I’ve been mentally blocked for weeks.

The air stagnant above the oven

as I wait for everything

bagels to prove a second time,

keeping hands busy keeps panic busy

creating scenarios of what I will do

when the writing returns.

Maybe I’ll eat with ink-dyed hands

instead of blank pages.

Maybe, by some miracle,

I won’t have any time

to bake at all.

Expand full comment

not that there is anything wrong with freshly baked bagels...

write on.

Expand full comment

This one is BRILLIANT. May this miracle and more come swiftly to you <3 Thank you so much, it was a treat to read.

Expand full comment

Who Gets the Miracle?

It’s a miracle they say.

The treatment healed the scans revealed

All traces of cancer are gone.

It’s a miracle they say.

Despite the wreckage they walked away

From the accident without harm.

But what of those I say

Whose disease consumes their bodies

That fade before their loved ones eyes?

What of those I say

Who don’t survive the accident

And leave this world without goodbyes?

Were they unworthy, did they not pray?

Was God fresh out of miracles that day?

If I were in charge of miracles,

I’d hand them out more freely.

So that everyone got their miracle

Of love or life or healing.

Karri Temple Brackett

May 22, 2023

Expand full comment


My rescue? A miracle.

Your loss? Tough break. God was... what? Busy? Tired? Out off earshot?

This is a big question. Thanks for saying it out loud.

Expand full comment

"Was god out of miracles that day"

I have asked that.

Expand full comment

So beautiful, Karri. This touches me deeply <3 The love you give us here is profound and inspiring. Thank you.

Expand full comment
May 22, 2023·edited May 22, 2023


as I await a miracle

equal to the

burning bush .

not consumed

by the fire

a voice calling out

from within it

I await this same voice

guiding me to

what is next

but still nothing

what can I do?

my choice

to pray

to study

to grow

it is in that growing

I am gaining sight

at not only

the suffering within me

from too much trauma

but more importantly

the suffering around me

seeing the trauma

and pain

the things that cause us

to look away

I now see

I can truly be

a theologian and scholar

a pastor and priest

a poet and prophet

which are meaningless

unless I am also

the miracle

that sees

those unseen by society

that gives voice

to the voiceless

that empowers

the powerless

that gives dignity

to the outcast

that loves

the "unlovable"

I am to be the miracle

in small ways

every chance I get.

Expand full comment

Lots of Jesus in here today.

Expand full comment

Haha! Definitely. Where it shines, he follows.

Expand full comment

There was so much I wanted to say today that couldn't fit in one poem. I feel like you touched on a lot of the things that were floating around my brain that I didn't fit into mine. Thank you for sharing!

Expand full comment

Oh god, yes! This! Haha.

Expand full comment

Steven, your perspective on religion and theological contemplation is always so refreshing, sophisticated, and eye opening. There was a lot of religion in my childhood, and I've since moved firmly away from particularly defined notions of spirituality, but I'm so glad to see your voice each day offering new threads to those of us who spend less time in it :)

Your mission of empowerment is loud and clear! <3 Thank you!

Expand full comment

I understand your move away from the defined notions. In the Exodus story, when Moses asks who he should say sent him, the reply was, "I AM who I AM". It can also be defined as "I WILL BE who I WILL BE". That is a more open response, and though many people of faith would be uncomfortable with this understanding, has been more accurate in my experience.

I have a long spiritual journey that I continue to be on. I get to make choices whether to grow or stagnate, most days I choose growth. Everyone gets tired now and then.

Expand full comment

Thanks so much for this thoughtful response <3 I'm saving it for myself, and there are a few folks I'd also like to show this to :)

That's absolutely resonant, and absolutely right. I love that: "I will be who I will be."

As I've said earlier these days, I'd be so glad to stay connected and have some conversations with you on these subjects. Ideas for more writing (perhaps even co-written if you wish) are already coming to me as well haha. I consider these topics important for more people to hear, and as pieces for continuing to reconfigure a more luminous world. So thanks for that.

"I get to make choices whether to grow or stagnate" <3

Expand full comment

I subscribed to your substack. Unfortunately, it is the free version for now. Hopefully, soon , I can upgrade

Expand full comment

Thank you so much, Steven! I'm really grateful you've done so, free or paid. When it feels right and is right to upgrade, I will receive you wholeheartedly <3 Thanks for your support!

Hope, as well, to see you publish some of your own work in a newsletter ;)

Expand full comment

How many people stand by

waiting for miracles

instead of being

the miracle?


