Willow Wonderings

Birthday Miracles


Shooting stars, worship, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, rock climbing, cliff jumping, canyon climbing, dance partying, singing, writing, and so, so much love.

Today has been one of the most memorable days of my life – and I am so grateful to turn twenty with the love of family and friends.

This short time at Ghost Ranch has given me some of the closest friendships I could imagine to form in just a week; I have shared sacred moments with new friends in the amazing mystery of the desert. I am excited to get to know all twenty five college staffers as we live into our intentional community – through long, enriching days with youth and adventurous gatherings. Today, I realized just how special our community was when we all shared an object that represents our presence this summer – and each person’s voice inspired me to give of my truest self while I am here. Friends also stood and cheered for a solid minute when I entered the back porch for dinner this evening, and then presented me with a button that reads, “Tree Hugging Dirt Worshipper.” I think they may know me better than I know myself at this point. 🙂

Today represented the epitome of life at Ghost Ranch – centered in the Spirit, adventures with friends, real conversations, and presence with one another in the heated desert. I cherished our morning worship service where I sang two of my favorite songs with our College Staff band, “How He Loves” and “We Are Called.” Each segment of the service reminded me that at this time in my journey, I am called to open to the Light of God’s Love with patience and trust. From embodied prayer to the mountains to a sermon on service, our service helped me to trust that this is the place I am meant to grow spiritually.

In conversation with the land of New Mexico, I have learned that all of nature teaches patience and surrender. The flowers that our community gave me this morning – along with a gift of seeds from my sister, and a letter about flowers from my friend Becca – remind me that we are all planted with the purpose to blossom. With time and nourishment, every soul is called to open. I feel that the Light has led me to sing with new fervor, practice yoga with more presence, write with more honesty, and hug with more compassion. Ghost Ranch invites all of us to open to our truest selves – to explore the depths and the heights of the soul, while anchored in a loving community. 

Today, I stood on a canyon ridge, miles above a reservoir. In contrast to the dry desert sand, I could see the lush and vibrant trees that grew along the water’s banks. A few hours later, I jumped from twenty foot high cliffs into that very reservoir. I feel reborn. I feel cleansed by a Spirit greater and more powerfully  present than any I could put into words. In my body and soul, I know the cleansing feeling of diving into deep waters – the shock to the skin and taste buds – swimming in the Love we are all made of.

I am so grateful for each and every one of my friends and family members, new and old, who have nurtured me to turn twenty years old today. This summer, I have chosen the name Willow and each day, I feel that I am growing into the healing wisdom of the Willow tree thanks to the light, water, and nourishment of all around me. I am most grateful to our gracious Creator and I pray to continue listening, trusting, and surrendering to the process of unfolding.

I wish you all a blessed beginning to your month, and pray that the Living Waters will cleanse you from the inside out.




3 thoughts on “Birthday Miracles

  1. Happy belated birthday, Elizabeth! Your time at Ghost Ranch sounds amazing and I will be praying for you! Peace!

  2. AH! This is beautiful. Happy Birthday, love; New Mexico looks good on you!

  3. Willow – hope you continue to enjoy and grow during your sojourn at Ghost Ranch; I didn’t know it was your birthday so recently when we met – happy birthday! And given your choice of leafy symbol, the words of Hildegard of Bingen come back to mind: Opus Verdi viriditas – the work of the Word is the greening. – Rob Pierson

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