Well, come in and sit for a moment.

In these times of pummeling information at incomprehensible speed, I keep noticing we’re all wearier than we realize, and we don’t always remember how to rest. I think we could use more roadside restorative spaces, more holy rest-stops.

So here is the Shrine of the Real — a virtual sort of chapel that comes to your inbox, inviting you to take a deep breath and feel re-connected to something…more, something Real. It’s a humble, quiet place, a bit off the beaten track. And inside you’ll find little hand-crafted word offerings, assembled from whatever is at hand — sometimes spare parts, sometimes the very heart, but always reaching for the Real.

And the Shrine-keeper?

My name is Nicole Parsons. I have a few credentials1 but really almost everything I know I learned from stories: books and gossip, journalism and the tales of family and neighbors and saints. So I plan to keep on listening. I hope you will too.


Credentials include an M.A. in English Literature, Certification in Spiritual Direction, and an M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction. My writing has been published in Image Journal, Ruminate Magazine, and short-listed for the Glimmer Train fiction prize. In 2017, I produced the podcast series, Wet Mountain Valley Dry Goods, which also aired on my local radio station. I am an Associate of the Order of Julian of Norwich, a contemplative Benedictine Episcopal Religious order. I live and listen in a tiny town in southern Colorado.

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A reason to rest and listen to ordinary things that radiate substantial truths. Written and narrated by Nicole Parsons


Nicole is a certified spiritual director with an MFA in Creative Nonfiction, but everything she knows she learned through stories. She lives and listens in the Sangre de Cristo mountains with her husband and dog.