Reflecting: August 2020

I switched host providers this past month, and in the transfer I lost all the blog posts I’d written in the past month. A few of the shorter ones I rewrote, back-dated, and republished, but it was not worth the energy to rewrite my July end-of-month reflection.

So, I’m going from a blank slate here, with faint memories of what I wrote last month. Read more

Outgoing Mail: August 2020

For years now, I usually take pictures of my outgoing mail so that I can look back and remember the love shared. Sometimes I’ll take pictures of the letters/postcards I write too, for the documentarian/memoirist in me.

This month, I thought it’d be fun to share the outsides of what I sent out. Perhaps it will inspire you to send a postcard or a letter to a friend!

Read more

[Book Notes] The Gift of Change

For over six months I slowly read and savored Marianne Williamson’s book “The Gift of Change.” I’d underline and star passages as I went along.

The other week I went back through the book and copied down such passages in my notebook. Here’s what I have now for personal reference:

the gift of change Read more

[The Encouraging Times] Like & Tell

The following is a submission for The Encouraging Times, a collection of encouraging happenings around us.

A friend of mine from college, Timothy Fehling, recently started a project called Like & Tell.

The premise is simple, powerful, and uplifting: He finds things that he likes on the internet, and then emails the creator to tell them what he likes about their creation.

On his site, Timothy shares both the artwork/creation he admires and the email that he sent. It makes my heart fuzzy to think about how that email probably made someone’s day, propelling them further, forever changing their path.

I especially appreciate that Timothy is taking the time to let humans know about their work’s impact in a space that so often lacks this aspect: online.

Thank you, Tim, for bringing this project to life and for sharing it with me!

I warmly invite you to share a story/moment/sighting from your life that made you feel encouraged/hopeful. I will share it here on the blog, such that its light can spread exponentially.

Behind the Scenes: Creating My 2019 Holiday Letter

I spent last Friday making my 2019 holiday letter with pen and paper, like in 2018. The idea had been swirling around in my mind for a few weeks—to send out an unexpected letter mid-year, since I hadn’t sent anything out last December.

Like most creations, it began as some scribbles on scrap paper. I like to collect scrap paper (ie grab from recycling bins) for this exact purpose. It feels more accessible and easier to jump in with crap when the paper itself has already lived its first life, so I use this technique and keep scrap paper handy. Read more

[The Encouraging Times] Free Conversations

The following is a submission for The Encouraging Times, handwritten and mailed to me from Eva in Spain.

It reads:


Movement born in Barcelona

I heard on the radio an interview with the activist from Barcelona Audà Ballester (@adriaballester). He has started the Free Conversations Movement: it consists in… talk. He just puts a chair on the street, another chair in front of him, a sign that says “Free Conversations” and… listens to the people.

I loved reading about this story, Eva, and being introduced to someone new-to-me. Whether we know about these people or not, they’re in the world every day, bringing new ideas to light and expressing kindness in their daily actions.

I warmly invite you to share a story/moment/sighting from your life that made you feel encouraged/hopeful. I will share it here on the blog, such that its light can spread exponentially.

Reflecting: Q2 of 2020

The start of July marked the halfway point of 2020, the end of quarter 2 and beginning of quarter 3. Like any human-made unit—week, month, quarter, etc.—this is an arbitrary unit, but I like to use the occasion as a chance to stop turning pages and instead plop in a bookmark. A pause. Some deep breaths. A look back.

After our 2-hr video call Q2 reflection with my retreat group last weekend, I used Nicole Antoinette’s mid-year reflection workbook “Now What?” this weekend to guide a deeper reflection sit-down. Read more

[The Encouraging Times] This Is What Progress Looks Like

The following post was written by my younger brother, Luke Thering, as a contribution to The Encouraging Times.

In the wake of recent global, national and local events, the world seems to be at a boiling point. Hopefully, though, it’s also a tipping point.

A pandemic has exposed our nation’s ill-equipped and upside-down healthcare system, and ‘leadership’ from the very top seems to be completely absent or worse, present, but fighting against basic human rights of life and liberty. Recent killings of Black men at the hands of the police are reminding us that we still have a long way to go in the fight for equality and peace.

It can all seem so hopeless, so bleak, so sad. And it is. But it’s not for nothing: What has given me hope–what has been encouraging, is seeing how the outrage, grief, and pain has been transformed into action, nationwide and indeed throughout the globe: Citizens banding together, organizing, marching in the streets, donating, spreading information, and having difficult discussions.

On a more personal level, I’ve some days been overwhelmed by it all. It’s so easy to see the stark magnitude of the world’s problems, and to feel the weight of it, and the weight keeps you paralyzed. Some days that weight has kept me from getting out of bed, or has stifled my voice, or has led me into a state of comfortable apathy. But other days, it’s different… Read more

[The Encouraging Times] Caffè Sospeso

The following is a submission for The Encouraging Times, handwritten and mailed to me from Eva in Spain.

The Encouraging Times - Caffe Sospeso

It reads:

“I remember that some years ago, in Naples (Italy), the idea of the “caffè sospeso” (pending coffee) resumed. It consists of a customer paying the price of two coffees, but receiving and consuming only one. Later, when a poor person asks whether there is any pending coffee, he or she is served one for free. The idea spread around the world. In some places, there is a board where they announce the number of pending coffees they have (maybe also to encourage more people to participate, both paying or asking).

I have a friend who does the same at the motorway tolls: he pays his fee and the fee of the car right behind. It is not a great amount of money… but it always put a smile in the face of that unknown person.”


Thank you so much for sharing this story, Eva — and for being the first participant of The Encouraging Times!

I warmly invite you to share a story/moment/sighting from your life that made you feel encouraged/hopeful. I will share it here on the blog, such that its light can spread exponentially.