Birds, Their Song Stills My Heart by Deanne Quarrie


I see you perched on the tree
checking the perimeter for cats lurking.
The feeder below, inviting you down
but you, ever cautious,
make sure that none are about.

Suddenly the sparrows swarm in,
eagerly eating the seed offered.
They flit and flap, and fly about,
scattering seed as they cover the feeder.

Throwing caution to the wind,
down you fly,
eager for your share of the offerings.

You find treats on the ground,
seeds from the tallow above,
a seed so large,
from my window, I see it in your mouth.

I watch you prance, a friend joining you,
Your perky crest and colorful plumage,
your morning dance brings pleasure
as I ponder my coming day.
over my first cup of coffee.

Continue reading “Birds, Their Song Stills My Heart by Deanne Quarrie”

The Gift by Sara Wright

We drifted through

the green

hungrily absorbing

plant souls,

each twig, flower, and tree

has her own story to tell…


Such a joyful way

for me

to spend a

‘mother’s day.’

Being with him

when family

extends sharp claws

is an antidote to suffering.


“This is my church”

He said,

not for the first time.

I nodded.

He and I are almost

always in agreement

when it comes

to plants

and people.

Continue reading “The Gift by Sara Wright”

Gift-Economy in a Time of Lack by Elisabeth Schilling

Carol Christ wrote about gift economy on this blog in 2013, and I am taken by her story of the woman who brought raisins or cracked nuts to the group even though she had very little. In beginning to encounter the literature on gift economy myself, I am wondering how it all works, especially wondering, perhaps outside of such a conversation if it doesn’t relate or misses the point, what someone who feels they have nothing to give can give.

When Genevieve Vaughan wrote about gift economy in Ms. Magazine in 1991, she wrote, “where there is enough, we can abundantly nurture others. The problem is that scarcity is usually the case, artificially created in order to maintain control, so that other-orientation becomes difficult and self-depleting.”

I think we start to look for other ways of existing when we experience the brokenness of a current existence. The exchange economy under mindless capitalism does not honor equal, fair exchanges. If we could keep from manipulating and being deceptive about what a product is worth, if we could more generously assess the contribution of workers, then some of us might not be bothered. Of course, for that work which is never compensated by money, mostly women’s work, that is the other issue that might not be solved by more equal exchange, and probably more the point of Vaughn’s.

Continue reading “Gift-Economy in a Time of Lack by Elisabeth Schilling”

A Divine Gift by Elise M. Edwards

Elise Edwards

I recently graduated with a PhD, and I have been fortunate enough to have many occasions to celebrate this milestone within the past month.  At the beginning of this month, I visited my parents in my hometown, and they threw a graduation party for me.  In addition to a great number of family members and friends who came to the party, several members of the Baptist church I attended in my 20s and early 30s came to celebrate as well.  I received many wonderful graduation gifts.  Surprisingly, some of the gifts led me to reflect on my faith convictions, namely some of the tensions I wrestle with.

A woman whom I had served on many committees with and worked closely with on plays and other artistic activities gave me an especially thoughtful gift.  It is a beautiful wooden plaque with the word “STRENGTH” at the top in capital letters and my name at the bottom in capital letters.  In between the two are decorative flourishes and these words from the New King James Bible: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13) Continue reading “A Divine Gift by Elise M. Edwards”

No-Gift Birthday Parties by Grace Yia-Hei Kao

Continue reading “No-Gift Birthday Parties by Grace Yia-Hei Kao”

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