Benedictions is about the presence of the sacred in ordinary things: the ground beneath our feet, the ways we bless each other, loss and grief, the making of our homes, even doubt and darkness. In the everyday experiences described here, God's presence is palpable and real. ""Cleave the wood and I am there,"" says Isaiah in the apocryphal gospel of Thomas. ""Lift up the stone and you will find me there."" These benedictions--literally good words, blessings, tastes of God--remind readers to live life with feeling and passion and art, to pay attention to the holiness of the commonplace. Each reflection opens a door inviting the reader into an experience they might understand as an encounter with God, and an exploration of the many meanings of the sacred. Benedictions is also a personal collection about places and people, seasons of life, and seasons of experience that convey much more than the ordinary. A statement and questions for further conversation and discussion follow each reflection. Hopefully, readers will discover their own benedictions here in the wonder, grace, and mystery of God's presence in daily life. ""These earthy reflections from Julie Aageson offer spiritual refuge for anyone who lives an ordinary, yet busy life. You can almost smell the ocean and cedar of her childhood as she paints you into the canvas of God's sacred presence. Relax and let the Holy take you in."" --Terri Lackey, Director for Communication, Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ""Aageson's reflections lead us on a trail of rich storytelling, uplifting ways we experience God's presence in our everyday lives. Stop along the way to savor each one. Leave refreshed and grateful for the tug of God's hand in yours, leading you to become an ongoing benediction in the world."" --Sandra Anderson, Children's Christian educator and curriculum writer ""Personal, yet universal. Julie Aageson's lovely writing captures the holiness of everyday things and experiences. She invites us through her finely crafted reflections to pause in our busy lives and notice God's presence all around us. At the end of each reflection essay, Julie encourages us to pause and reflect, either as a solo reader, in a family or other small group, with questions to draw out our own memories, ponderings, and benedictions."" --Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO, Augsburg Fortress ""Benedictions by Julie K. Aageson overflows with blessings. With exquisite attention to the 'ordinary, ' Aageson draws us into pondering where we find meaning, shelter, comfort, company, hope, beauty, resurrection, purpose, and God in daily living. Hers is the voice of a friend, opening her home, and speaking lovingly and elegantly of the places, people, events, and deeds that reveal 'God's face in the journey that is life.'"" --Elna K. Solvang, Professor, Department of Religion, Concordia College Julie K. Aageson has served as a resource specialist and writer for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She writes a regular column for the ELCA magazine, GATHER, and is a co-author of One Hope: Re-Membering the Body of Christ, honoring the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.