I love watching them poke their heads above the ground, changing their location every year, making their appearance in so many different varieties. Intriguing and delightful, they put a smile on my face.

What are they? Here’s a clue … it’s that time of year when dampness and earth combine and make …

… mushrooms!

Yes, I really do love watching the mushrooms poke their heads above the ground, changing their location every year in the back yard … intriguing and delightful. Each year, they put a smile on my face.

This year, two kinds of mushrooms have appeared so far: shaggy ink mushrooms and a variety of the boletus mushroom.

Author Munia Khan wrote that“if you feel all damp and lonely like a mushroom, find the thick, creamy soup of joyfulness and just dive into it in order to make life tastier.” 

What delicious words!

For those who are feeling ‘all damp and lonely like a mushroom’ from personal or political stresses, may you “find the thick, creamy soup of joyfulness” and then “just dive into it in order to make life tastier.”

© June Maffin



It’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada.  Last month, Thanksgiving (Chuseok Day) was celebrated in South Korea.   Next month, Thanksgiving will be a holiday in the United States, Liberia, Grenada as well as China, Norfolk Island, Japan and Vietnam.  In the midst of the Thanksgiving weekends marked by different countries at different times dates in the month of October, the “How do we give thanks” question arises.

But, how do we give thanks

… when there is unemployment or illness in our family?
… when there are senseless deaths caused by terrorists, drunk drivers, those wielding machine guns?
… when abusive substances continue to attract and ruin lives? 
… when we feel depressed, spiritually dry, lonely or are grieving?
… when hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, earthquakes, famine, mass shootings, violence, “isms” are prevalent?
… when abductions happen and people of all ages are forced to become sex slaves?
… when we don’t know if tomorrow will bring war?
… when we don’t know when/if the pandemic will sort itself out and we can return to life-without-masks and social-distancing.
… when we don’t know if there will even be a tomorrow?

History shows that there are always people who give thanks in good times and in bad times … like Henry.

Who is Henry?  Henry was a farmer from a very remote area where people could only gather for worship at great intervals.  On those occasions they would witness to the blessings in their lives since the community had last assembled.

At one such meeting, Henry stood and addressed the people in halting and simple speech:  “It’s been a powerful difficult year out there.  The fever took our eldest daughter.  Then my wife took ill and is still in bed.  The spring wheat crop was mostly ruined by floods.And, oh yes, praise God from whom all blessings flow.”

Then Henry sat down.   In the midst of personal disaster, Henry paused and gave thanks.  

Being thankful each day, takes discipline, especially when there are financial stresses, medical concerns, family problems, scary political tactics, environmental devastations, a pandemic and more.

How can we be thankful where there is too much that distracts us?   Maybe we’re looking for the “BIG” blessings when there are many “LITTLE” blessings?

Think of all the gifts that come absolutely free to most of us.
* If you had to pay for the oxygen you breathe at the rate oxygen cost in a hospital, how long could you continue breathing?
* If you had to pay for the sun’s heat at the rate of today’s heating bills, how long could you stay warm in winter in the western hemisphere?
* If you had to pay for each of your eyes, at the rate eye damages are awarded in court (about $50,000 for the loss of sight in one eye), how many eyes could you afford?

I believe that the Henry’s of this world live “Thankful Living” lives and I also believe that 
there are more Henry’s than we know!

At Graduation ceremonies several years ago, almost a hundred students filed into their High School auditorium.  Speeches were offered, but because of legal issues and court decisions at the time in their area, no prayers or blessings were allowed to be offered in the school.

When the last student came to the microphone, the students in the auditorium all suddenly sneezed! The student at the microphone looked at the students, smiled, and clearly, slowly and confidently said “GOD BLESS YOU!”   The audience exploded into applause.   The point had been made. 

A unique way to invoke Divine blessing on their future?  You bet!

May each of us “sneeze our way” through our Thanksgiving (whenever they happen), and realize, that in spite of the angst and fear and unknown (in the world and our own personal stuff), there is always something for which we can be thankful and experience at least one little blessing.

Aaaaaccchhhooo!   God bless you   🙂

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Happy, Bless-ed Thanks-giving!


© June Maffin
Photo: Timothy Eberly – Unsplash – used with permission

You are welcome to share this with others – and subscribe to the blog: www.soulistry.com/blog 




Somewhere this day/night,
there is a wee rabbit who utters a prayer
for the two-legged creatures she sees on her travels.

“O Creator Of Us All,
I pray for the two-legged creatures
who foolishly ignore the signs that are all around.
Signs which, if they aren’t acted upon,
will result in even more damage to the environment.

Dear One Who Is The Truth,
I pray for those two-legged creatures
who hear truth about the coronavirus and climate change
and yet choose to ignore it.

O Holy One Who Celebrates Life,
I pray for wisdom and compassion for all in the two-legged world
so the spread of the pandemic will be stopped
and the devastation of this planet we share with them
will not come to an end.

Thee Who Loves All Creatures,
I pray for unconditional love
to move in the hearts of those two-legged creatures
whose hearts are cold
and whose minds are focused on selfish ways.

