Mihee’s blog, welcome, welcome, welcome!  

If you’re wanting to learn more about my practice of centering prayer, there’s a whole slew of posts here.  Also feel free to hunt around the blog and get to know me: my Two Years in China post has some highlights of what I’ve been up to these past few years and lately I’ve been blogging about reentry to life here in the United States and the people I love and miss in China.  Please leave your mark in the form of comments: I’d love to get to know you!

I remember vividly that my love affair with centering prayer began in my senior year of college.

I was pursuing a call to ministry, poised to move first to Puerto Rico and then onto Washington, DC to serve the poor, and becoming exhausted with finding myself betwixt and between empty praise and worship and stodgy skepticism.  I longed for a place where the presence of God, not our wanton human wisdom, was paramount.

The end of summer on the D&R Canal, Princeton, NJ.  All photos by Evan Schneider.

Somehow I found my way to the little Catholic circle on my Presbyterian campus, a motley crew led by a renegade lady who didn’t seem to think it weird that everybody called her Pastor and who was convinced that service and contemplation went together.  In the little workshop in which she roped me in, she taught us the ins and outs of lectio, the intentional listening for God while reading scripture (in contrast to the very real Bible school temptation to try to unravel the whole meaning of the verses in just a few minutes).

Mandarin Bible with Dai language translation notes.

We were reading Ephesians 3:14-18, incidentally one of my favorite passages since youth, closing our eyes and earnestly seeking God, and then going around and sharing the words or the phrases that stuck out to us.  When the Pastor got to me, I shared my word, “grasp,” only she revealed to me that that word wasn’t actually in the text for today.

“Don’t worry,” she said, “that happens frequently,” with a smirk and a chuckle, and I was awestruck by how nonchalant this Catholic woman could be about minor miracles in our midst.

It turns out that repeatedly hearing the NIV version of that scripture growing up probably put that word in my head, but maybe God wanted me to hear it, too.  When I began to come to the Catholic circle with regularity, where they not only closed their eyes and listened to scripture with their hearts, but sat for thirty minute silent prayer sessions, I also began to use grasp as my prayer word, to which I could return my heart, as I did with my eyes to the candle burning in the center of the room, if my mind wandered.

Pastor Barb, despite her high energy and her electric personality, had this ease about her, this sense that prayer was about so much more than words, and that communion with God was meaningful even when it didn’t feel like anything, even when nothing happens.

As far as my own life is concerned, the mystery of centering prayer seems to be just as much about what happens outside of the prayer as in it.  During nearly six years of practicing centering prayer in the barrios of Puerto Rico, in our nation’s capital, and on the campus of Princeton Theological Seminary, that word grasp took me on a journey from grasping for God, to realizing that God has been ever and always grasping for me.

Shortly after moving to China, I felt compelled to choose a new prayer word, and whereas grasp at least implied God’s action, if not my own, the word to which I was led, abide, seemed to denote the essence of passivity.

Cars whiz by in Nanning, the capital city of Guangxi, China.

But as I’ve lived and breathed and been silent with it a bit more (and trust me, silence was something I craved in a city of nearly 7 million!), and as life in China unfolded to show me that not only is control merely an illusion, but that God is also greater and more faithful than I ever imagined, I realized that abiding is quintessentially the opposite of distraction, and centering prayer not only the art of intention, but the willingness to let God lead the way.

As J. David Muyskens writes in an eloquent little book on the topic,

“Maybe I am getting in best when nothing happens. Maybe I am on to something when there is no reward for me. Maybe the closest I can be to awareness of holy is just to be with the mysterious attraction that the Creator put in me. And, maybe when I don’t even sense that, still the transforming work of Christ goes on, unknown to me. Maybe that’s just the point: no effort on my part, only divine action.”

Sacred Breath: Forty Days of Centering Prayer, p. 87

Incense labyrinth in a temple in Kunming, China.

Maybe the reason lectio and centering prayer have been so profound throughout the ages (some say they date back to the Desert Fathers, at least to the Benedictine monastics, and amazing people of faith like Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and modern-day monks in American Catholicism like Thomas Keating) is because they’re not just a different way of praying, but the opposite of what we as human beings would normally do.  We’ve been trained, in the West, if not hard-wired, to dive into scripture and faith and religion with our minds.  As an M. Div grad and a Ph.D student, I especially struggle with the mind’s endless critiquing, probing, meandering, and if you will, having a mind of its own!

