Mapping Joy: an online spring spiritual practice March 6 to April 21, 2019

mapping joy 2019

(c) Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, 2019

Join us online — Facebook page “In the Big Love” for this new way of practicing spiritual care together via social media. (see our Event: “Mapping Joy”)

We will tend our triggered and weary souls by intentionally opening ourselves to joy – yes, joy!

This practice is not meant to costume or avoid real hurts and challenges, rather both ancient wisdom and modern neurochemistry teach us that to stay in the good fight we have to first be nourished by the good. And so, we will intentionally map those places and moments when we encounter joy.

How to prepare for the practice? You may wish to designate a notebook (we like something unlined) for capturing thoughts and images as we move through these 46 days. You may wish to set up a quiet space at home for displaying items that help you in this practice. You might wish to set aside a regular time to check online or continue an earlier posting tip. This is a rules-free spiritual practice – a flowing of good intention and support. Make the practice work for you.

And, a bit of reality – while our intention is to offer a new post daily – that might not happen. We will daily hold in prayer all on this journey. And very frequently, possibly daily, we will post a practice, or an image, or a thought with your well-being in mind. We invite you to share your joyful findings, too.

While there is no fee for this practice, we hope you’ll do two things to support our work. a) If you enjoy our content, please share and invite others to join us, and b) if you would like to financially support our efforts, please email us at inthebiglove@gmail.

A Big Love Poem: “Love Everything”

2018 03 02 0925

photo and poem (c) Kathryn M Schreiber, 2018


Love Everything

Love the neighbor who always puts the trash bin in the wrong place;

Love the tree branch taping against the window when the breeze is strong;

Love the face that is aging with more character than grace;

Love the food that is in the refrigerator and on the shelf.


Love the hurt child that hides in your heart;

Love the frightened child that lives in detention;

Love the acorn whose side split open too soon;

Love the mother oak who prays for a few of her offspring to live.


Love the cold creak of the wooden front porch;

Love the surprisingly loud snoring of the cat;

Love the old scar on your hand from a forgotten danger;

Love the scent of hot coffee brewed in silence this morning.


Love the person you’ve been taught to fear;

Love the faith which most protects your vulnerable body;

Love the inner gift which releases your clutch on hatred;

Love the wonder which has called you to live at this critical time.


Love the buzz of workers making things you will never buy;

Love the tears of an old woman remembering someone dear;

Love the smell of a spent candle and its cooling wax;

Love the ride of being here – the highs and the lows.


Love everything.

Love everyone, even your own precious self.

There is no door so stuck

it cannot be opened with love.

But know this, dear ones, love takes time.

Be patient.

Love everything.

Holy Fools — a new series for Lent-Easter


(c) Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2019

Use anytime, especially Lent-Easter Year C

CONTENTS For details, please see “Living Liturgies: Lent-Easter” in the menu

Ash Wednesday “Holy Fools Return” Scripture: Joel 2:12-17 and 1 Corinthians 1:20-31. Fools: Joel & Paul and Us.

1st Sunday of Lent “Holy Fools Clarify” Scripture: Luke 4:1-13 and Psalm 91. Fools: Carpenter Jesus and Mother Jones.

2nd Sunday of Lent “Holy Fools Align” Scripture: Luke 13-31-35 and Psalm 27. Fools: Jesus Christ and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

3rd Sunday of Lent “Holy Fools Persevere” Scripture: Luke 13:1-9 and Psalm 68:1-8. Fools: The Fig Gardener and Shakuntala David.

4th Sunday of Lent “Holy Fools Recover” Scripture: Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 and Psalm 32. Fools: Prodigal Son & Family and People in Recovery.

5th Sunday of Lent “Holy Fools Pray” Scripture: John 12:1-8 and Psalm 126. Fools: Mary of Bethany and Indigenous Female Leaders.

6th Sunday of Lent (Passion Sunday) “Holy Fools Give” Scripture: Philippians 2:5-11 and Isaiah 50:4-9. Fools: Jesus Christ and Us.

Holy Week: “Holy Fools Surrender” Scripture: John 18:1-19:42 (edited and adapted) and 1 Corinthians 1:20-31. Fools: Jesus Christ and His Disciples.

Easter Sunday: “Holy Fools Rejoice” Scripture: Luke 24:1-12. Fools: Disciples & Angels at the Tomb and Us.

