To New Worlds


Sunrise, Claude Monet, 1872

Expecting everything or nothing, I wait for life—
the pinch of not quite fitting into the space I’ve
been allotted. I welcome it, this wakening to new
sensations, to borders where just yesterday my
view approached the infinite. Shadows fall more
suddenly, light erupts ferociously, colors deepen,
fading sooner, brightening unannounced. I can
but observe, cannot control or shape or sculpt my
path, which from this aspect seems to narrow till
it vanishes—but no, it widens yet again and I am
given one more mile and more besides, perhaps.
It doesn’t matter. I don’t pray for amplitude but
contrast now.

Surprise me! Let dawn be as I have never seen it,
sunlight storming over the horizon, armies of
radiance bearing clarity and compassion. Give me
eyes to see the unaccustomed. May I scent the
cataracts that fall like needles from tall, stony,
terraced ledges. Turn my longings not toward the
beloved and familiar but to the astounding and
impossible. I would have both play and
contemplation, friendship and solitude, music and
cacophony. Numbness I abjure, preferring pain to
cold indifference, for in the wake of fear and
sadness follow joy and sweet salvation, streaming
on wings of angels, never ceasing in their dance.


Where Shall We Fly?


Doug McPherson,

Sh-h-h. The grass is growing; Sunna with her sister
Sinthgunt mounts the hilltop to begin their healing.
I am that sun, Sunna, and my work to breathe pure
light upon the valley, send the shadows to Valhalla,
bring brown timid rabbits out of hiding, and
assemble redbirds for their morning anthem.
“Ah! Where shall we fly, what shall we bless today?”


Breathing Dawn

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A Morning Meditation


Brothers, sisters, sons and daughters,
come with me to sacred waters.
Bring your troubles and your sorrows
at the cusp of dawn tomorrow.

Watch with me and greet the sun,
envoy of the Holy One.
Breathe with me the healing rays,
harbinger of blissful days,


conquerer of death and dread
with its lance of fiery red;
comforter of the oppressed.
Wait with me; be healed, and rest.

Feel the gentle pink caress
comfort you at God’s behest.
Listen to the songbirds’ chorus:
”Hallelujah! God before us.”


God above and God within us —
love and light are reigning in us;
these our strength, we are serene,
ever breathing dawn’s first beam.

Enter now the crystal waters,
brothers, sisters, sons and daughters.
Let the river wash you clean;
see your sorrows swept downstream.


Now rejoice in God, our savior,
praise the Lord, the one creator.
Open wide your arms; believe
in the blessings you receive.



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Morning Ritual

Getting Ready from the Inside Out

exhausted_mom_istockQ. Dear Sister Alma Rose — I am a faithful reader of Sister Alma Rose Has the Last Word, and you have convinced me of the importance of frequent prayer and meditation; but I am having trouble finding the time! It is always rush-rush-rush in the morning and rush-rush-rush in the evening, and, by the time the children are asleep, I’m wiped out. Can you give me some advice? — Signed, Pooped in Ponca City

A. Dear Pooped — Even if you have time during your work day to meditate, which Sister Alma Rose is intuiting you haven’t got on account of it looks like your modus operandi is rush-rush-rush (but in any event, see Sister Alma Rose’s Lunchtime Meditation and Sister Alma Rose’s Walking Meditation featuring Fats Domino), it is always a good idea to start the day with prayer and meditation. Maybe, if y’all did that, y’all would be calm and focused enough to ambulate purposefully instead of rush-rush-rushing, which, Sister Alma Rose supposes, involves hurried and inadequate nourishment and the inability to find your keys or a pair of clean undies, and so forth.

teenage_girl_bruthsing_teethSister Alma Rose also supposes that you find time to brush your teeth before you leave the house, and you probably scrub too hard and when you get a little older the dentist will say that you have damaged your gums and tooth enamel what with all that scrubbing. In any event, Sister Alma Rose is certain that you would be more READY to start your day after prayer and meditation than after hasty and perhaps harmful tooth-brushing.