May this prayer be heard
and may the two-legged-ones
exercise wisdom, compassion and kindness to us
and to one another.

This day, this night,
… Holy One
… Hearer of Whispered Concerns
… Listener of Unspoken Fears
… Gentle Bearer of Grief
remind the two-legged creatures that
this earth is sacred
the waters are sacred
the sky is sacred
the animal, plant, fish, mammal, insect kingdoms are sacred

and they are sacred.

This day, this night, Sacred Friend Who Loves Unconditionally,
remind the two-legged creatures
of your call to them to be good stewards of the lands, the skies,

the waters, each other, and themselves.
And remind them
that if they don’t change their ways
will not survive


© June Maffin
Photo: © Stefan Fluck, Unsplash.  Used with permission



It’s the beginning of a new month.

Mmmmmm, what new challenges will be placed before me?
What new friends will I encounter?
Where will this month lead my creative soul?
How will I respond to the “still, small Voice within”?
What learning will there be if I
… respond
… face the challenges
… listen to that Voice within
… consider possibilities

What learning will there be if I
… don’t respond
… don’t face the challenges
… don’t listen to that Voice
… don’t consider possibilities
and see only problems?

There will always be problems
of some sort or another.

May possibilities surface!

Welcome new month!

© June Maffin

Photo taken on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada




As I looked through the patio door, I saw her.
Ms. Squirrel.


She was eating the seed I’d put out for the birds.
I grabbed my purse and muttered
“I see you!  Those seeds are *not* yours! They’re for the birds.  Your food is over there.”

Did she listen to me?
Of course not.
She was on a mission.
She needed to find food to store for the winter.

So Ms. Squirrel stuffed seeds into her cheek pouches
and stuffed some more and more and more quickly.
Very quickly.

As I quietly inched my way closer to the patio door to take her photo
she stopped
looked up
I stopped moving.

Not sensing danger,
Ms. Squirrel began to stuff her pouches
with more and more and more and more quickly.
Very quickly.

I inched forward a bit more, camera poised.
Ms Squirrel stopped, looked up.  Waited.
I stopped moving.

We danced this dance for a minute or two
and before she darted away
I took her photo.

Today, Ms. Squirrel came for a visit.
She stuffed her cheek pouches
and brought a huge smile to my face.


She also brought a reminder
‘winter is coming’ and

many will be hungry.


Not just squirrels or birds.
Our local Food Banks will need us.

Thank you for your visit, today, Ms. Squirrel
and your gentle reminder.






photos and text © June Maffin



Fall has arrived!  Autumn is here!
It’s a beautiful time of the year.

After taking this photo, I couldn’t help myself.
I ran down the path
playing with the fallen leaves
if only for a few moments,
returning to life-as-a-child
when life was uncomplicated, simple, safe, and secure.

May we all take a break.
Take a gentle deep breath from our belly.
Let our mind drift far, far away
from the political yuck, pandemic, global issues,
from the nasty social media, personal stresses and crises,
from the anger and fear and bewilderment
and for a few moments,
let our imagination take us to a place
where we scamper down a lane covered with leaves,
joyfully toss the leaves up in the air,
inhale the smells of this now-upon-us Season,
listen to the sounds under our feet and over our head
as we play
as birds fly south
as we laugh and breathe and take a break.

Signs abound in Nature and within us
as we move into and through the Autumn Season of our Lives.

There are times when we feel alive and vibrant
in body, mind and spirit.
There are times when we realize that the withering of skin,
the creaking of bones, the aching of muscles,
the forgetfulness that can come with the aging process are simply part of the Autumn Season of life.

Is it wisdom to ignore these signs?
Is it wisdom to focus solely on these signs?
How to maintain balance and acknowledge the the cycle of life?  Perhaps trees and leaves can be our teacher.

When leaves change colour … the tree is still there.
When our face, legs, arms, neck, hands begin to wither
… we are still there.
When leaves fall
… not all fall at the same time.
When we rise from a chair or sofa
… stiffness doesn’t always remain with us.

Fall/Autumn is here.
Winter is coming.
In the meantime, if leaves and trees could talk,
perhaps they would remind us
to spread our branches
to acknowledge our natural beauty in each season
and to welcome life.

L’chaim!  To life!!!
Welcome Fall!  Welcome Autumn!


© June Maffin

Photos taken in Shawnigan Lake, B.C., Canada



On this 20th anniversary of 9-11, the world remembers
… the First Responders who died
… those who struggle since being near Ground Zero
… those killed that day in the twin towers & planes

On 9-11, 2001 – twenty years ago, Canadians were close neighbours, allies, and friends.
On 9-11, 2021 – twenty years later, Canadians are still your close neighbours, allies, and friends.

We mourned the loss of your nation’s innocence
– then.
We mourn the increasing loss of your nation’s democracy
– now.

You remember 9-11.
– we remember 9-11.
May none of us ever forget.

© June Maffin

“Rosh Hashanah TZADDIK”

“Rosh Hashanah TZADDIK”

In Jewish tradition, a Tzaddik is someone who dies on Rosh Hashanah and is “a person of great righteousness” (the quality of being morally right or justifiable).

