Some of you may remember reading some of my blog pieces about the Alpha program I’ve helped run at my church. Alpha is a program designed to give people a place to explore the big questions of life- meaning, purpose, God, religion, relationships, etc.- without judgment or pressure.  The program originated in the Anglican Church and is now used by churches of all Christian denominations all over the world. I mention that to demonstrate that Alpha is not “way out there” or cultish in any way. 

This 12-week program offers weekly sessions consisting of friendship, a video about some basic principle of Christianity, and a small group discussion to unpack the content of the video and to wrestle with any questions that our Alpha guests have.  The conversation is relaxed, candid, open, and uncharged with expectations.  One attendee, an atheist, specifically mentioned how it was clearly a “non-coercive, relaxed environment filled with caring people.”

Alpha is for everybody.  Some Alpha guests are unchurched. Some would not even identify themselves as Christian. Some have been sturdy lifelong believers.  Many are somewhere in between.  The intended audience is anyone who is questioning their spiritual journey in life or who is not as close to God as they wish they were. 

I always think of Alpha as a “search party.”  It is a “party” because one of its main foundations is friendship- having fun and good conversation together.  It is a “search” because we are all searching for something. 

In the past, running an Alpha program meant, among other things, providing dinner for our guests every week.  The principle was that the catalyst for the evening is relational.  The basis of the program is the sincere, genuine friendships that develop. It is frequently those relationships that spark the power of God into each evening’s proceedings.  Sharing a meal together is one of the best ways to foster those relationships.  If anyone questions whether the Holy Spirit actually works through the Alpha program, all they need do is consider that I pulled off multiple dinners for 50 without poisoning anyone. To put that factoid in perspective, you have to know that my first Alpha evening was the first time in my life I had ever hosted a party.  I don’t even really cook.  I eat a lot of peanut butter and pre-made food at home.  I still look at pictures of the foil pans of food I prepared for Alpha dinners in absolute amazement.  I’m sorry, but I have to take those pans of food as evidence that there is indeed a God.

Now that we are living in world where people must stay physically distant and sharing food in public is suspect at best, meeting in person and sharing a communal meal is not a good option.  We want to spread the love of God, but not the coronavirus.  Still, in a time when people are more isolated and lonelier, Alpha may be even more necessary than before the pandemic. 

As Alpha pivots into a coronaviral world, we are finding that we can recreate the Alpha experience virtually.  There are even some additional benefits from running Alpha online.  There are no geographical limits.  There is no necessity for anyone to walk into an unfamiliar location.  Parents who have small children can participate even if they have no one to babysit their kids.  If guests have to travel for work, they can still jump on Zoom for the discussion.  When we “meet” people in their own environments, we get to know each other quicker than in even the most relaxed “classroom” type setting. 

We can even adapt the elements of Alpha that seem particularly rooted in the face-to-face experience.  We may not be able to serve dinner every week, but that does not mean we cannot find creative ways to share snacks.  We may not be able to have light conversation around a dinner table, but that does not mean we cannot dedicate part of our virtual session to just being friends hanging out together.  We may not be able to share physical hugs, but that does not mean we cannot encourage, comfort, and love.

So, it turns out that the Holy Spirit is perfectly okay using Zoom.

My church is going to start a new season of Alpha on Wednesday March 10,2021. We will be meeting on Zoom from 6:30-7:45 pm Eastern USA time.  I thought I would take advantage of the “no geographical limits” benefit of online Alpha to invite you to participate with me.  I would really love it if some of you would join us.  If you do not want to commit to the whole program but would just like to “come and see” for a session or two, you would be very welcome. 

In our crazy, coronaviral world, many folks are already using Zoom.  For those of you who have not yet gone Zooming, it is really easy.  It is free.  All you need is a computer or tablet that has a camera, microphone, and speakers.  Some desktops have all these things.  Just about any laptop or tablet will.  You can even use a smart phone, but it is a little less comfortable.  If you wish to join us, I’ll be sending you a link by email.  All you will need to do is click on it.  The first time, the process will lead you through installing the Zoom app on whatever device you are using. 

If you would like to hang out with me in an Alpha session, please email me at  Please provide your name, phone number and whether or not you can/wish to accept texts at that number, email address, and mailing address (you never know what delightful surprises you might find in your mailbox!)  I will keep your information private.  There is absolutely no commitment and NO PRESSURE. 

Please consider joining us for our next search party!

Have you ever heard of Alpha?  What questions do you have?  Does it sound like something you might find interesting?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at  

Let’s party!

Terri/Dorry 😊

A Piece Of My Heart

Happy Valentine’s Day!  It strikes me that, over the past five plus years, I have been sharing pieces of my heart with all of you.  One little crumble of heart at a time, I have been giving you so much of what makes me me.  I always say that love cannot be rationed or horded.  Giving it away never depletes one’s own supply of it. 

In sharing these pieces of my heart with you, I find that the love within me expands and renews itself.  I am sure, as a result of writing this blog and engaging with you all, that there is infinitely more love in my heart than there was before I started. 

Thank you for the love you give me.  May it expand and renew itself in your hearts as well… on Valentine’s Day and every day. 