But what’s active in centering prayer is explicitly not the mind–the mind’s to be quieted to allow for the Spirit to grow, reside, and even meander.  My discipline has changed as I’ve grown.  Whereas earlier on, I was very conscious of clearing the mind and letting go of all thoughts, I’ve become less legalistic and more open to some of the lingering, nagging voices that exhibit themselves in that silence, more open to the myriad manifestations of God’s presence.

Young minority Christians at a Bible training school in the mountains of Yunnan province.

I’ve closed my eyes in just about every fabulous place I’ve ever had the privilege of traveling to.  But I’ve never regretted those moments of silence, nor have I ever been really alone.  You see, doing centering prayer in community way back in my college days always made sense to me.  It’s not an easy thing to commit to those fifteen or thirty minutes on your own, but with safety in numbers, it’s somehow easier to open up to God fully and freely.

At Princeton Seminary, we’d sit in my crowded dorm room and attempt to block out the stress and the theology and the gods we often worshipped to welcome God in a very intentional way.  And in China, my dear friend joined me over skype, across an ocean, and a twelve-hour time difference, and yet the practice couldn’t have been more fruitful.  She says that after all these years, because we both still have a hard time with silence, it sometimes helps her to look up and see my peaceful face, the ups and downs of the breaths in and out of my chest, and my eyes closed, and and I feel the same way.

Believe it or not, silent prayer isn’t meant to be a solitary, distant practice.  As Pastor Barb made clear back in the day with her penchant for social action, it’s meant to take us from detachment, to intention, to communion with God, and into community.  I know it sounds impossible, bogus, even, that a practice of silence and contemplation would awaken Christians to community, to love and to justice.  And I know it’s not for everyone, my own husband doesn’t take refuge in silence the way I do, and I think that just speaks even more clearly to God’s myriad of manifestations.

Rice terraces in Guangxi, China.  All photos by Evan Schneider.

This one, this discipline, is not for everyone.  But if you’ve ever struggled to hear God above all the other voices, if you’ve ever lost touch with your heart or your spirit, or wondered about the work of the Holy Spirit, you may want to start closing your eyes and listening to your breath, reading scripture with the eyes of your heart, seeking communion rather than answers, and being open to God’s presence not just in these times of silence but everywhere in the world.

For further resources on the discipline of centering prayer, consult J. David Muyskens’ Forty Days to a Closer Walk with God, Sacred Breath, or Richard Rohr’s Simplicity for more on contemplative action.

You never change

Watching the rain come down in Yunnan, Kunming, China, May 2012.

It’s amazing what a quiet moment, a rainy Sunday, and a good friend can do for the soul…and the book of James.

“Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change,” my friend and I read during our time of centering prayer this Sunday from James Chapter one, verse seventeen.

And so it is that God reminds me that as often as I oscillate between those shadows and those mountaintops, from the villages of China to the streets of Princeton, New Jersey, as much as all that seems relevant in my life might change and shift and move, our God stays the same.

In Lion Hill Park, Guangxi, Nanning. January 2012.

Yes, the same God who knew me and was with me through the challenges of living and growing in China is the same God who finds me here.

It is so easy to become distracted by the circumstances in which we find ourselves, so easy to think our best maneuvers will help us find success, peace, or resolution.  But I’m learning time after time, day after day, that God remains my resting place, and if I earnestly seek God during these days, I’m bound to be found by God, bound to be in the realm of blessing, comfort, and peace.

A withered lotus flower.

And I’m slowly relearning, in this context, just like any other, what it means to live a life of faith, that along the meanderings of my thoughts yesterday, James says that, “if any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless.  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:26-27).

The author with a foster child in Guangxi, Nanning. All photos by Evan Schneider.

And that challenge, although I know I will fall short, is one I am humbled to accept.

Two years in China

Nanning at twilight!
Another image of city life in China.

It’s been two years of life for my husband and I here in China.  We’ve traveled to the mountains of Yunnan to visit minority churches, explored the ultra modern city of Hong Kong, explored, the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Egypt, and the UAE and hosted our families and friends. He’s completed two years of teaching college-level English and I’ve finished two years of fieldwork with foster families.

On Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam.
In Tahrir Square, Cairo, on the one-year anniversary of their revolution with our friends Ben and Emily.
With a foster baby in Guangxi. Photos by Evan Schneider.

More than anything, as I look back through the past years, I’m astounded not only by the breadth of these experiences that I will carry with me, but also God’s provision and faithfulness.  

If you have time I invite you to check out the following posts which weave their way, highlighting some snapshots of our two years here, describing some of the highs and lows of research, faith, cross-cultural immersion, and our life.