I have heard

that Jesus

built from scratch

healed the sick

fed the hungry

restored life

changed the world -



the hands and feet of Jesus

were never idle

or complacent

or complicit


our very existence

our every moment

is a miracle

and we already

have the power

to build

to heal

to feed

to restore

to create change.


I'm not sure I believe in God

but I believe in us.

Expand full comment

I think that this month has showed us that there are more of us in solidarity than we realize

Expand full comment

100% true! And it's no surprise to me, therefore, that we've all congregated during this time in this place :)

Expand full comment

This is SUCH an important aspect of miracles. Communing with miracles is a relationship, which absolutely requires attentive and active engagement on our parts.

"The hands and feet of Jesus were never idle" - YES! I love the way you give him place here :) Thank you so much.

Expand full comment

Thank you for an exceptional poem! Your take on Jesus is illuminating and so resonates with me. Blessings to you.

Expand full comment

Thank you! Almost every day of this experience, I've felt like I was just waiting for these words to help process things that I had already been thinking a lot about or working through internally and illuminating ideas I hadn't been able to solidify before. I had the same experience last year, and I desperately hope to continue to experience this each May for the rest of my life.

Expand full comment

If you dream it, you will do it, you as the miracle you have so wisely articulated each of us to be :)

I have a feeling you have so much more moving inside you than you may even believe will come in the near future - miracle ;) Many blessings to you <3

Expand full comment

I pray you will, for you and for each of us who shine more brightly in the glow of your poems.

Expand full comment
May 22, 2023·edited May 22, 2023

A staff meeting eavesdrop:


Matt? John? Tom? Judas?

That's the hook I need?"

"Yeah, boss,

Water to wine,

Heal some sick, raise some dead folks.

Cast some demons into pigs.

That'll pack 'em in.

Then you teach.

It'll be great."

"OK. let's roll with that.

Good meeting, guys"

Expand full comment

OH, this works so SO well. Absolutely pure gold and I'm cracking up for the ride. You've knocked this one out of the park :)

Expand full comment


The beauty of living

is that there are miracles everywhere


In the birdsong I hear

every morning

Bees getting drunk on

various sweet nectars

Bursting deep purples

from the irises in the garden

Trees swaying along with the breeze

inviting me to dance along

Miracles also come in unexpected


In the resilience

I learn with every challenge

The growing capacity to

feel all my feelings without judgment

The willingness to be vulnerable

when I am trying something new

To not hide away under the bedsheets

when I am called to simply love

Then, when I can’t do any of the above

to know that with every tumble there is a rise

Life, creativity, love, breathing…

You and me, this planet…

Numinous miraculous expressions

Expand full comment

Your use of the word "birdsong" carries a very specific melody in your presence, such that simply coming across it was attention grabbing :) It framed the rest of the poem magically.

This whole piece was gorgeous and sweet :) Thank you for sharing!

Expand full comment

Hafiz saved my life

with a poem

no word of a lie it was

miraculous intervention

from 600 years past in a

language beyond comprehension

translated with a

nudge and a wink

waiting in a book on

a coffee table in

my sister's house


picking up "The Gift"

and opening to a

random page 'God's Bucket'

poured out and

doused this utterly

bereft grieving father with

graced hope beyond measure

I caught a glimpse of a

different story than I was

trapped in a world of possibility

when all I saw before me

was impending and expedient



I am here to tell

you this because Hafiz

wrote a poem and

poems create worlds

and I needed a new place

to call home

Expand full comment

Thank you for sharing

Expand full comment

Bob, your phrasing and formatting alone are impeccable. The way you write every day, I feel poetry is in your blood through lifetimes. It's really a privilege and honor to read your words, and learn from your wisdom :) This poem moves me so incredibly much; I feel it in my core. THANK YOU for sharing this truth.

Expand full comment

Hafiz is a gift and a mystical, lyrical poet for the ages.

Expand full comment

Miracles! So many other poems came to me today, but this one kept coming back as we walked along the James River while we visit friends in Richmond, Virginia. Watching my mom watch Oral Roberts on tiny black and white TV in the early sixties, waiting for her miracle but always knowing it would not come through this brand of self-serving spiritual delusion. This is for you, Mom, Mary Carol Fitzsimmons Wood, (1921-1994).


We live in age of miracles,

I have heard it said.

Perhaps it is time to redefine what a miracle is and means.

My mother in the sixties watching smooth tongued slick eyed charlatan preacher,

touch someone on the forehead and have them jump out of their wheel chair,

throw down their crutches, dance a jig for Jesus.