Morning ritual

Sister Alma Rose is a great believer in ritual. A ritual is one step up from a routine. A ritual is a routine infused with sacred purpose. Sister Alma Rose’s ritual infuses her entire day with sacred purpose — not, perhaps, so anyone could see it from the outside. Y’all wouldn’t look at Sister Alma Rose bustling about at 2 in the afternoon and be saying to yourself, “Goodness, how I admire the way Sister Alma Rose infuses her day with sacred purpose.” Nevertheless, Sister Alma Rose is always (usually) conscious of the presence of the Almighty in each action and in every encounter. At least that is her intention.

Sister Alma Rose calls her morning ritual “getting ready from the inside out.” She begins by (1) feeding and tending to her spirit, through prayer and meditation. Then she (2) feeds and tends to her body — by performing her morning ablutions, eating a healthful breakfast, and going for a walk. Then she (3) feeds and tends to any who are in her care and (4) tends to her environment, doing whatever tidying up and washing up and pulling of noxious weeds, and so forth, are necessary.

Sister Alma Rose’s Morning Prayer and Meditation

One of the fine advantages of a routine or a ritual is that it’s somewhat automatic. You don’t have to waste time and tempt Satan’s spawn whose name is Procrastination by deciding what needs to be done and in what order. Imagine if, every time y’all got in the car to go somewhere, you had to figure out how to drive all over again. Fortunately for most of us, driving is routine.


Routines and rituals need to be reexamined now and again to make sure they’re still serving their purpose. For prayer, Sister Alma Rose makes use of (and has for a good length of time made use of) a Prayer Pattern. At the same location as the prayer pattern are (1) music that Sister Alma Rose likes to pray to and (2) the names of the folks she’s praying for.

Sister Alma Rose prays for a great number of people. Sometimes she does an imaging sort of prayer wherein she feels divine love and healing entering through a white light as she inhales, and when she exhales she expresses her prayer for each person by a warm light that reaches from her heart to the other person’s heart. Sometimes she pictures those she prays for standing in the Valley of the Sunrise as the first morning rays cleanse and sanctify each of them. Sometimes she just mentally says their names and hopes God will understand.

Sister Alma Rose does not intend for y’all to put “prayer and meditation” on a checklist and then DO prayer and meditation and then cross it off your list and forget about it. There is great need and there are many opportunities to refresh your spirit during the day, even if it’s when you are waiting in line or stuck in traffic. It takes less time and energy, and it is more productive of peace and harmony, to pray serenely when you are stopped at a red light and the driver in front of you — who presumably was able to procure a driver’s license for her broom only by casting a powerful spell upon the DMV personnel — is looking into the rear-view mirror and applying lipstick when the light changes, and is no more cognizant that the light has changed than she is that the earth is revolving around the sun at a speed of 18.5 miles per second — than it is to honk the horn and flip her off. Sister Alma Rose knows this to be true. She has tried it both ways. To this day, she occasionally croaks “ribbit” for no apparent reason, always at inappropriate times, as if there were an appropriate time to croak “ribbit” when one is a respectable lady in the prime of one’s life.


This Day Got Beautiful In It

Sister Alma Rose Sings Praise with the Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird

Well, it’s seven-oh-four in the mornin’,
And the sun is just dim in my window.
It will soon climb its way up to glory.
So will I.
So will I.

Oh, I ain’t gonna die any minute—
Or any day soon, I don’t fear it.
No, this day, it’s got beautiful in it.
So do I.
So do I.

And I ain’t gonna hush my spirit;
And I ain’t gonna fuss or fret.
There’s a song in my heart, I can hear it,
And it ain’t singin’ fear or regret.

There’s a mockingbird out in her Eden
Singin’ praise, singin’ low, singin’ high;
And if she can be glad just for livin’,
So can I.
So can I.

Oh, I can’t help but think that Creation
Is a personal gift made for me,
And each day is a great celebration!
Let it be.
Let it be.

Don’t you feel it, down deep in your spirit—
Pure life, every life, everywhere?
There’s a song in your heart. Can you hear it?
Just listen. Just listen. It’s there.
And this day, it’s got beautiful in it,

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The Ancients’ Sunne Meditation

Sister Alma Rose begins each day praising God and watching the sun rise, unless it is raining. Sister Alma Rose did not just fall off the turnip truck. 

