Great Meadows

One of my Sabbath activities today included an hour of walking through Great Meadows in Concord (MA). It’s one of my favorite destinations for exercise, reflection and prayer. Great Meadows is a National Wildlife Refuge, teeming with habitat…including a delightful diversity of birds, waterfowl (mallards and ducks), as well as deer, muskrats, red fox, raccoons, rabbits, beaver, squirrels, and a variety of other mammals, amphibians and reptiles. It’s a beautiful place for seasonal photography and bird-watching, with fabulous hiking around the water-drenched meadow adjacent to the Concord River.

Today as I entered the meadows I nearly stepped on a small, fist-sized turtle. Since I was moving at a clip I didn’t pay too much attention to his presence at the time. Instead, I kept walking, listening to my favorite Christian music on my iPod, and enjoying the sunshine of the afternoon as it glistened on every ounce of magnificence around me. Nearly an hour later, as I was on my way back to the car, I noticed that turtle in the same vicinity as before. This time I stopped to take a closer look at his color (dark black shell and red stripes along his neck and legs) and observe his sedentary place on the sandy walkway. I’m not sure how much he had moved since I first glanced his way, but certainly not too much…he must not have been in a rush.

I on the other hand had calculated my timing in the Meadow. I knew when I arrived how much time I had to walk, and be sure to get back to the car in time to get home and fulfill my family obligations for the remainder of the day.

Even though today was our Sabbath, I still found myself moving at a good pace, with several items to accomplish and activities to experience. Had my life been more like the turtle I’m confident I’d be much more content with fewer things on the list. Instead, I found myself all wrapped up in the muchness and moreness and manyness of life – even on a Sabbath afternoon. As a result, I missed attending to the richness of a quiet moment along the pathway, pondering the multiple gifts that surround me and the abundance of the spiritual life within.

I’m already looking forward to the next time I get over to Great Meadows. Perhaps I’ll take advantage of one of the lovely benches along the pathway…I’m sure they’re put there for a reason! Thanks, Mr. Turtle.


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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.