Send money and you too can have this miracle.

I watched my mother look on and wonder “what about me?”

body beaten and battered and crippled by car accident at 16,

pain every day inside and out, waiting for a miracle.

That miracle never arrived, just like God turning away

from the prosperity prophets and artificial healers,

caught in a selfish cycle of me and me,

only able to see the world with “I” at the center.

Our miracles came in waves and wisdom,

The song of the bluebird after my brother died,

A flower blooming in toxic, poisoning soil,

Adversaries laying down weapons saying, “no more.”

I’ve stopped looking for miracles,

and they seem easier to find.

These words on fire lighting up the page,

new friends sharing the center of their hearts,

wisdom poets creating lines of love in every stroke.

What a miracle.

Expand full comment

Wow, Larry, this is incredibly powerful. I see you truly serve a clear energy that is flowing through you today. You are SO in your element here. I love this one so SO much. Your words are indeed on fire!

"Prosperity prophets" - nice!

"I've stopped looking for miracles, and they seem easier to find" - YES. We don't need to look, they're just ready to run towards us :)

"I've heard it said" - immediately started hearing "For Good" from Wicked playing, show tune crazy that I am :)

Expand full comment

Thank you Jillian! I love the Wicked connection! Perfect!

Expand full comment

(Sometimes i aim too high & miss the low hanging miracles),

Cheers to mom.

(ps i'm an hour from richmond)

Expand full comment

I am in Hampton, VA

Expand full comment


Mathews county.

(Still fiddling with subs at Newport News Shipbuilding)

Expand full comment

I work at the V.A..in Hampton

Expand full comment

Chuck and Steven, I am a Virginia native, raised in Virginia Beach and went to college in Harrisonburg and spent the first 6-7 years of my career in SW Virginia. It is nice to be home for awhile.

Expand full comment

Welcome back

Expand full comment


Expand full comment

Wow, love all these Virginia boys! Knew I had a good feeling :)

I, too, am a VA native (and currently actually in a suburb of Lynchburg at the moment), but have been living abroad in Israel and, soon, Berlin for the last 7 years. Here spending time with family and regrouping :)

Expand full comment

I served a 3 church charge (a Methodist thing) in Lynchburg, Rustburg, and Concord for a few years.

Expand full comment

Wow, nice! Then our world's just got even smaller. It makes me feel confident I know folks around here who knew you.

I wonder just how small the Methodist world is. My grandfather (William (Bill) Combs) was a pretty charismatic Methodist minister all his life, in NC and VA. My maternal uncle, Steven Combs, still runs his community in Salisbury, NC. And even just a few weeks ago, my mother delivered the sermon as a guest at her little mountain church on exactly the subject of the Methodist charge, so I feel well-equipped for what you're talking about :)

Expand full comment

Wow. The Methodist world is small. The name does ring a bell.

Expand full comment

Haha, apparently very! Especially in the Mid-Atlantic. I had a feeling. His name carried weight, also with me until this day <3

Missing him very much today.

Expand full comment

Jillian, Virginia is a good place to come home to. My parents lived in Roanoke for 30 years, and I lived and worked in Fincastle, Blacksburg and Saltville, Virginia after graduating college from JMU in Harrisonbrug. These mountains always feel like home.

Expand full comment

Oh yes, indeed. It’s a miracle to be back on the family land, all still and quiet and green around me. I don’t like a lot of aspects of culture here, but there’s a lot I do! And how could we ever get over those mountains?? :)

I’ve more or less stuck to Lynchburg until I went to school in Fairfax at GMU, other than spending time in Roanoke, where my maternal grandparents lived.

It’s really the smallest world.

Expand full comment

I know GMU and have many friends there and in Northern Virgnia. I hear you about not liking or loving all the aspects of culture here--amen. It is taking a lifetime to wrestle with the heritage of being a southerner, old enough to remember deep segregation, seperate schools, distorted history, and the pain of enduring isms that cling hard to life. I am grateful for the miracle of moving forward, building bridges, the spontaneous combusiton of Love, and finding common and sacred ground amidst the chaos and pain.

Expand full comment

Beautifully said <3

Expand full comment

Thank you for sharing.

Expand full comment


Our neighbors, the weeds

keep me company as I walk

round and round

the field below our house.

The weeds teach me so much.

Despite attempts at

eradication and


their resilience keeps

them standing.

These wild things

will be walked on,



and ignored;



and even bulldozed over,

but they will come back

when it’s time.

