what we remember



I don’t need a holiday or a feast to feel grateful for my children, the sun, the moon, the roof over my head, music, and laughter, but I like to take this time to take the path of thanks less traveled. – Paula Poundstone

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. – Helen Keller

To many people holidays are not voyages of discovery, but a ritual of reassurance. – Philip Andrew Adams

The winter solstice has always been special to me as a barren darkness that gives birth to a verdant future beyond imagination, a time of pain and withdrawal that produces something joyfully inconceivable, like a monarch butterfly masterfully extracting itself from the confines of its cocoon, bursting forth into unexpected glory. – Gary Zukav

Group this week was not easy. It is no secret that this time of year is difficult for many. Our theme this week was celebration and solstice and while it was appropriate, another implicit theme of the evening was remembrance and a somber honoring. Our writers miss their families and their children. Bringing up memories is complex. It is painful and joyful at once. It triggers both happiness to share these memories and a visible sadness.

Writing can hold that. By the end of our group, we concluded there. We worked through some of the most complex and challenging realities we experience throughout the year. We had it on paper and then held it in the open space of of the circle. We made room to witness each other and ourselves in the winter quiet.

Below, you will hear their stories. I hold them next to my story this season. I hope you do too.


Giving birth to a verdant future.
That’s my hope.
Time of pain, I did have a lot and it’s kept going.
I wish that it produces something, hopefully,
Fall yesterday, winter today, with the snowflakes
like a clean, white lace, so gorgeous.
That’s joyful, don’t you think?
Laces, snowflakes, I love the complexity of those. It attracts
me, my eye like the monarch butterfly.
I can’t stop looking at those silhouettes, one so white
and fragile, the other one so fragile and colorful,
both so “light” that they can stay in the
space for a period of time. Determination!
So special!

It’s bringing me happiness just to look at them.
Some in winter, some in summer,
spring, and fall. I’m going to continue to be
more hopeful for my future.


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space for mystery

People who’ve had any genuine spiritual experience always know that they don’t know. They are utterly humbled before mystery. They are in awe before the abyss of it all, in wonder at eternity and depth, and a Love, which is incomprehensible to the mind. ~ Richard Rohr



The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science… I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvellous structure of the existing world. ~ Albert Einstein

Third-eye seeing is the way the mystics see… I like to call it presence. It is experienced as a moment of deep inner connection, and it always pulls you, intensely satisfied, into the naked and undefended now, which can involve both profound joy and profound sadness. At that point, you either want to write poetry, pray, or be utterly silent. ~ Richard Rohr, The Naked Now

I realized it for the first time in my life: there is nothing but mystery in the world, how it hides behind the fabric of our poor, browbeat days, shining brightly, and we don’t even know it. ~ Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

As winter approaches, we experience long nights and long spaces of continuous dark. While this can be difficult, long nights are also times for long dreams, reflections on what is possible. These are the spaces we foster on the page and in our writing group each week. We interrupt the long and empty space of the page with our words, the long and uninterrupted space of silences between us with witness.

In the space below, you’ll find an account of how we interrupted the long night.


Meditation and prayer are structural as one.
All things can be brought together.
I am so many different people:
a daughter, a mother, a sister,
an aunt, a grandmother, a friend,
but I am just one.
Gaze at the night sky,
the stars, the moon, glimmers of light,
they become beauty, brought together as one.
If you burn two candles,
bring them together, they form one.
The greatest mystery of the universe,
the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit,
three people – but just one.


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the coming winter

Life is a constant Advent season: we are continually waiting to become, to discover, to complete, to fulfill. Hope, struggle, fear, expectation and fulfillment are all part of our Advent experience.

As the winter approaches, the writers in CRCF feel the changes they can’t see. Days get shorter and colder, we start to imagine a blanket of snow on the bare trees, and guess when the first flake will fall. Because we can all go outside and experience the change firsthand. Our guesses are based in a physical knowledge and what our senses ring when we step into a certain shade of gray, a certain temperature drop. We know by how the air smells that snow will come. 

Our writers are left to imagine this. They remember in this. And that is what we asked them to do last week in our writing group. We said, “What do you think of when you hear the word ‘winter’?” What followed was a flood of images and memories of everything they remember. Below, you’ll find a handful of these memories.


When I hear the word “Winter” the first thing that comes to my mind is snow. The white beautiful layer that covers not only our ground but up above as well, for our rooftops and tree branches also receive a beautiful layer of the shining white snow. I also think of the refreshing brisk air we get that opens our lungs every time we step outside our doors, the ways it whisks through our hair, hits our cheeks and generates in through our nose and mouth is literally breath-taking at times but also refreshing all the same. Which then leads to remind me of my love for winter even more, bringing me back through my childhood and to adulthood as well. I remember rushing my mom to help me get me ready to go outside so I could make my family of snowmen in our front lawn for everyone to see, along with my snow angels that were resting next to me. As I remember these days , it just goes to show that some traditions never change or go. For everyone winter that comes, I’m now the mom who’s rushing herself to get the kids ready to run out the door. One thing I do that I believe must always come next is just before the kids come back in, I have them some hot cocoa with fluff or marshmallows to add in. Winter to me is the joy that it brings which is often forgotten by those that decline to enjoy this time as it’s here for just a bit because once it’s gone that beauty goes away. Waiting to come back next winter day!


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