From 2010

August 2010: Abide in me…  {thoughts on silent prayer in a city of 7 million, spiritual growth, and freeing oneself from distractions}

September 2010: Journeywoman  {on security, brokenness, and culture}

December 2010: Equipped by the Spirit (Yunnan Reflection #2)  {reflections on my first trip to Yunnan, and the tension between the need for theological training and the equipping work of the Holy Spirit in the Yunnan countryside}

From 2011

May 2011: Hunan Headlines: A Mix of Sorrow and Hope  {personal and professional reflections on the baby-selling scandal in a county in Hunan, which made international news}

July 2011: Church Renewal from Below  {thoughts on Richard Rohr, cross-cultural exchange, and Chinese solutions to Chinese problems}

August 2011: A Taste of Vietnam {evangelizing for one of my favorites, Vietnamese coffee!}

October 2011: Come on ride the train {snippets from a typical road trip to Guilin}

November 2011: Like a child  {reflections on fieldwork with children, disability, and faith}

December 2011: The Best Things about Winter in China {bundled up babies, chestnuts roasting, and hot pot, of course!}

From 2012

January 2012: Cairo notes: from the rooftops {a reflection on our first few days in another land}

February 2012: Thanking God for the woes  {on the beattitudes, justice, and God’s call}

March 2012: 72 Hours in Hong Kong {highlights from a weekend trip}

April 2012: Some Easter Thoughts from China {on Christianity, tomb sweeping, and culture}

May 2012: Consider the ravens, consider the blessings {on understanding, cross-cultural relationships, worries, and of course, blessings}

July 2012: Pinching myself {reflections on leaving China and savoring the little things}

 

 

 

 

 

That your joy may be complete

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.  As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.  I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.  (John 15:7-15)

What an emotionally-charged, amazing week this has been!

And I couldn’t have gotten through it without all those prayers that friends and family have been sending up on my behalf and the tears and laughter you all have shown me, truly abiding with me and my family in this time.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

This morning a dear friend of mine and I took some time to pray in silence together, and she misquoted the chapter and verse she meant for us to read, and so we ended up reading this one instead.  And because abide is my centering prayer word, because my joy has felt so complete this week despite the pain and suffering, and because my friends have truly shown me the love of Christ, my eyes began to brim with tears.

We concluded that she was meant to misquote the chapter and verse, and we were meant to read this one together, to commune across an ocean in silent prayer, abiding with God, and then talking about what that looks like in our lives together.

See, I now realize why God lead me to the word abide in my silent prayer practice.  Whereas my other prayer word grasp denoted the sense of grasping for God and being grasped by God, abide is a state of relative passivity.

There’s nothing we’re doing in abiding with God and with others outside of communing with one another in the presence of the Spirit, and I think that’s what God’s been trying to mature me into as a Christian–a woman who recognizes God’s work in every moment, and realizes that her joy is complete regardless of the turmoil that’s going on around her.

Now none of that is to say I’m above life’s struggles.  I still worry, I still fear, and I still doubt, but since we moved to China, thanks be to God, there’s this real sense deep in my soul that God is truly omnipotent, that God has abided with us in the fullest sense here.  And I’ve found that prayer takes on a new meaning, when the end goal is nothing beyond that communion, that abiding, and that release of raw emotion, imperfection, and anxiety to a God who can be fully trusted to carry and receive it all.

But abiding with God in prayer is not merely where my joy is complete.  Rather, abiding has many faces, and it’s in the everyday that I learn more about what that means.

It’s the friends who have surrounded me in China to experience my joys and struggles in such a real way and to encourage me on this journey.

It’s the foster moms a few weeks ago in Anhui, with whom we sat experiencing their joys, their fears, their complaints in caring for special needs children despite their limited education and their limited means.  Abide means there wasn’t anything that we as the listeners could really offer them beyond our ears and our hearts and our support, but I think in some sense God blessed that moment as one of deep prayer and communion.

And abide is an image my friend shared with me this morning in her ministry with elderly people at a nursing home, the recognition that while one may be aging and not able to do the things she or he previously could that God calls us all the same to abide, not necessarily to do, but to receive.  She noticed as she spoke these words of truth an elderly woman nodding with tears in her eyes.

To me, that’s what it looks like to abide.

And so this weekend as I look forward to friends from the states coming to visit us here in China, I rejoice in the ways so many of these relationships in my life have bore fruit, have taught me about discipleship, and have made my joy complete in the Spirit.

Stopping to smell the hibiscus in South Lake Park, Nanning. All photos by Evan Schneider.

