Lisa Graham McMinn

I’m a Quaker, spiritual director, keeper of goats and hens, soap maker, and small-scale farmer. My job is to love Creation—to hold hope, to nurture, to laugh, to pray and to pay grateful attention. So I tend heirloom tomatoes, nurture kid goats and chicks, and the people whose storied lives I hold.  And some days I work alchemy with goat milk, oils, and lye, and in other ways preserve my grandmother’s simple grateful way of life.


So much happens at Fern Creek. It’s home for a small flock of hens and three Nigerian Dwarf goats (and squirrels, assorted birds, and the occasional owl).  We tend an apple orchard with a smattering of other tree fruit, berry fields, and an oversized garden that produces vegetables that feed us year-round. Some of it (a lot of it) we share locally with a little U-Pick community and our equally little Fern Creek Market. Some come to Fern Creek to stay for a night or more as Airbnb and Vrbo guests in our apartment. Others come for spiritual direction and personal retreats.  


Websites tend to parse our lives into bits and pieces. I want to try something different here.

Life at Fern Creek is a blessed and integrated life. It’s not always easy and not nearly as idyllic as it sometimes sounds, but it’s definitely blessed. I want to try to reflect multiple pieces of it here. The strand that weaves this together is the blog, Ponderings, where I explore what I’m learning about God’s loving presence in the world, whose grace keeps the universe from coming apart, including the bits and pieces that make up life at Fern Creek.



spiritual direction and retreats

I'm drawn to a spacious, contemplative path, grounded in the earthiness of God's presence in all things. The community to which I belong includes forests and ferns, hens, hummingbirds and humans--all held together by God . The direction I offer flows from a belief that the universe is an outpouring of God's love and we are capable of experiencing and being conduits of that love.


In spiritual direction I walk alongside you as we explore the spiritual undercurrents of your ordinary life. I listen for the question that wants to be asked, seeking to discern with you the movement of God in joy-filled, challenging, and painful places.  God is the ultimate Director in our conversations, inviting us into contemplation and awareness, which eventually draws us toward response as we begin to see and love ourselves, others, and the world as God does.


I am honored to listen deeply to people’s storied lives whether they have long walked in their faith, are disillusioned with faith or are exploring their spiritual selves without context to a specific faith tradition.


I meet with directees in our treehouse prayer cabin above our goat barn, although I can also meet directees via FaceTime or Zoom if we discern meeting in such a way would be beneficial. My certification comes through Portland Seminary and I am currently studying with Richard Rohr in his Living School for Action and Contemplation.


Why Goat Milk Soap?

For starters, soaps made with milk are creamier than soaps made with water. Milk soaps lather more, and the lather is silky. Goat milk is particularly high in butterfat, and natural oils and acids in goat milk contribute an extra layer of skin-renewing goodness, especially when used in tandem with quality oils and butters. This soap doesn’t strip the skin of natural oil but instead is moisturizing. You don’t feel like you need to use lotions after using it.


Our Fern Creek commitment to organic and fair-trade practices means that I purchase my primary oils and fats (olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, castor and canola oil) from fair trade and organic sources. Occasionally I use other oils and butters, especially while experimenting. These are not always organic, and fair trade is not always relevant. They include sweet almond oil, mango butter, and sunflower seed oil. I am avoiding palm oil, which is difficult to harvest sustainably, and always learning what I can about which oils and butters are environmentally friendly and how to source from socially and environmentally responsible suppliers.


That choice is reflected in the price of these soaps.  As is my choice to use essential oils and rather than synthetic fragrances (though I do love and use a few synthetics) and natural clays, oxides and pigments for color instead of synthetic colorants. Soaps are available locally in the Fern Creek Market, as well as on-line.

Rosehip Charcoal 
Facial Bar

Our herd of goats includes Clara and Sophie (two ADGA--American Dairy Goat Association--registered does), and their buddy, Zeke (a wether who keeps them company). They are friendly, full of personality and add much to our little farm.  Their milk, while a wonderful gift, is secondary to what they bring in their goat-ness. We look forward to welcoming their babies to Fern Creek once they are old enough to be mamas. 


© 2019 Lisa Graham McMinn

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