At the beginning of the Jewish celebration known as Rosh Hashanah, shofars are blown outdoors in many communities, signalling the start of the Jewish celebration. And that night in 2020, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, of the Supreme Court of the United States, faithful adherent of Judaism, died.

Tzaddick. I think this fits RBG well. How she is missed – particularly recently with the way the Supreme Court dealt (or did not deal with) the issue of abortion in the state of Texas.

Rosh Hashanah begins this year, today. May those who are marking Rosh Hashanah at this time, discover a new sense of ‘possibility’, a new belief in ‘hope’ that RBG’s legacy will not end, and a renewed ‘commitment’ to their beliefs and dreams. And may she, of blessed memory, be lovingly remembered and respected by people of all nationalities, religions, political beliefs – including the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States as they consider the issue of abortion that has raised its head in Texas and is beginning to raise its head elsewhere.

May this be a blessed Rosh Hashanah for all those who mark this Jewish festival.



The wind blows.  Floods and rising waters continue their devastating invasion.  Smoke from nearby fires is frighteningly strong.  Lungs ache.  Eyes burn.  Breathing is compromised.  Evacuations continue.  Families fear losing their homes, livestock, pets, livelihoods, lives.  Those who survived the fires now face homelessness, poverty, an uncertain future.
Painful tears.

The wind howls.  People frantically trying to get into an airport and on a plane to safety.  People huddle together, stranded on the tarmac in the hopes that they will be able to get on a plane that will rescue them from death, rape, torture.
Painful tears.

The wind resurfaces. New strains of the pandemic virus erupt, overloading hospitals, exhausting front line workers, terrifying parents of children under the age of twelve unable to be vaccinated, causing polarization in families where some decide to be vaccinated and others decide the pandemic is a hoax.
Painful tears.

The wind changes direction.  Young men and women brought to their new country as babies or children face deportation.  Infants, toddlers, children, youth, separated from their parents continue to be incarcerated, uncared for, unprotected, terrified.
Painful tears.

The wind that has blown for decades continues to blow in new ways as unmarked graves of children in residential schools are found – as memories of childhood experiences of abuse in residential schools bubble to the surface with the discovery of the graves – as the reality of murdered and missing indigenous women continues to sink in.
Painful tears.

The wind still blows.  People are standing up, speaking out, making their opposition known, not only in peaceful ways, but in not-so-peaceful ways. Nuclear threats beg the ‘is war on the horizon?’ question. Ordinary citizens ask why the law seems to serve and protect the most powerful, but not the vulnerable, not the land, not the environment.
Painful tears.

The wind of ill-health continues to disrupt lives.  Addiction, chronic illness, mental illness, overdoses, accidents, loneliness, aging, grief, and increase rents that are impossible to meet forcing businesses to close, people out of their homes and on to the streets.  Lives, finances, health and relationships are compromised.
Painful tears.

Painful tears continue to fall from eyes, covering faces and continue to fall from hearts, covering souls as the sacrifice of those who died, so there might be life and freedom to vote and express opinions, often seems lost in rhetoric and anger.
Painful tears.

Tears. Far too many painful tears at this time of fires and floods, rape and torture, hurricanes and starvation, earthquakes and tornadoes, political lies and abuse of power.

May painful tears be diminished by naming the fears (not letting them fester, or stifle conversation) about global warming/climate change, the pandemic, bullying, abuse, political decisions … and by taking action.

Let painful tears flow
and motivate
to let in




Photo & Text © June Maffin





Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote
“Earth’s crammed with heaven
each common bush aflame with God
Yet only he (sic) who sees, take off his (sic) shoes.”

If Divine Presence is everywhere
(“every common bush”)
can it be surmised that
there is *nowhere*
that Divine Presence, God, the Creator isn’t?

I love reading the letters
“n o w h e r e

They can say “no where”
AKA “it cannot be found.”
They can say “now here.”
AKA “it is evident.”

Many want to believe in miracles
yet few believe they exist.
To them, miracles are
“no where.”

Maybe they are looking for the magnificent,
the stupendous, the WOW.

And in doing so,
miss the miracle-in-the-ordinary
the “now here.”

When we take our ‘shoes off’
and become like a child about to wade into a cool brook,
we see the minnows in the water
the eagle flying overhead
the smile on the faces of those around us

We hear the laughter of others
and breathe fresh air into our lungs

We experience
the Divine-in-the-ordinary,
in the commonplace,
in the mundane,
in “every common bush.”

I want a miracle for my friends, diagnosed with final stages of cancer.
I want a miracle for my neighbouring country in the death-throes of political upheaval.
I want a miracle for the world in the midst of a pandemic.
I want a miracle for the people of Afghanistan and Haiti.
I want more than glimmers of hope.
I want miracles.
I want to experience “each common bush aflame with God.”

I guess it’s up to me
and each of us
to find the glimmers of hope
in ‘possibility’
and not inevitability.

I guess it’s up to each of us
to decide whether it’s
“shoes on – or shoes off.”

© June Maffin