Creativity (or the lack thereof)

I’ve been away for a week or so traveling in Anhui and Hubei and learning about foster projects there.  I’ll be in and out this week, but I wanted to pop in and put some thoughts out about creativity and hobbies.

I have always considered myself a creative person: as little girls my sisters and I would litter the bottom of the Christmas tree with homemade items for mom and dad.  I played the flute since I was four or so, and I dabbled in dance, drama, and other arts.

This week, however, I traveled alongside a man who throws pottery, hunts, and fishes in his spare time, and I found myself envying his robust hobbies and contemplating my own lack thereof as an adult.  I run, I do yoga, I try to practice centering prayer, and I keep this blog, but I guess there’s something I feel like I’m missing when it comes to either practicing an art, making things for others with my own two hands, or finding a passion that connects me to the environment.

On the flip side, I realize that I love what I do: I love doing fieldwork, and doing ministry, and these in many ways are my passions.  I find myself devouring literature on Chinese culture and psychology in my free time, and I genuinely enjoy praying and having spiritual conversations with people.

And yet, I’m thinking that’s not quite enough.  I not only want to have interests apart from my work, but I also realize as I get older and I become more aware that life is short, I’m searching for activities that stretch me intellectually, physically, and spiritually–relaxation and entertainment must be more than magazines, tv, and blog-reading (although I certainly enjoy all of those).  Paradoxically, I’m also longing to return to some of the activities that brought me so much joy as a child: making music, dancing and gymnastics, map-making, drawing, painting, creating, gardening, exploring, and of course, imagining.

My dear friend Jessie and I hiking in upstate NY.

Today I told my husband that I used to love to play in woodwind quintets, and I also loved to make cards for friends and family.  Perhaps these are some hobbies I’ll be able to take up when I get back to the states.  I’d love to move to a place with great mountains where I could hike: I love the feeling of slight soreness at the end of a great day of exploring and exercising.

What did you love to do as a child?  What skill would you want to learn if you had all the time, money, and energy in the world?  And what hobbies do you have today?

Has anyone read this book on creativity?  Sounds interesting.

Weekend confession

Dear Reader,

You probably already know this, but I confess that I’m not nearly as put together as my blog would often make it seem.  

For example, you know those pieces of advice that I gave about writing fieldnotes everyday, or embracing the lack of rhythm in the process, or refusing to feel guilty about living your life?  I find it just as difficult to heed those as you do!

I had an amazing week of fieldwork, a jam-packed week of living and breathing with people here, and what did I do? I got myself thinking and wishing I was doing more, doubting the work I’ve done, and becoming frustrated with the inconsistency of it all and my inability to plan.

And you know the connection I feel with God in centering prayer and the conviction I feel toward seeking God’s vision for my life?  Well, I often let prayer fall by the wayside, and then I naively wonder why God feels so far away.  I worry about the future, about my own happiness, and I miss friends and family back home.

In reality, it’s not only fieldwork, but life that is not so clear-cut.  Over the last week two of my Chinese friends have shared with me shameful family secrets that are tearing at their hearts, I continue to see the brokenness that is a fact of life in foster care here in China, and witness the struggle of these disabled kids to feel the love and grace that only God can give.

So I just wanted to, nay, I had to confess these heavy things to you readers this weekend.  I have to confess that sometimes I doubt what I’m doing or what God’s doing here.

But I’m not going to give up just yet.  

In this season of Lent, I’m going to look at confession, look at all our brokenness, and give God praise, recognizing that all that pain, fear, and self-doubt, that’s just me, that’s just us being human, and if we can hang in there, it’s also part of welcoming God, of growing toward God, and letting our great God to be God in our lives.

And I want that.

I’m absolutely sure that whoever I am on the days I’m at my best or not at my best, I’m always in some way or another reaching out, flailing for, sometimes, God-willing, reflecting that God to whom I owe every ounce of goodness and growth in this life.

So thanks for reading about my shortcomings, for beholding them this weekend, and putting up with a little bit of a downer of a post.  I hope you’ll accept me and maybe even keep reading my blog.  More than anything, I hope you’ll continue to seek truth and goodness even when you’re not feeling up to it.  The world needs more of that kind of resolve, and thanks for being a companion on the journey.

Sincerely, Erin

P.s.  Here’s some inspiration that’s circling the web this week, a quote I’ve always loved from a wise, wise guy:

P.p.s.  Here are some other bloggers who’ve been inspiring me lately with their vulnerability, authenticity, and confessions: