Kavanna House


sky talk


The sky is especially beautiful this summer. It has captivated me with glorious declarations of its enormous beauty. It rearranges itself to delight me, I think, and to remind me that I think too small.  Its wideness coaxes me to look up and let beauty flood my parched soul. It cajoles me to embrace possibilities, even in my smallness.


I may be driving, keeping my eyes on the road in front of me with narrow undistracted focus and, cresting a hill, have the extravagance of a blue summer sky adorned with lazy white clouds explode in my view, flooding my eyes with its color and vastness.


I think about how easy it is for me to go through my day focused on where I am going, untangling a problem, or completing a task, forgetting to look up and around me for the beauty and creative possibilities that exist for my discovery. The skies suggest another way of approaching an issue at hand. They invite me to rest in the moment and breathe, to look beyond what is in front of me and be refreshed. The pause produces gratitude and a clearer perspective.


The sky at night sings a song of serenity and hiddenness. The moonlight illuminates the great oak outside my bedroom window and bathes my pillow in its soft light.  I feel its caress on my face as tender as if God reached out to sooth me. I try to keep my eyes open and soak in the beauty of the middle of the night sky but sleep calls me and I succumb, trying to hold the image in my heart till morning.


As I have wrestled with change and transition this year, sometimes with tears and anxiety, the sky seems to say:


Look up! Drink in my steadfast expanse of light and darkness.  Remember the abundance in your life and rest in your present moment. Know that the Creator who drapes the day sky with curtains of clouds and light and adorns the night with moon and stars, also holds the expanse of your life with much attentiveness and great love. Breathe in the vastness of the sky and rest in your smallness.


Smallness, not insignificance.


I remember God is faithful to all his promises and loving towards all he has made. 


I rest in my smallness. I still my doing and open my being to the One who knows the stars in the sky by name and I rest. Holding the questions I am trying to understand, I look up, up to the skies that are declaring the glory of God.



Photo Credit: Deb Turnow


Melanie Horning is a brand-new Grammy looking at life with fresh lenses through a baby’s eyes. She enjoys books, a good laugh, running with her husband and soft-serve ice cream. God is redeeming her perfectionism and control issues. She counts it a privilege to be a companion to people through spiritual direction and friendship.


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letting go


For years my life revolved around my family, friends, church and job. In fact, much of the first half of my life involved growing things; growing our family and our church, my competency as a community nurse, and my relationships with extended family and friends. I also grew in my knowledge and affection for God, demonstrating my love for God by doing service for God. Serving the vision of the church. Serving people.  It was a fruitful season filled with joy and satisfaction. Mostly.


Every now and then I would experience dissatisfaction, a longing for something I couldn’t identify. I would dream of being more.  More what?  I couldn’t answer that. It was easier to identify what I didn’t want than put my finger on the itchy dissatisfaction bumping along below the surface of my consciousness.


I observed people shucking their normal lives and taking the plunge into following their dreams.  I looked in with amazement at their courage and wondered how they managed to get from the dreams in their hearts to living it out.  It looked easy, if a little risky, but the life in their eyes spoke to the adventure they were enjoying. I wondered if I would ever find the courage to step out of my comfort zone and follow my dream.


Six years ago I responded to a nudge from God and left my nursing job, trading it for increased time reading, praying and investing in relationships. I started writing.  About the same time, my husband, the Preacher, started taking his wooden bowls and vases to art shows.  I began a training program and became a certified spiritual director and the Preacher’s daughter-in-love opened an Etsy shop for the wood creations. In all this slow journey of creating art with our lives, hands and words, the Preacher and I began to dream of a larger space to grow our art. We found some land and are wading more deeply into realizing our longings.


Following a heart longing involves lots of invitations to let go.  It means hanging onto the desire and letting the tears of impatience and fear flow. To create what is in my heart to do and let the results up to God; to let go of my timing and trust God’s time; to do it for an audience of a few and let go of my desire for esteem. To leave the security of what was my normal life for an adventure with unknown ending. 


We are far enough along in this adventure so that turning back isn’t an option. I have occasional meltdowns in my prayers when the doubts flood my soul. Even if I could get back to what was normal I realize I would be trading the sleepless nights of “What in the world are we doing?” for “”When will I have the courage to embrace the invitation stirring in my soul?” Both questions are disquieting.


Letting go of what is sure and safe is not easy. When I quiet myself and breathe, I connect with the spark of our dreams and experience Trinity’s assurance that all will be well. I sense a whisper to trust the Hand that is holding us and keep walking, keep dreaming, keep creating. 



Photo Credit: Deb Turnow

Melanie Horning is a brand-new Grammy looking at life with fresh lenses through a baby’s eyes. She enjoys books, a good laugh, running with her husband and soft-serve ice cream. God is redeeming her perfectionism and control issues. She counts it a privilege to be a companion to people through spiritual direction and friendship.


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letter to god



forgive me

for too often

speaking harshly

to the parts of me

that are 


     sad — stop that right now! sad is dangerous …


     playful — get back to work! gotta stay valuable …


     afraid — buck up! must. be. strong …


     creative — don’t be frivolous! there are hurting people to care for …


     beauty-loving — you really want a nicer rug when people don’t even have food?!


for banishing them to the basement of my soul,

refusing them light, compassion, voice, healing,

a place to belong in the family of parts that is me.

forgive me

my attempts to manipulate others

into providing the love

my shamed, shunned parts crave,

for burdening others

with the wrongly assigned task

of saving my exiles.


and when my exiles hurt so bad that

they holler loud enough to be heard

from the basement,



forgive me

for yelling back at them to

‘shut up and get with the program,’

or lashing out at the person

who triggered their pain, or

simply distracting or numbing myself

instead of running to You.



You love all of me,

invite the exiles

that I push away

to climb into Your lap to be blessed,

right along with the parts of me

that I like and accept.



let’s go unlock the basement door,

You and me,

release my exiles

and welcome them

into the love that will

heal them and

help them to trust our care –

Yours and mine.



You be their primary caregiver;

true-me-in-You will love them, too.

and others …

others can care for them

as they will,

or won’t.



let me live

fully loved and

fully loving,

spilling over with affection

for all the parts

of all the people I encounter,

because I have plenty to spare,

overflowing from my

God-embraced inner family.



thank You, thank You

for pursuing all of me.



With love from the basement door,


Nita Joy




This letter to God grew out of my attempt to personally integrate Richard Schwarz’ fascinating picture of a person as a family of parts (subpersonalities), some of which one might exile to the basement, while simultaneously refusing his idea that the rescue of my exiles is all up to me. If you feel drawn to Schwarz’ insights, you can explore them further in his book You Are the One You’ve Been Waiting For.



Have you exiled any parts of yourself? What treasures might your exiles bring into your life when you join God in welcoming and loving them?






Photo Credit:Deb Turnow




Nita Landis loves morning birdsong, people hugging at the airport, and scooping garlic hummus with sugar snap peas. She finds joy in offering spiritual direction, healing care, and words that shed light and give life.


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