Welcome Back

Welcome Back!

“There is hope for a tree:

If it is cut down, it will sprout again,

and its new shoots will not fail.

Its roots may grow old in the ground

and its stump die in the soil,

yet at the scent of water it will bud

and put forth shoots like a plant.”

—Job 14: 7-9 (NIV)


Welcome back to Bread and Honey! Thank you for your patience. This has been an exciting and busy time as I am working on a new book (more to come!) and I am deep in the process of ordination. Fall has always been a welcome invitation to reset priorities and begin anew for me! Every September of my childhood, my mom would gather my five sisters and me into the Suburban for the much-anticipated back-to-school shopping run. We would head to Ford’s Drug’s on Main Street in Spartanburg, South Carolina to purchase new binders, notebooks, paper, pencils, and sharpeners. Either implied or stated, we all knew it meant we had a fresh start. God is always offering us chances to begin again in our spiritual lives. Father Thomas Keating said, “It is never too late to start the spiritual journey or start over, and it is worth starting over any number of times.”


There is a story about an abbot who loses his keys. His young monks find him on his hands and knees outside his house looking for the missing keys in every blade of grass. They join his search. The sun blazed and after a couple of hours with no luck a clever monk pipes up, “Master, have you any idea where you might have lost your keys?” He sits back in the dirt, rubs the dust off his shins, and smiles, “Of course,” he replies. “They have always been inside the house!” I think we make the spiritual life much harder than it needs to be. We easily fall prey to distraction, looking outward for the holy keys when our souls have known from the start what is rich, true and sacred. As declared in Ecclesiastes 3:11, “God has set eternity in our hearts.”


I know something of what it takes to live a soulful life—one experienced as deep, rich, and meaningful. The “keys” for me are regular, intimate, bear-my-soul conversations with God, daily quiet time in nature away from the hustle and bustle, church on Sunday to hear scripture, sing hymns and take communion in a thriving and faithful community, breaking bread with my family and friends around the table, sharing highs and lows, joys and concerns, reading the Bible and other books by spiritual thinkers, and actively extending love and care to my neighbors. Easily, I can lose myself to the busyness of my external life, so caught up in the going from here to there, that without even noticing, my spiritual life finds it is on the back burner, low on my priority list. This is a crazy busy season of hockey and flag football games, college applications and dance auditions, teaching my kindergartner how to read and tie his shoes, church work and creative writing. I welcome a metaphorical trip to Ford’s Drug’s for a reset, a fresh start, a remapping of perspectives from the material and earthbound to the sacred.


If you were to walk into my house, you would giggle and gasp at the jumbo-size calendar on the dining room table. It is almost as big as my six-year-old. The calendar tells the story of our lives (6 kids, 2 adults, even the dogs!). There isn’t a free square inch on the page till December 31st. It makes my heart clench just looking at it. Soccer practices, ballet classes, guitar lessons, hockey tournaments, pet appointments, football games, weekend college trips, book deadlines, and David’s work trips are graffitied in red, blue, green and black-ink. What you will not find on the calendar (sadly!) is scheduled time for spiritual activity. And that is probably why the calendar gives me heart palpitations instead of peace.


Even though I work in the church, I struggle with carving out time to nurture and grow my own spiritual life. The result is a more harried, less inspired, exponentially worried, hope diminished version of Farrell. I need daily “peace-giving” activities on my calendar. Annie Dillard in her book, The Writing Life, says, “How we spend our days is of course how we spend our life.” Let’s all amend our schedules.


This summer, I rediscovered the “There is hope for a tree” scripture from the Book of Job. My favorite line is, “at the mere scent of water (the tree) will bud and put forth shoots like a plant.” It’s true! The soul is nurtured by the smallest gestures. I am working really hard to carve out time every single day for my spirit. I’d like each day to have some kind of divine significance, especially as I can not know the status of my “hourglass.” A thirty-minute walk or jog at Radnor Lake to take my fill on quiet and beauty. Reading my new devotional before I go to bed. Talking to my mom and sisters on the phone. A meet-cute for tea, overnight oats, and prayers with my “God Squad” on Monday mornings. Reading Eugene Peterson’s translation of the Bible while waiting in the school pick-up line. Listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Indigo Girls, or Hillsong in the kitchen while I am fixing dinner. Praying with my kids. Taking a container of soup to a church member who just lost her spouse and chatting on her porch.


I am threading every single day with something sacred.


To experience our daily lives as holy requires incredible intentionality! A more sacred existence requires a slowing down and a softening of ourselves. We need quiet, because the soul is listening for a different wavelength, subtle and nourishing, that runs below the blaring noise of our material world. The soul relishes any opportunity to have a deeper experience with another human being, in the natural world, especially engaged in a heart-to-heart with God.


One activity for the soul a day is a worthy goal. Expect a more sacred existence.


As I begin my fifteenth year writing this blog, more than ever, I want to be aware of and respond to that soul-deep tug calling me to live a sacred existence, one soul-directed, and love-focused. Thank you for joining me once again on the journey!

Begin Again

Holy and Loving God,

It is time to begin again.

A fresh start.

Help me to soften my edges and widen my heart.

 I don’t want to miss You

or the miraculous.

My goal is to cross paths with You




Nothing compares to when my soul is peaceful

and smiling.

Give me a holy nudge when I fall off course.

Have I told You today, I love you?

Let me show you!


  • Corky Herbert

    October 10, 2022 at 5:46 am

    Oh, what a special “beginning again” you are offering. Several phrases have been written into my prayer journal so I will see them and hold them and share them. It is always worth taking time to read your thoughts and “gifts” from other writers too. Farrell. Thank you for continuing this writing.

  • Anne

    October 10, 2022 at 6:28 am

    What a beautiful surprise to find in my inbox. My soul needed some bread and honey.
    Nothing like our Ford’s Drugs days and my first charge account. I would stop by to charge a candy bar- and yes, the annual back to school supply shopping was a highlight. Didn’t hurt that Baskin Robbins was only a few stores down. Thank you for your poignant words. It’s just that now I’m craving a big scoop of cookies & cream- along with my bread and honey! ❤️

  • Dorothy Sifford

    October 10, 2022 at 7:12 am

    Just the exhale I needed this morning!

  • Cass Meeks

    October 10, 2022 at 9:24 am

    Just the perfect way to start this eventful day. School is here and I am ready to learn anew of God’s grace and mercy.

  • Diane Tucker

    October 10, 2022 at 12:06 pm

    Good to have you back sharing, uplifting all of us to start anew! God Bless You, friend!

  • Mary Virginia Frist

    October 10, 2022 at 1:11 pm

    Thank you for such encouragement and reminders.💖 You are a treasure!

  • Polly Keith

    October 10, 2022 at 4:58 pm

    Isn’t it a gift that as we journey through the years, God gives us nudges through people in our lives. You give us wonderful nudges so often Farrell. Never forget that as you are being a MOM, you are doing God’s work and sharing his love. We love you.

  • Patricia Savage

    October 10, 2022 at 7:56 pm

    Had a thought of you this morning, and there you were in my inbox💕
    Your words are always a reminder and an inspiration.
    Many thanks

  • Patricia Savage

    October 10, 2022 at 7:59 pm

    Had a thought of you this morning, and there you were in my inbox💕
    Your words are a gentle reminder and always an inspiration.
    Many thanks