These determined beauties

push their way up

even through cracked walks

and paved paths

and rugged rocks

and hardened soil

and still are able to

hold their heads up high

as if to say,

“We’ll go

and we’ll grow

even where it seems


They’ll turn their faces

to the sun

and do their thing

according to the season.

And whether anyone

truly values what

they have to give,

they’ll keep on giving anyway.

I think the weeds

are the true miracles.

Expand full comment

Spectacular. I appreciate your appreciation :) This is an amazing perspective.

"determined beauties" - always!

"And whether anyone truly values what they have to give, they'll keep on giving anyway" YES YES YES!

Thank you, this is stunning :) This is a true liberation

Expand full comment

What a beauitful poem. The weeds are the miracles--That is brilliant!

Expand full comment

I could say I have never seen a real miracle -

Water into wine

Calming the storm

Raising from the dead

But I have lost count of the

myriad of minor miracles

of moments of joy

of surprising solutions

of answers to desperate prayers

which for me are the very fabric

of the miracle of life itself

Expand full comment

That's exactly right! Miracles are miracles in every way they come :) And miracles, however "big" or "small," are always the building blocks of more miracles :)

Expand full comment



It’s not miracle,

But miracles

The fact that we can expect them

That we can expect them often

The fact that it’s more than just a phenomenon


But a way of living

The fact that miracles live among us

Doting, waiting, anticipating

The fact that if they come again and again,

They must be alive

Roaming the world far and wide

With minds and ideas of their own

The fact that their abundance makes them a population -

There are dogs, cats, fish, and sheep

And miracles

And maybe,

If they’re alive,

If they have minds of their own

If they are a distinct species,

We can befriend them,

Seriously, attentively, wholeheartedly.

If we can know not to hold anything back,

Maybe they would call us

Miracle whisperers.

It’s not just miracle,

But miracles,

Because you believe,

Because you see the morning dew on little flowers,

Because you see soft noses twitch in slumber,

Because you see round pegs fit into square holes and build castles,

Because you taste fruit so sweet it makes you cry

And you hear music so soulful your own heart bursts to join it.

Because you see how much we love each other.

Because we found each other in the first place.

Because you can be still

And listen.


Even now, perhaps you can hear

The subtle winging of our miracles

As they fly gaily through the air.

Expand full comment

Again, I've elaborated my commentary on this poem here, if anyone is interested: https://jillianjoy.substack.com/p/day-22-miracles

Another big subject I'm very passionate about :)

Expand full comment

This is deeply moving, Jillkan. The notion of friending miracles--wow! the emphasis on plural not singular; the integration of miracles as the rhythm of life every day. The wonderful discovery that miracles are not simply "out there" but in here, coming as much from within as from some external force or being. Thank you for another remarkable gift!

Expand full comment

Thank you so much, Larry. So so glad you get it, again! The way these reflections move through you truly makes you shine as a wise and illuminated being. That alone is powerful, not to mention the gifts of your words to me each time <3

Yeah, I'm a bit shocked myself how compelling the distinction between the plural and singular was for me, and how much I ran with it. But miracles don't wait for the expected ;)

Expand full comment

Thank you for your everlasting and always gracious comments, notes and care. Many blessings to you.

Expand full comment

Amazing. So much to love about this poem. Of course the way your phrases hit home. Way too many to list as favorites.

Thank you

Expand full comment

Thank you so much, Steven! I can assure you, the energy of this prompt was moving me today as much as you've described it moved you. Grateful to be seen in and share this space with you <3

Expand full comment

My cat peed inside the litterbox,

My niece rode her bike 3 miles.

I sat in the recliner with a cat,,

And allowed myself a Sabbath rest.

All are miracles.

Expand full comment

Oh yes! All are miracles! Love this!!! (Especially the cat - big win, haha!)

Expand full comment

I was thinking of this word when reflecting on the word yesterday, Magic, and when I awoke this morning. I like your raising of the everyday miracles that are often sustaning for my total being.

Expand full comment

You're very in tune with the flow of this journey, Larry ;)

Expand full comment

It is nice flowing with you all, Jillian, down this Miracle River.

Expand full comment

“The growing capacity to feel all my feelings without judgment “ This is the one . Thank you for adding the “growing capacity “ part.

Expand full comment

Miracles free us

beyond comprehension to

expand in mystery

Expand full comment

Oh Kaitlin, this poem is also incredibly stunning. No words, just thank you, so much <3

Expand full comment