Gardening in Times of Trouble

A friend of mine went to the local big box home store

and was surprised to see a line out the door ..

Carts filled with plants and trowels,

The beginnings of victory gardens.

This gives me hope.

As do you.

Please join me in a chalice lighting,

May it sooth your soul,

And light your flame

Gardening in the Time of Trouble

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Tillers of the soil

They come

Dancing through the meadow

Covered with seeds of possibilities,

Spanish Needles, beggars ticks, Carolina Geraniums,

And all the splurges,

Purslane delicacies drape across silky fur,

Goose grass also called cleavers

And Chickweed

And then they dig

Deep into soft sandy loam

Leaving scatterings of weed pods

As they seek..


Frogs? Moles? The simple joy of the Earth?

We sow far more than we reap,

Let us be aware,

We are all tillers of the soil.

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rescued by friendship

Tomi Love studio 2


When Ami Tomodachi, the poodle, was 3-ish, we found each other.

in 200…9?

(I have never been good with dates…)

And he was named extravagantly in a ceremony on the St Mary’s River by a cadre of kids on a homeschool camping trip. His name meant “Friend Friend”… because in any language he was a friend to all.

Tomi was born in a puppy mill somewhere in the Midwest.  I have lost his original “papers” from the “Continental Kennel Club” …and

He lived in four homes before we found each other.

I only know the fourth one.

I would often get asked if he was a rescue dog,

He wasn’t.

He was the loved dog of a young family who had lost everything in the financial crisis –

Their jobs, home and medical insurance – the wife was 7 months pregnant…

Doing what was the only thing they could do when they could no longer afford to feed him – helping him get a responsible, committed home.

If I told you he was a rack of bones with mats, that before us, his dinners included coffee grounds and toothpaste, that he was locked in a bathroom because he had no manners and was a consummate thief – you would have a different story… and a much harsher judgement.

Don’t.  We are all doing the best we can with the skills and knowledge and love we have received.

IMG_0507 - with Lori

(Tomi with my mum, shortly after adoption 2009 – theirs was love at first sight)

We call them “rescue dogs” to make ourselves feel more like heroes… but it is almost always the dog who is doing the rescuing.

We have a problem with disposable and disconnected relationships in all areas of our lives.  We all need rescuing.

Tomi worked with kids in foster care, kids in dependency, and people of all ages in rehabilitation units and hospice.  He also worked with souls sitting on park benches and random sofas, providing listening ears and soft leans of love to the lost, questioning, and grieving.

He was the first sworn-in Canine Guardian ad Litem in the state of Florida. He was a Reading Education Assistance Dog (READ). He was my partner in Spiritual Direction and in Animal Assisted Chaplaincy. And he was a member of my family.

He knew, no matter where you start, or whatever trials you have and are going through, there is love, deep and abiding, available to all.  He taught that, he trusted it, he helped others feel it – not because he gave unconditional love, but because he trusted that you could find it like he had.


Ami Tomodachi

Spring 2006? – January 21, 2020

Be a hero – live heroically.






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Mothers of Compassion

This is the season of honoring birth and rebirth in the time of darkness, a time to welcome the coming light, to honor the renewal of life, even in moments when it seems all is lost.

In a time of year when holidays proclaim that hope is reborn,

I believe,

we must honor the mother in us all.

A sermon for Solstice, Christmas and the New Year

Rev Lizzie BBUUC 2019 pulpitI had the honor of delivering the Coming Light sermon at All Souls of Putnam County in Palatka and at Buchman Bridge Unitarian Universalist in Jacksonville and i wanted to share it with you…

There is a static picture with the video, only the audio – think of it as a pod cast –

but do listen….


Congregants have told me that this sermon has touched  them, each taking away something unique.

May it touch you in ways that are useful.   Please share it if it does, thank you.

May your holy days be bright, however you celebrate them.


Rev. Lizzie

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listening to the Ancestors

It is fall, Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere; a time of harvest and reconnection;

a time of glancing at mortality as the seasons change;

a time when the veil between the worlds grows thin…

Call it Samhain, Halloween or All Souls Day – the Thanksgiving season is about to begin in the US — it is a time that seems carved out for remembrance.

WE are told to Honor our Mother and our Father… but what does that look like?

Have you had your DNA tested?

What does it mean to honor those who went before? What does it mean to listen to lessons of fear and fearlessness without shame or pride?


I presented this at the lovely Unitarian Universalists of Putnam County in Palatka, Florida at Hammock Hall.

The Story for ALL AGES was  ‘Grow’  a seasonal story of growth and transformation I  wrote many years ago which has just been turned into a tiny book!


I told it again this past Sunday at Buckman Bridge Unitarian Universalist Church in Jacksonville… it was of course slightly different, and I will try to get an audio of that version for you pod peeps and post it here as well, but I wanted you to have this now, when the veil is thin as i walk unveiled in the world.

I love you, I’m sorry, please forgive me,

I love you.

Rev. Teal


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I haven’t posted in a while, and i am not always recorded, but this was sent to me last month, and we need it now. It is filled with mis-speaking, and opens with a technical glitch . but please join this conversation…


The phrase “thoughts and prayers” fills our social media as well as the mouths of politicians and journalists…emojis of praying hands fill out text messages, and activists carry signs like “no more thoughts, no more prayers, time for action”
but What really is prayer and what does it mean to really pray?

When I was a little girl, I was read a wonderful bedtime story by Margaret Wise Brown, no not Good Night Moon… but A Child’s Good Night Book, and it ended with a prayer…

Dear Father, hear and bless
Thy beasts and singing birds
And guard with tenderness
Small things that have no words…

we need this now, please listen

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Souls: Who Gets Them….

Because of my ministry with animals and my involvement in animal assisted interventions, very week someone asks me if i think that pets go to heaven… so rather than give glib answers, i decided to delve deeply into the question….

and what i found surprised me… and gives me reason for hope and sacred activism.

This sermon, with its companion story are the result…

please listen, please ponder, please help raise up our holy world.

The Real and True Story of Emerald the Frog

Souls: Who Gets Them,,,who doesn’t



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god is before me

god always has my back

Everywhere I look I see god 

even on a blank sheet of white paper.

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Rise Up!  A sermon for Spring, for Passover, for Easter and Hope

delivered at All Souls Unitarian Universalist of Putnam, in Palatka, Florida

April 21, 2019


The reading was Maya Angelous’s Rise Up

The Story for the Ages was  Ostara, Goddess of the Dawn and the Bird Who Could Not Fly

(i hope to have a video of it soon)

The Meditation was on “Seeds of Hope”, inspired by a UU Wonderbox story where we had many sunflowers of many kinds lining the front of the altar, and gave sunflower seeds in folded flower packets to everyone.

Often, we think of Spring as a time of new beginnings and new starts, a time of renewal and tender growth.  Every culture has them, but I believe what all these stories of Spring might have in common is Hope.

Have you ever hoped for something? … can you remember a time when something you hoped for happened?  That is the essence of Springtime Hope.

the hymn’s was: Blackbird by the Beatles and

the sung prayer was Spirit of Life by Carolyn McDade



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LOVE! a story about 2 mice

More and more i find myself in deep meditations and ponderings on Love, unconditional, conditional, how our love stories are shaped and how they shape us.

enjoy! share! thank you!

first a story of two mice:


next: a sermon about Love. stay tuned!

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