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Nameless Sound (May 7 & 8) Labyrinth Walk (May 7) The Gershwins (May 14) Intercultural Plays (May 13 & 14) Dog Fest (May 21) African American Art (through June 26) Bookstores & Book Clubs (Ongoing) VIDEO PICK: Grateful Song SPOTLIGHT: Flo Paris WORKSHOPS & MORE About SPIRIT PICKS About GISH CREATIVE
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Welcome to SPIRIT PICKS: A GUIDE TO INSPIRING ACTIVITIES IN HOUSTON! You are receiving this email either because you signed up for it or because it’s something I thought would be of interest to you. If you would like to unsubscribe, please do so using the link in the footer of this email. And if you’re in Facebooklandia, please sidle over there and LIKE our page and please share it too. Make sure you don’t miss a single post: click on the drop-down LIKE button and then check “See First.” Thanks!

Each month I cull through HUNDREDS of events in Houston and curate the best for you by highlighting six inspiring events (“PICKS”) and one “SPIRIT SPOTLIGHT” (an inspiring person or bricks-and-mortar place) as well as products, classes and workshops, and services. I focus on culture and art, meditation, spiritual events, healthy living, one-of-a kind moments, and organizations that enlighten and inspire Houstonians. I’m so amazed by this city and I want to share my delight with you! SPIRIT PICKS will always be free to my readers so I’ll need advertising support to offset the cost of researching, writing, and designing it. If you are interested in advertising, please contact me. And so that we can spread the news of these great happenings in Houston, please share this information far and wide via email and social media with your friends and family members that might be interested -- or send them this link:

Ah May…how busy are ye! Tomorrow (Tuesday, May 3) is the first ever “Big Give Houston,” a day focused on giving to our city’s many amazing nonprofits. “Cinco de Mayo” is on Thursday; Sunday, May 8 is Mother’s Day; Sunday, May 21 is not only “Armed Forces Day” but also “World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development; and Memorial Day – the day we remember those who died while serving in our country's armed forces – is Monday, May 30. It’s also Bike Month, Historic Preservation Month, and Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and several other observances are happening this month, as you can see in this huge list. Whew, it’s staggering really!

Gratitude is a habit that can change the world and our own lives. Musicians Nimo Patel and Daniel Nahmod were inspired by the 21-Day Gratitude Challenge to create this beautiful video and song that brought together dozens of people from around the world. Enjoy “GRATEFUL: A Love Song to the World.” May it inspire you to spread gratitude!

Click to view video
Click to view video

Have a great May, hug those you love, and happy PICK-ing!

Picks for the Month of May, 2016

World Labyrinth Day


I’m excited to announce that I’m hosting another walk on the Hines Center labyrinth this Saturday, May 7, 1:30-3:30pm. See all the details and registration info here. The Hines Center is an outreach of Christ Church Cathedral and the labyrinth itself was designed by Cathedral member and my friend Mike McEnany. I’ll start out by introducing you to the Hines Center and to labyrinths in general. We’ll then delve into this particular labyrinth and how to walk it as a meditation practice. I like to incorporate art into my walks since that’s a great way to center yourself and access your soul, so there will be art supplies for you to enjoy a take-home art activity. Plus, it’s World Labyrinth Day so we will create a space for focused attention on that. I look forward to seeing you there!

Dave Burrell's Full Blown Duo featuring Andrew Cyrille


Music is so important – it influences our brain chemistry and our desire to connect and it’s a key to success, as stated in this New York Times article. Lucky for us, Houston is wild about music! We have hundreds of musical nonprofits, ranging from modern and experimental music to classical Baroque music and country bands. We have kids playing music, doctors playing music, and everything in between. There’s no easy way to find the plethora of music offered in Houston each day but a good place to start is the Houston Chamber Music Card, a resource I often check.

And since I like to PICK so much, here are my musical suggestions for this month: go see one or both of these concerts by Nameless SoundSaturday, May 7 is Dave Burrell's Full Blown Duo featuring Andrew Cyrille and the Sunday, May 8 concert features Dave Burrell with Steve Swell performing “Turning Point.” And there is a wonderful show by Vox: The Rob Seible Singers – “The Gershwins is their season closer on Saturday, May 14 at 7:30pm.

Next Iteration Theater Company


As I said in my intro, this month is the celebration of the United Nations’ World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development so it seems timely to recommend an Intercultural Play Reading Series that’s being presented by the Next Iteration Theater Company this month. The series takes place May 13 and 14 at the beautiful new MATCH and features intercultural offerings with three plays and three playwrights, including a staged reading of “The Who and the What” by Pulitzer Prize winning, Tony-nominated playwright, Ayad Akhtar; Aishah Rahman's “The Mojo and the Sayso”; and introducing Rhett Martinez's new play, “Three On A Match.”

Tickets for these readings are pay-what-you-can and the suggested price is $15. Click here to purchase them.

Puppies for Breakfast


Puppies for Breakfast is back this year as a morning dog festival that works to bring everything “dog” to one place for a few hours. The event takes place on Saturday, May 21 from 10am–2pm at Market Square Park in downtown Houston. The event has been organized by Neue Creative and Modular Dog as a unique outdoor festival for Houston’s large community of furry friends and features over 40 dog vendors, a costume contest, a mayor of Market Square contest, an area for four-legged friends to play in, music, and much more! Plus, for the humans in tow, you can enjoy some of Houston’s best food trucks as well as the onsite restaurant-to-go, Niko Niko’s.

