10 Reasons to Smile–A Photo Essay

I heard someone once say that “art is a way of seeing.” I think learning how to pay attention is an art, too. There is so much remarkable beauty all around us, inside, outside all around, particularly here in the “upper lefthand corner” of the United States where I live. My bi-monthly newsletter talks about the ‘miraculous to mundane’ parts of our days, because that’s where we live. Here’s what I saw when I was looking.

I never tire of this view from our upstairs deck, the way the trees frame the clouds and the horizon. Even when I’m standing at the kitchen sink there’s a far away scene to fill my soul.

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The other day I purposefully took a crazy long way home from the grocery store (talk about mundane). But this made up for it, a tree-lined winding drive right off one our main highways. I literally stopped in the middle of the road and snapped this photo. Wouldn’t you?

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My friend Kimberlee and I were walking on a path around a lake in Seattle last week and stopped to photograph these mushrooms. One of the locals pointed out they’re s u p e r poisonous, like don’t even touch them poisonous unless you wash your hands afterwards. But they look like there should be gnomes or fairies hiding right next to them, don’t you think?

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This is beautyberry in my front yard after last week’s rain. Aptly named, yes? I love the purple against the green.

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These fuschia blossoms land on the stairs below the basket hanging on our deck. They looked like resting ballerinas to me. Sometimes there is remarkable, delicate beauty right at our feet.

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The colors in our backyard this time of year always catch me by surprise. The russet colored tree that’s aflame with reddish orange is a Japanese Stewartia. It blooms with white flowers in the summer, another happy surprise.

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I took this photo the other morning on my walk. I was captivated by the way the light shone between the trees, like Jesus might be coming right through the sky.

P_20181011_134337This is Greenlake in Seattle,which should be called Golden Pond, yes? Look at the mirrored reflection on the surface of the water. It looks like a painting.

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I remember a line in Laura Barkat’s book, God in the Yard–Spiritual Practice for the Rest of Us, “smallness permits attention.”  I’m also reminded of a phrase from Seamus Heaney when I look at this photo about the “diamond absolutes.” Can you see the diamonds?

One more miracle in the middle of the mundane. I was walking through the Wal-Mart parking lot yesterday and looked up at this supernatural sight–a lake in the air? A feather in the sky? Only God. Only God.

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I’m so grateful every day for the beautiful place where I get to live. I’m grateful, too, for the way God has tuned my eyes to pay attention to miracles–big or small–from lakes to fuschia blossoms.

May He grant you one or two moments of glorious ‘aha!’s in your day today.

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#Sage One-Elizabeth Marshall

Elizabeth Marshall and I first met online years ago because of  our love of poetry and common Christian faith. Last April we finally hugged each other in person at a Christian writer’s conference but the time was much too brief. (There was an impending ice storm and everyone was scurrying to get home.)

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Elizabeth is a talented photographer with a stunning eye for beauty and weaves words on the page as well. As another #SageOne, a faith writer over 50, I am pleased for you to know her and discover her latest endeavor, the Peabiddies Podcast, Pursuing the Art of Noticing. Learning keeps us young, I’ve found, and Elizabeth proves it. In my (long distance) interview we talk about the challenges of a new frontier and how walking with Jesus looks different in every age and stage of life. (oh, and about peacocks!)

Please welcome Elizabeth Marshall.

