Alison Faison

Don’t Wait! Pray the psalms. Do a yoga pose. Eat raspberries. 

Most grandparents want a grandchild to open their gift right away, so that they can see the child’s expression, reaction, and connection to the gift. Some of us, as adult children, have a parent’s or grandparent’s voice in our head that encourages restraint, “Don’t use it. Save it for a rainy day. Keep it nice and it will last longer.”  Our relationship with abundance and scarcity can pop up in the ways we approach daily practices, relationships, and objects. It shapes the way we engage with our children. We rightly withhold, sometimes consciously or unconsciously, in order to protect ourselves. Withholding can be a way to conserve energy and help us navigate our financial, emotional, or spiritual state. When we don’t have a clear picture of our wants and needs, our concept of abundance can be more like zoned out consuming. We’ve all been there.

Several writers and teachers have said, “Don’t wait to: pray the psalms, try a more challenging yoga pose, eat ripe raspberries, tell someone that you care about them etc.” Rev. J.W. Gregg Meister wrote The Psalms: The Prayer Book of Jesus and gave this take-away, “Don’t put off using this psalm [Psalm 23] until your funeral. You won’t be there anyway. Use it now. Live it now. Apply it now. Don’t leave home without it.” I remember having to memorize the 23rd Psalm and Psalm 100 in 2nd grade Sunday school. In high school I sang songs that contained the lyrics of Psalm 5 and 40. The psalmist’s words stuck with me, especially in moments where I had no bible and was far from home.

While going through B.K.S. Iyengar-method yoga trainings, my teachers would often say something like, “Go through the entire series on your own. Don’t wait until you are 90 years old to safely and intelligently do some of the more challenging poses. Look through the succession or families of poses and try to understand how they progress from simple to complex, from gross to subtle.” We could approach the psalms and lamentations in a similar way as they range in color from dancing joy to utter grief. Reading a lamentation or a bible passage featuring someone complaining to God can be similar to approaching a challenging yoga pose. It might be uncomfortable to approach it, but ultimately liberating in the truth it reveals.

For the Lenten season, A Sanctified Art has prepared liturgy and children’s curriculum under the title Full to the Brim and has included affirmations for each week. The Full to the Brim theme reminds us of the 23rd Psalm’s “cup runneth over” and the feeling we might have when our needs are met. If we internalized the popular affirmation, “I am worthy.” we might more easily take calculated risks and animate those positive practices and relationships that we deserve. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, talked about experiencing abundance by allowing oneself to eat raspberries, which tend to be more expensive or rare than other fruit choices. If accessing raspberries (fill in the blank with a simple pleasure) makes one’s life more wholesome and inspiring, why not?

During Lent, children will hear affirmations created by Rev. Anna Strickland’s Full to the Brim children’s curriculum. They are encouraging similar to the nine affirmations that Rev. Marci Glass talked about during the fall enneagram sessions. I invite you to engage with these affirmations throughout the Lenten season to see which ones resonate with you.

Full to the Brim affirmations are: I can make good choices. I am safe with God. I am worthy. God loves me no matter what. I share love and beauty. I speak up and tell the truth. I am hopeful. You are stronger than you ever imagined. I am enough. I am here for a reason. My smile makes a difference. I am appreciated. I am loved.

Marci will be offering the Introduction to the Enneagram Workshop again, if you are interested in learning more about the Enneagram or those affirmations, please check the event calendar.

More to Explore

Wear Orange: When Thoughts and Prayers Are Not Enough

Isaiah 2:4 says, “He will settle arguments between nations. They will pound their swords and their spears into rakes and shovels; they will never make war or attack one another.” I read Sandy Hook Promise posts on Instagram and cannot escape thinking of the horror a parent experiences after their child or teen is shot. This is not sensationalism or fake news. On August 27, 2019, I took my middle school daughter to Lincoln High School for a Town Hall on gun sense, directly relating to the shooting of 15-year-old Day’von Hann, a student who lived in the Mission District. Then Speaker Nanci Pelosi, Rep. Jackie Speier, Founder of Moms Demand Action Shannon Watts, CA Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, and 17-year-old Phillip and Sala Burton High School student and member of United Playaz, AJ Santiago led the meeting. After these change-maker women shared personal experiences, data, and gun sense bill proposals, I was sure we would have gun violence reform. I was wrong. The CDC says that firearms are the second-leading cause of death among American children and teens. One out of ten gun deaths involve age 19 or younger. Everytown Research relays that “there were more school shootings in 2022 (46 shootings) than in any other year since Columbine.” One would think that this statistic would be enough to take immediate action to make common gun sense bills into law and enforce them in court. Money talks, so much of the bills continue to be blocked by gun supporter groups. How do we empower our children and teens to use their collective bargaining power to urge legislative, judicial, and executive branches to make change now? I don’t need to explain how this is related to the non-violent civil disobedience of Jesus and many change-makers. Christians are obligated to love their neighbor and care for the vulnerable. If they do not want to prevent gun violence against innocent civilians, their beliefs are not based in Jesus' life-affirming truth.

Life After Foster Care

During a Faith in Action Bay Area meeting yesterday we were working on pin-pointing false narratives about unhoused people. Our goal was to find true stories that dispel those untrue statements. What are the false narratives about what happens after a youth becomes an adult and leaves the foster care system? In general, a youth has aged out of the system at 18 years old, but some states are extending it to 24 years in order to provide more support. People who do not want to pay for the foster care system might say, “The foster care/government system has supported children until they became adults. They should have the tools to become independent. They are on their own at 18.” Unfortunately, according to the group, A Sense of Home, we know that 50% of people experiencing homelessness are former foster youth. ( The foster care system does not have the capacity to fully serve resources to the average of 566 children who enter the foster care system every day in the U.S. According to the June 2022 AFCARS Report (, that's 1 youth every 2.5 minutes. There is a disproportionate amount of houseless teens who identify as LGBTQ2SIA+. True Colors United says that they are 120% more likely to experience homelessness and are at risk for gender dysphoria and suicide. ( The nation-wide worker shortage or rather workers’ unwillingness to work in unsupportive environments has also brought an uptick in workers striking in order to get their demands met. Working in the foster care system takes training, dedication to learning on-the-job, as well as compassion and problem-solving skills. If workers are not properly trained and supported, they get emotional burn-out. How can we be the hands and feet of Jesus to help change this system?

Feeding Our Grief

“Cynecism is ungrieved grief.” I thought about this quote a lot after reading Traci Smith’s free Treasure Box Tuesday email. She, a children’s minister and author, quotes pastor and author, Rob Bell, who probably officiated many memorials and heard countless stories of grief from congregation members. In the past two months, I have attended three memorials for parents of my peers. All of the services were culturally different, but the grief was the same. We got together to breathe in stillness, hear music, observe the grieving family, eat a meal together, and connect with our own mortality. Ashes to ashes. I experienced three Ash Wednesdays after Easter. Civilian and urban folks world-wide have endured multiple brutal and unplanned Ash Wednesdays since Easter. San Francisco, Texas, Ukraine, Sudan.