We also have two other Lent-Easter series as well as other goodies for this sacred time of the year. Please see “Living Liturgies: Lent-Easter” in the menu.

God Bless!


Artist’s Statement: “The Visitation”

The Visitiation 2018©Kathryn K. Schreiber, “The Visitation,” 2018, Colored Pencil, 8.5” x 11”

This modern interpretation of the beloved Christian icon “The Visitation” illustrates the biblical story of two significant women at a critical time in their lives. St Mary, pregnant with Jesus, and her aunt, St Elizabeth, pregnant with St John the Baptist, greet each other and affirm God’s outrageously good care for the vulnerable. (Gospel of St Luke, Chapter 1, Verses 39-56).

Stylistically, my drawings are influenced by sacred Hindu art, Persian miniatures, and fantasy artwork for children’s books, all of which blend bold colors and soft edges. Visually, such graphics inspire a feeling of enchantment and wild possibility – a quality I wish to bring to the rendering of classic Christian images.

This new artwork maintains much of the visual vocabulary of the classic icon — Mary is much younger and to the left of Elizabeth who is older. They are depicted talking or embracing in an outdoors landscape often with buildings behind them. Sometimes, there is a building on the right with a large open door where a person stands.

I have chosen to change some elements such as setting the scene at night (which I’ve never seen before.) I placed these hopeful, faithful women under a very starry sky to speak to us about hope in dark times. The building on the right is quite like older icons with a single person pulling back a drape.  I’m not sure of the traditional meaning, though it speaks to me of institutions which are dark on the inside possibly being exposed to light. In this image, the woman pulling back the curtain is “Sophia/Chokhmah” a personification of Holy Wisdom.

Mary’s dress is pink – a color chosen to align with contemporary, youthful Feminist movements. It is decorated with blooming trees inspired by the Hebrew prophet Isaiah: “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” (Isaiah 11:1 NRSV). Jesse is the father of King David, the great Jewish leader. The anticipated messiah was expected to come from his royal lineage. The child Mary is carrying is the new branch on the old family tree stock. I began drawing these trees on December 7th – the anniversary of the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. Thoughts of Japanese-Americans, for whom this day remains traumatic, came to mind. In their honor, I designed trees which are a hybrid of the beloved Sakura (cherry tree) and stone fruit trees (peach and almond) from California’s Central Valley where many Japanese settled to work on orchards, and still do.

Mary’s veil is blue and decorated with swirls of water symbolizing the Jordan River – the line of demarcation between The Wilderness and The Promised Land. This is where St John began a new spiritual movement baptizing people to prepare them for the Messiah. Mary’s veil is short, as the Christian movement is newer than its parent religion – Judaism.

Elizabeth’s dress is a darker plum-red color reflecting her maturity. It is decorated with blooming cacti, also inspired by the Hebrew prophet Isaiah: “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus.” (Isaiah 35:1 NRSV). Refugees traveling up from Guatemala and Honduras to the United States were in my heart as I drew this “blooming dessert.” It was completed the day the death of Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin, a seven-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in US Custody was announced, days after the Feast Day for La Virgin de Guadalupe, an indigenous manifestation of St Mary in the Mexico highlands.

Elizabeth’s veil is much longer and more elaborate, appropriate for the Jewish faith. Elizabeth is the descendant of the first religious leaders – Moses, Aaron, and Miriam — of the freed Hebrew slaves who left Egypt. These divine ancestors are honored by the three decorative bands on Elizabeth’s veil. The color of the veil is a nod to the ocean — not so much a specific body of water, but the ocean as the source of all life.

The images of Mary’s and Elizabeth’s foetus represent their sons as persons and their on-going ministries. John is represented by a blue, watery “comma” – the call to water baptism and spiritual cleansing. Jesus is rendered as a yellow-orange fiery “comma” – the work of the Holy Spirit manifesting in the created realm inspiring hope, compassion, justice, and mercy.

The persons of Mary and Elizabeth are meant to be Middle Eastern, a more realistic portrait of Jesus’ family, and a reminder that faith and race keep intersecting and impacting each other. As I drew these women I thought of amazing women of color that I know who are courageously breaking new ground with their compassionate leadership which addresses critical problems.