The event is free and open to the public, with a suggested $5 donation to help a local dog rescue.

Pride, Dignity and Courage


The Houston Museum of African American Culture presents a survey of African American culture and history through their new show, “Pride, Dignity and Courage,” an exhibition of art by influential artist Ted Ellis. This from their Facebook page: “From an unequaled resilience during the time of slavery, to the courageous participants in the civil rights movement, to the current Black Lives Matter Movement, African Americans have been willing to face the world head-on even when confronting the most strident resistance. In “Pride, Dignity and Courage”, Ellis, who considers himself to be a creative historian, captures the character, resourcefulness and faith of a people whose struggle for full equality in America continues even today. Ellis has work in the permanent collections of the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Walt Disney Studios, the McKenna Museum of African American Art and the Free People of Color Museum in New Orleans, and the Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, as well as in the collections of Bryant Gumble, Angela Bassett, Johnnie Cochran, Blair Underwood, Susan L. Taylor and Spike Lee. “Pride, Dignity and Courage” includes the renowned works by Ellis, including Free At Last, Surviving Katrina, Sunday Worship, My Old Quilt, and Obama, 44th President.

Ted Ellis will be presenting a gallery talk at HMAAC this Saturday, May 7. The Museum is located at 4807 Caroline Street and is open on Wednesdays/Fridays/Saturdays from 11am-6pm and Thursdays from 11am-8pm.

WORDS OF WISDOM: lively talks on inspiring topics


I host a WORDS OF WISDOM: lively talks on inspiring topics series and for April, we talked about books, bookstores, bookclubs, and more – so I was inspired to do some research. There are so many literary happenings in Houston, it’s mind-boggling! I want to share information with you on two things: public book clubs and terrific indie bookstores. I’m hoping this will inspire you to head out and see the wordy world out there!

Bookstores: The indie bookstores I suggest you check out are: Becker’s Books, Blue Willow Bookshop, Brazos Bookstore, Kaboom Books, Murder by the Book, and the River Oaks Bookstore.

Book Clubs: There are an enormous number of public book clubs – here are just a few: Houston Great Books hosts several and is a great place to start. Many of the indie bookstores host book clubs and there are also ones at the Houston Public Library and Inprint Houston. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston offers “Book Club Tours, an excellent way to bring literature and art together!

Spirit Spotlight

Flo Paris


Flo Paris is a new hot spot in Houston’s Galleria area that features divine food that’s all handmade from scratch, including made-to-order crepes, French pastries and bread made fresh daily, yummy sandwiches and salads, and delish hot drinks.

Here’s their story: “It all started with a dream and a desire to be amongst 'La crème de la crème' of the French cuisine and artisan baking industry. Florelle and Rabih Salibi, a French and Lebanese couple along with their business partner Sam Baaklini wanted to provide the same exquisite tastes they were accustomed to while savoring authentic Parisian cuisine around the world. Thus, Flo Paris came to life in 2015. Situated in Houston, this Galleria space café offers a unique food experience where memories of scrumptious bites are formed with a Parisian touch. From scratch-made baguette sandwiches, savory crepes, pastries that almost melt in your mouth to sweet and savory croissants, Flo Paris forms its food with love, care and fine technique. With Rabih’s 26 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Florelle’s attention to detail and presentation, Samih Baaklini’s business savviness and know-how, pastry chef Dany Srour’s expertise and Houston's famous cowboy, Philippe Schmit, with over 30 years of experience as a French cuisine chef, Flo Paris offers a “Michelin Star” experience at an affordable price.

Flo Paris is open daily from 7am-6pm and is located at 5757 Westheimer Road at Bering Drive.



    Take an art class this summer! The Studio School at the Glassell School of Art offers courses and workshops for adults. Explore a variety of media, ranging from ceramics, jewelry, and sculpture to painting and photography, all in state-of-the-art studios on Holcombe Boulevard. Registration begins May 25. For a course catalog & more info, click here or call 713.639.7500.


    I am a huge fan of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and their “No Place for Hate®” initiative, a signature regional program which empowers schools to promote respect for individual and group differences while challenging prejudice and bigotry. This year marks its 15th anniversary and ADL is celebrating at their No Place for Hate® Luncheon this Wednesday, May 4 starting at noon (check in starts at 11:15am). They’ll be offering cake and compliments in honor of the hundreds of schools that have achieved a No Place for Hate® designation and the keynote speaker will be Dr. Jennifer Arnold, M.D. of Texas Children’s Hospital and TLC’s The Little Couple.

    The luncheon takes place at the Hilton Houston Post Oak, 2001 Post Oak Road. It is generously underwritten by Sysco. Event chairs are Lyn F. Schmulen and her daughter, Caren S. Sweetland. Tickets are $200 and tables start at $2,500. For more information or to purchase tickets/tables, please contact Angela Atlas at 832-975-8306 or

The purpose of SPIRIT PICKS is to make you think and to ignite your life. It is a friendly portal of information for those who affiliate with an organized religion, for those who call themselves spiritual, for those who are “free-spirited,” and for those who are agnostics or atheists. This monthly list of events, places, workshops, and more will be varied enough so that everyone, no matter their beliefs, can find something of interest. If you see anything that you think would be good to include in SPIRIT PICKS, please email me.

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Sarah Gish
Sarah Gish
(Photo: Two Birds Photography)

Sarah Gish
1940-A Fountainview, PMB 116
Houston, Texas 77057
phone: 713.492.1173

© 2016 Sarah Gish

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