What expands and renews the love in your heart?  Please share your own little valentine by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at  Happy Heart Day!

Have a loving day!

Terri/Dorry 😘

Days Of The Dolphins

I finally got to take my retreat day at Discovery Cove.  It was wonderful. 

Some of you may recall my visits to Discovery Cove in earlier years.  If  you would like to refresh your memories, you can read my accounts at , , , and .

As you can see by the plethora of blog pieces I have written to memorialize my days of the dolphins, I cannot get enough of the experience.  Once I got over the silly “once in a lifetime experience” orientation, I looked forward to my Dolphin Day each year.  Each year, the experience far exceeded my unreasonably high expectations.  The most interesting thing is that, each year, the experience has been uniquely wonderful.  You would think that, by now, my annual trip to Discovery Cove would have fallen comfortably into a pleasure niche… a fun day, to be sure, but not exactly novel and surprising.   Truth be told, the activities in which I engage during each visit are pretty much the same. The reality, however, is that the way I experience each visit has been very different.  I seem to get what I need at the particular time each time I go.

The first time I went to Discovery Cove, the experience was very much about novelty and luxury.  My first trip occurred during the time I was accompanying my mother on her end of life journey.  Time blurred during that period in my life.  Days and nights ran together.  Everything in my life was pretty much about loving my mother and living for her. There was nothing novel about my life.  In fact, part of the burden was the aching, heavy, oppressive sameness of each day.  As anyone who has ever been inside a skilled nursing facility knows, there is no luxury involved.  While I did not reside in the skilled nursing facility, I lived there. My life was with my mother.  My life was institutional grey and every facet of it was functional, not luxurious.  The day at Discovery Code gave me sunlight and saltwater and service and specialness.  It delighted me and lit some joy in my depleted soul.

The second time I went to Discovery Cove, I was learning to embrace life.  I struggled with letting go of practicality.  It seemed frivolous to spend money on an encore of my “once in a lifetime” experience.  As soon as I settled happily into my day, though, I realized that there should be nothing “once in a lifetime” about enjoying each moment.  Having memories to savor and having dreams to pursue are important, wonderful facets of a full life.  Having those memories and those dreams does not diminish the magic of the now.  I spent a wonderful day, practicing my living in the now skills.  The fact that I had been to the cove before did not take the dew of my dolphin rose.  That time, I heard a child proclaim, “this is the best day ever.”  Suddenly, I understood that each day can be the best day ever, if we fully experience the present.  As illogical as it sounds, maybe we don’t get just one best day ever.  Maybe God blesses us with many best days ever, if we are open to His grace.

The third trip to Discovery Cove focused me on the beauty and sheer artistry of nature.  I focused much more outwardly than during my prior visits.  Instead of exploring my own mind… as fascinating as that was… I explored the sights, sounds, textures, scents, and tastes I experienced.  I purposely let my mind be still and soak in the experience.  I savored the fruit of my senses and remembered that God was the artist of the breathtaking canvas of the world.  On this experience, I realized that my day at the cove was actually a spiritual retreat for me. 

This last visit was different because Discovery Cove made significant adjustments due to COVID-19 protocols.  I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as prior visits.  In fact, I probably would not have gone except that I had a quarantine-postponed paid reservation that was speeding headlong towards an expiration date. 

To my surprise, I enjoyed my COVID-curtailed day at Discovery Cove very much.  I was interested to see how the employees adjusted to retain as much magic as they could while offering only encounters that could be handled with physical distancing.  Typically, one of the highlights of the day is “swimming with a dolphin.”  That entailed swimming out to deep water and holding on to a dolphin’s flipper while she towed you back to the shore.  I knew that there was not going to be any dolphin surfing on my recent trip.  However, what I did not know is that the keepers would offer alternative experiences.  I got to train a dolphin, dance with her, and giggle as she sang with me.  It wasn’t quite as exciting as riding a dolphin wakeboard, but it was so much fun.  Because I had been shut away from the world for so long, it was a very sweet treat to be outside in the sun and water for a day.  I truly appreciated the sensual jubilee that my day with the dolphins provided.  Because Discovery Cove is always a limited admission park, it never feels crowded.  On this last trip, the sense of being almost alone on a tropical island was even more pronounced.  There were few visitors and we were all staying well clear of us each other. 

Yes, this past trip represented a different kind of experience.  Of all my trips, there were the fewest experiences available.  However, in some ways, this last, “limited” trip was the best of all worlds.  As I reveled in the luxury and novelty in my first trip, my last trip represented the luxury of liberation from quarantine… freedom from the world within my four walls.  As I reveled in the opportunity to embrace life and live in the moment without worrying about the past or future during my second trip, my last trip reminded me that an experience that is different from what I expect is not necessarily a “less than” experience.  As I reveled in the infusion of senses emanating from God’s natural world and spent some quality time with my Maker on my third trip, my last trip gave me silence and solitude to continue those divine conversations. 

Discoveries are delightful!

Do you have an experience or activity that continues to surprise and enrich you, even after doing it multiple times?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at

Have a Discovery Day!

Terri/Dorry 😊