This specific icon “The Visitation” and its holy text origin have long inspired me. Recently I spoke about this sacred moment when these two women, pregnant with God’s Dream, celebrate God’s goodness and call us forward with hope. If you’d like to hear that message – visit:

We will be offering this image in card and poster form later in 2019. To be notified, please email:


Turning the Year Mindfully

an integrative care mini-retreat at Miura Integrative Health Clinic in Berkeley

Saturday, January 12, 2019 1:00-3:15pm. $75.00. Limited Enrollment.

Rev. Kathryn Schreiber will facilitate practices to gently release the old year and welcome the new year. Includes guided meditation, discernment tools, and reflection techniques with breakout options for wellness care such as acupuncture, mindful coloring, and journaling. Registration begins at 12:30pm. Additional breakout treatments available afterward.

 To hold your space: Please email Kathryn @


December Spiritual Care Events

enso the norm


Circle Time: Body/Mind-Fullness Practice

with Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, MDiv

Dec 6th, 13th, 20th noon to 12:30pm at Miura Integrative Health Clinic in Berkely, CA

Dec 7th no office session/online on FB “In the Big Love”  Free.

$15 per clinic session, 3 for $40


December Care Package

with Johnathan Pang, RN & NCTMB and Rev Kathryn Schreiber, MDiv

On Solstice Eve, Thursday, Dec 20th, we’re offing a special stress reduction acupuncture treatment and a 25-minute spiritual care session at Miura Integrative Health Clinic in Berkely, CA.

If you’re in need of a little extra care treat yourself to this wonderful package deal, or secure a session for someone you love. Openings are quite limited. Please call or email to schedule an appointment: 510-921-6905 or

#stressreduction #acupuncture #spiritualcare #soulfriend #holidaycare#inthebiglove

enso image: The Norm

Holiday Care: Add some “SALT”

IMG_2440by Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber, M. Div. * November 2018

If you’re experiencing holiday challenges or difficulties please consider one or more of these four mindfulness/spiritual practice techniques:

S – SHIFT:  Intentionally shift negative thoughts toward more positive ones. Beware of being stuck in thought loops which reinforce disappointment or hurt. Instead of repeating shaming or painful internal narratives, push yourself to tell a different, more uplifting story. Literally speak out loud an account of something good going on which gives you hope. Use your personal power to shift your attention onto what is truly positive and hopeful.

A – ACCEPT:  Change happens. Things don’t work out as we’d planned. Losses are real. During the holiday season we especially notice changes, both the joyful and sad ones. Carve out a little private time for yourself alone or with a favorite companion and list what is different this year. Light a candle, say a prayer, and honor your truth. Make space for others to do so, too; everybody is going through something. Be especially kind to yourself as you accept what is different this year

L – LET GO:  The holidays get especially tense when we clutch onto unrealistic expectations for ourselves and others. Listen to your body – where is your tension? Place a hand on that part of your body. Take a deep breath and listen. What pressure does it carry? What responsibility would it like to release? It may help to ask yourself very specific “yes” or “no” questions, such as: “Do I want to go to tonight’s event?” Discern what you can let go of and negotiate what you can’t. Peacefulness may come just by noticing what you really need.

T – TREASURE:  No matter what is or isn’t going on in our lives there are always a few precious blessings to receive. Make time to witness what your soul truly savors – it might be surprising. In the evening, lightly review the day for what was most pleasant, enjoyable. Where were you? What were you doing? Which senses were engaged? Replay that pleasant memory three times. We are designed for joy. Harvest your deepest sense of what is valuable to you for a much richer holiday season.

Most of us experience highs and lows during the holiday season. We find our way forward with help from others. Sometimes, our situation is such that we really need specialized care. If you are feeling especially low or hopeless, or know someone who is, please don’t hesitate to call the Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 or go immediately to a hospital ER room. Help is available.

Take care! In the Big Love,

Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, M.Div.

Solstice Soul Circle, Thursday, December 20th noon to 12:25pm.  On Solstice Eve we call forth sacred light preparing for the Longest Night (Dec 21). $15.00

Holiday Care Package, Thursday, December 20th afternoon. Acupuncture treatment from Jonathan Pang RN, NCTMB and a private 30-minute session with Rev Kathryn Schreiber. Call/email for details.

Private Appointments. Meet with Rev Kathryn in person or via Skype. $125-150/hr. Need-based sliding scale considered. 510-921-6905,