Just Life

Hope | February 2019.

What a difference a month makes … five of the flower stalks have bloomed! Sadly, I had to cut back three of those stalks on Monday morning; I walked into my study and their spent blooms were resting on the credenza. But two stalks are still going strong and the last one is about an inch high. I just might get three hope posts from these bulbs!

But in other ways, February has been a challenging month for hope. Like showing up for a graduate-level course without any of the pre-requisites. I found courage in scripture

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~Jeremiah 29:11

and a possible course of action in these words from Maria Popova (which I shared back in January)

Critical thinking without hope is cynicism, but hope without critical thinking is naïveté.

I’ve been working a lot on the critical thinking. Exposing myself to new – and often – uncomfortable ideas. about myself, and others. I read. I listened. I journaled. and I spent lot of time just sitting with this discomfort.


Of course just when I thought I was getting to that “relaxed” place, Trump declared his emergency and I spiraled right back to to the beginning.

I kept reading, listening and journaling. I kept working through the Me and White Supremacy workbook. I unfollowed folks on Instagram and found new ones to follow. I unsubscribed to mailing lists and changed my shopping habits. I started listening to podcasts about news and politics. I subscribed to the New York Times.

I’m getting a little more comfortable with discomfort.

Journaling one hopeful thing each day has been a huge help, too. There were a couple of days where I just wrote “Nope!”, but mostly, it was the kind of stuff I wrote about last month – daffodils, the Social Fabric project, making space, the women’s service, a day with Charlie, sunshine … little and big things, but always things that get me back to God’s plan. for hope.

Thank you Juliann for hosting this monthly meet-up. Your space is encouraging me to be accountable and I’m grateful!


  • Honore´

    I think you are creating a tremendous journey of hope; there should be many more of you! Know that you *are* learning, sharing and exuding Hope.


  • Bonny

    Learning to sit with discomfort is a big thing! I know that when I feel uncomfortable, my first reaction is to retreat to comfort somehow, even if it’s not an appropriate reaction to whatever caused the discomfort. This is something I need to take a good look at. That’s a big part of why I love reading these shared posts; I’m learning something from everyone!

  • Kat

    I am with Honore! You do exude hope! And, in the midst of “fake” emergencies – those words from Jeremiah overflow with hope! And, thank you for sharing that excellent instagram account!! I have added her to my list! XO

  • Sarah

    Ever since the start of the current administration, I find that I’m in a constant state of low-level anxiety. Finding reasons to be hopeful, however small, really help. Your blog is one!

  • Debbie

    You certainly inspire hope for many of us through your blog.
    Last evening I went to a talk by a young woman, just a few years out of college, about how she found her passion and vocation. Much of her talk focused on how she learned to sit with discomfort and darkness and how from that, she experienced growth and found herself open to new opportunities. Wishing you well on your journey!

  • karen

    what a great post on embracing hope. The less I watch the news the happier I am and yet I want to be informed – it’s a slippery slope.

  • Patty

    Wow, that Maria Popova quote just helped me understand completely why I have/had trouble with the word hope. I’ll send you an email over the weekend explaining why! Thank-you so much Mary…I’m fixed! 🙂