  1. Tell us a little about your educational background, any degrees, and life experience.

    I earned a BA in History from Hollins University in Virginia in 1981. At the time I didn’t fully appreciate the fact that Annie Dillard, who is now a favorite writer of mine, had attended Hollins years earlier. My freshman dorm was named Tinker, which will have a familiar ring to it if you are at all familiar with Dillard’s work. She won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction for Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Although I clearly cannot change the past, it would have been lovely to have majored in English so I could have walked a step or two that Dillard walked. When I make lists of favorite authors, she is at the top.
    2. What was your first career?
    After graduating from college, I headed to New York to work for Young & Rubicam advertising agency on Madison Avenue. I worked for Y&R as a media planner and media supervisor for close to five years. Since moving to South Carolina, I’ve worked for a magazine as the Advertising Director, I’ve owned a small business, and I’ve worked as a realtor. I look back and believe that while my time living in Manhattan in New York had its difficulties for this young woman from the South, it taught me invaluable lessons about life, business, and marketing.
    Although I enjoyed aspects of my life there, I certainly was cured of any desire for city life long term. Living here in a small shrimping village, one without a stoplight, provides the perfect antidote to that fast-paced season of my life. I believe everything that was challenging and difficult about that first career has provided threads to pull from in my life as a writer and creative. Perhaps it goes without saying, but I prefer the pace of this village in the South Carolina Lowcountry to Manhattan.
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    3. How and why did you decide to start a podcast? And tell us about the name “Peabiddies.”
    My decision to dive into podcasting was based on several factors. And honestly, the further I get into developing this project, the more clearly I see that it provides a valuable piece to the puzzle of my writing and creative life. Weaving together the music, my narration segments and monologues, as well as the interview portions with the show’s guests brings a dimension to my life as a writer that stretches and challenges me. The writing life, by definition, is often marked by periods of solitude as we dig down deep into our writing projects. The weekly podcast provides me an opportunity to pivot, shift gears and use a different part of my creative brain.
    The themes of my podcast, pursuing the art of noticing and discovering beauty, awe, and wonder, allow me to dovetail or underscore if you will,  themes found in my poetry and non-fiction work, all infused with the understanding of God in the midst.
    About the name: I have always loved the process of naming things. In this case I was looking for a podcast moniker which did not already exist in the podcast world, one that was unique, that I enjoyed repeating, and that had personal significance. (Perhaps it’s no surprise that there is alliteration in the title with the presence of three “p” words). My hope was there’d be many opportunities to say the name, so I’d need to be very fond of it. Finding something that was playful and whimsical was important too. One day I stumbled on the word “peabiddies” while reading a Flannery O’Connor book. Peabiddies are the chicks or baby peafowl of the peacock and peahen, and since I’ve always had a crazy love of peacocks, it seemed a perfect fit.  I hope Peabiddies stays around for a good long while.
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    4. Practical question–do you write your program content out first before you start recording? It sounds very well thought out!
    For now at least in these early stages, it’s best for me to type out most of what I want to record of my voice for Peabiddies. When I am interviewing guests, I type out my questions or have a guideline to follow. I want the podcast to evolve organically, to sound natural and to flow. I have a lot of work to do in all areas, that’s for sure. But my goal is for it to flow in such a way that the listener has the sense that he or she is listening to a conversation, or is a part of a conversation.
    The learning curve is fairly steep and I have tremendous room for improvement and for refinement. But I can say I am having fun and truly enjoying the process of learning all the nuances of the medium. The most important thing for me is for the listeners to enjoy what I am producing—find something of real value. My hope is that the podcast episodes are stimulating, interesting, fun, and draw the listeners in again and again. I want this to be a place that flings the door open in a hospitable way. Here is where my southern roots come in a bit with a graciousness that feels welcoming. As I said earlier, there is room for improvement as I build a library of episodes. Hopefully, the listener will see us grow and improve in what we offer as time goes on.
    5. Since you are a believer in Christ, how does your faith inform your work on the podcast, either behind the scenes or in front of the microphone?
    My faith certainly impacts my work. My hope and desire is for the two to be seamlessly connected. I believe it is important for me to pray over these words and these projects of mine, and to be continually seeking God’s guidance as I discern how to navigate my way through my creative life.
    I’m very fortunate to be in a small writers group where three women share a love of writing and our Christian faith and beliefs. We pray regularly for one another— over the writing projects we are involved with—providing encouragement and support for one another’s work. All of my creative projects are run through the sieve of my belief that God has called me to this life of being a writer and that He alone sustains me and gives me the passion for my work, my art.
    You can listen to Peabiddies Podcast – Pursue the Art of Noticing on iTunes, Anchor.fm,  Google podcasts or Stitcher radio.
    Elizabeth’s website is here.
    You can find her on Instagram at @peabiddiespodcast and @Elizabethwynnemarshall

#Sage One-Susan Mulder

I finally met Susan Mulder live and in person last April at a Christian writer’s gathering in Michigan. I’d been following her beautiful work on social media via Instagram and loved the vignettes she ‘painted’ with her camera. Susan is my first official interview for The Sage Ones–Christian women with wisdom and encouragement to pass on to the next generation, beautiful, varied examples of how to live out faith in Jesus with the gifts God has given us.