Sunne, sign of Holy God, symbol of hope; proof of renewal,
you hover beneath the horizon, invisible but for the glory of
lavender radiance bleaching the shadow away. This is the
loveliest time-this sweet waiting, this breathless ephemeral
moment, as ray upon ray paints the sky. Soon comes the day.

In the predawn have a score of antiphonal songbirds begun
their effusions, for you they anticipate, faithful and sure
of their wings. “Welcome,” they sing, and the music rings
joyously, stirring the cool air still heavy with night mist.
Already delight wakes the spirits who listen and know
the serene expectation of grace.

Praise to the God who created you, Sunne; who gave you
to Earth; who made you to call forth the green shoot of
corn from the sod. When to our senses you offer the
shimmer of silver on cottonwood limbs and the fresh
lilac fragrance in May-we will remember to praise Heaven then.

Would we complain of you, distant and dim in the
wintertime, blistering delicate foliage in summer? When rose
petals wither, we say we are sick of the sight of you. We wish
for rain then. The clouds break apart, loosing superabundance,
and once again we complain, crying out, loud and strident,
“O, Sunne! Bright yellow circle of fire, sustainer of all living
things, giver of light, vanished beacon-return to us now.
Banish the rain!” But in truth you were never away.

But for you all the water would stay in the sea. But for
you there would be no refreshing and cleansing, and
all would be desert and dust and decay.

Now here at the cusp of the day, this most blessèd of interludes, we
wait to welcome you. We stand this hour with our faces turned
eastward, not taking for granted the planting, the harvest, the feast,
or the flower, the forest, the lush prairie grass.

And at last, in a fearsome display of such power and
beauty we must look away after merely a glance at the
slender curve breaching the edge of the world… at last
you emerge, and the land is awash in magnificence. Great
God, forgive us a minute’s regret for the awesome
fulfillment of promise; it’s only for loss of the willing,
sweet, soft contemplation we turn from. But with us and
in us we carry the light we inhaled in your great and triumphal

Gracious God, may that first beam’s bold brightness illuminate,
guide, and inspire us today. May we glow with your glory
and go forth with vigor and purpose, our hearts singing echoes
of songbirds in chorus and shining with love as the wheel of
the Sunne on its journey gleams warmly, benignly above.


Read about Sister Alma Rose and the Ancients in The Ancients, Part 1: Daddy Pete.
Find more prayers and meditations in Unfamiliar Territory, Vol. 1.
Find meditation music and guided meditations at


Sister Alma Rose’s Morning Prayer: Carry Me to This Enchanted Shore

Nebraska Sunrise (Deb Kirwan)


Now before the morning light appears;

now in calm anticipation;

now this sacred, still, unmeasured

interval I dedicate to thee.


Wherever are revived the dying,

comforted the grieving, given

hope the flagging spirits, raised

the fallen, fed the hungry souls;


Wherever life begins again,

where nothing is impossible,

and where the very sun is robed

and vested; where the angels from

their rest arise;


Where all are baptized in the freshet, pure emerging,

venom banished in ignominy and washed away;

Where common things become a garden,

radiant with color, light, and form;


Where light is born;


Where all the universe declares benevolent intent;

Where music out of silence grows,

where all from nothing comes and

all that ends begins:


Carry me, O Father-Mother God,

to this enchanted shore, that I as well may be

reborn and dwell in innocence again.


Thine angels send among

the suffering. Where they are fragile,

make them strong; where broken,

make them sound; their pain assuage,

evaporate, distill. Thine all-annealing love

bestow, and where it finds a cold, unyielding

heart, thy shining grace impart, to melt

the very stones that guard the hermit’s

door, that light may enter and embrace.


God, where glory lives, accept

our weary selves, complete us. Open

our insensate eyes, that we might recognize

the riches we possess, and the provision

we require – before us now, already ours;

all beauty at our feet, all sound by heaven’s

choir made crystalline; all that is lovely, seen,

recalled; and all abundance – everything

we need and more, beyond the sum

of ancient dreams and unfulfilled desires.


—from Unfamiliar Territory, by Mary Campbell,