Susan’s recently embarked on a new endeavor–podcasting–fleshing out another adventure. Please welcome Susan Mulder.

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  1. I know you’re a trained artist and busy grandparent. Tell us about that balancing act.

I have a terminal degree in fine arts-which is a fancy way of saying I have an MFA with an emphasis in painting. I really see myself as more of creator because I work in multiple media ranging from oil painting, mixed media, performance, sculpture to where I am now, working with the written word. I have exhibited extensively and after a self-imposed (see below) break I have slowly re-entered the exhibition circuit showing this summer, with two exhibitions coming in the spring.

I am currently on a fast track program for grand-parenting. I’ve gone from three grands to six grands in the last 5 months and help care for them while their parents work. (Not all at the same time!)  When I walked away from my dream job teaching at the college level 4 years ago (long story and this is where the radical obedience part of what I do comes in) I committed to pouring into my family by helping care for these little ones. I take it very seriously-this is relational development at its foundational level. I have one opportunity with each of these littles to build something that will last a lifetime and I am all in.

Yes, Mother Said, 36″ x 36″, Oil, Acrylic, Spray Paint on Designer Fabric, S. Mulder

2. Now you’ve jumped into podcasting. Did you have any prior careers?

Yes, I have had several iterations occupationally. I’ve served as an educator both at the collegiate level and as an independent visual arts instructor at arts institutions and out of my home studio. I’ve presented at conferences, taught public speaking, and best business practices for artists. I also have experience in non-profit development and leadership with non-profit arts organization for marginalized youth and worked on organizational development within the church.

And just for fun, one of my favorite roles was as an assistant sushi chef. I love to try new things and say yes to new opportunities which has provided me with some very rich experiences!

  1. How and why did you decide to start Poet Kind podcast?

As I mentioned earlier, I see it as an act of radical obedience. I can tell you what I was doing, even what I was wearing when the words ‘you are finished here’ echoed internally and I knew God was telling me to leave my “dream job” that I had worked so hard for. As much as I wanted to shake it off, it became more and more apparent that my full attention and obedience was the only thing He would accept.  My entire being wanted to teach and leaving that position was one of the hardest things I have done. I felt like a monumental failure yet there was always the reassurance of that clear voice telling me otherwise.

As for starting Poet Kind-that was another prompting-but one of generation, not of letting go. The idea of doing a podcast had popped in and out of my mind but I never took it seriously, even when others suggested I do so. It seemed foolish to do something like a podcast with no platform, no built-in audience and no background. Then, there was another moment-the kind that requires an action, a stepping out, an obedience.  It seemed a little far-fetched that this was what God was suggesting; I have a hard enough time calling myself a poet and the idea of being a podcaster bordered on funny. However, I figured if He was going to ask me to step so far outside my little world that 1) He has a sense of humor, and 2) Why not? What was there to lose?

The learning curve has been steep but is more fun than I could have imagined. As long as I am confident I’m doing what I have been asked to do and there is joy present, I’ll keep it podcasting.   As for the title, Poet Kind, it came from a very light-hearted conversation; when asked what kind of podcast I would do, I jokingly said a “poet kind.”

4. How do you choose the poetry to feature on Poet Kind?

In choosing content I consider topics that come up in ordinary conversations, thinking perhaps if the people around me are wondering about these ideas maybe others are as well. Right now, the majority of what I read on the podcast comes from the public domain-which does limit my selections, but my hope is that I will have enough original content coming in, eventually, to feature and provide a platform for poets to get their work out there.

Poet Talk, which is a monthly feature on Poet Kind, is another way to offer poets a place to feature their work. It also gives listeners a chance to peek behind the curtain and learn more about the writers, their motivations and, and processes. I invite poets on the program the same way I select poetry to feature.  I do my best to get a feel for their work through their submission profile and the strength of their work. Does the work function on more than just surface, does it provoke thought beyond merely what it says?  Occasionally I reach out to specific poets because I am familiar with their writing and know that they would be a great fit.

  1. Since you are a believer in Christ, how does your faith inform your work on the podcast, either behind the scenes or in front of the microphone?

I have a deeply embedded philosophy when it comes to this. Though I do make very direct references to religious/spiritual ideas, concepts and questions in my writing that I wouldn’t make in my painting, I don’t call myself a Christian writer. I am a Christian who happens to be a writer and that faith enters into everything I do. The decisions I make for Poet Kind can’t help but be infused with my personal influences. What I read, what I know, and what I believe are integrated within the entire process. Were I to attempt to sift out any of those ingredients it wouldn’t be possible to offer something truly authentic. It is far from perfect, to be sure, and there is a lot of room for growth, but that is part of the process too!

When it comes to Poet Kind, I would hope the way I conduct myself reflects my beliefs. I want the podcast to be a place of hospitality, encouragement, maybe even a respite. Life is busy so if in a few minutes once a week, someone can find a place to take a deep breath or think differently just for a moment, then it’s a good thing.

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You can find Poet Kind podcast on  the Anchor app on your phone or tablet, as well as Google Podcasts, iTunes and Stitcher.

Here is a link to some of Susan’s artwork   and her thoughts on Christian art.

If you enjoyed reading this selection, would you consider sharing it? The buttons are right down below. Thanks ever so much. Also, Remember to sign up for my bi-monthly newsletter “Random Acts of Writing” (next edition in November.)

You can sign up right here.

5 Favorite Things About Fall

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There are so many reasons I love this time of year–it’s hard to choose, but here are my top five:

  1. Pumpkins Who knew there were white pumpkins and bumpy pumpkins and sorta-blue pumpkins and well, all manner of heirloom squash family members?? God’s creativity abounds in the gourd department, no? The displays at Trader Joe’s and elsewhere are a delight for the eyes. (But no Pumpkin Spice anything. Sorry Starbucks. And sorry, Hostess. Pumpkin Spice Twinkies? Um, no.)

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2. Half-a-pie moons in the night sky, crisp, clear mornings. Dew on the leaves in the garden.P_20180920_095150 Purple asters, full, ripe raspberries, colors beginning to creep up the foliage in the Japanese Stewartia.P_20180920_123823The world is getting ready to sleep.

I praise God for the way He speaks to us in creation. As nature is cycling through her seasons, the picture outside my window sends a visual message that murmurs just below the surface: I need to s l o w down. The waning hours of daylight are a subtle hint.P_20180919_081748From Websters, ‘Dormant’–asleep or inactive, latent but capable of being activated. From biology, a relatively inactive or resting condition in which some processes are slowed down or suspended. It is good to not always be in a hurry, the world whizzes by fast enough as it is. Tarrying awhile inside or out helps us to see that while we sleep God is still at work. Capable of being activated.

3. Cool nights mean fragrant candles, warm socks, and cozy fires. 

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There are fewer hours of daylight, forcing us inside to rest and redraw boundaries. Again the period of dormancy and slumber outside provides a reflective way to re-center ourselves physically. While my nature is to please everyone and Do All the Things that people ask of me, the natural environment moves me to a mental and spiritual process of gathering myself in. I’m grateful for the natural slowing down of Autumn when we’re inside more and attentive to the quiet. This posture leaves me more margin in my life to say ‘yes’ to God and what He’s called me to do, instead of overextending myself when I shouldn’t.

4. Cooking, Baking = Creativity.

We’ve had some humdinger, hot summers in Seattle the last couple of years and the last place I’ve wanted to be is in the kitchen. Now that the days are much cooler, I relish the chance to return to cooking and baking, especially on Sunday. That probably sounds odd, but it’s how I sabbath in the Fall. Rest to me looks like creativity–make something or organize something. I spend most of my days working with words, which requires a lot of attention to this old brain. Working with my hands leaves my mind free to process, another way to build white space and margin into my days. Plus, banana bread. It’s a win-win.

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My daughter Leah and I in the kitchen. A very long time ago. (I mean, look at the floor. Can we talk about the floor?)

5. Fresh Starts

Rosh Hashanah–When I taught in Hebrew school several years ago I welcomed the immersion into Jewish practices surrounding the beginning of the year. Rosh Hashanah literally means ‘the Head of the Year’ and signals the beginning of the Jewish New Year. How interesting that this head of the year coincides with the first day of school, a time for new beginnings, no matter whether it’s Kindergarten or college. When I read back through my journals each year I find a record of God bringing the most dramatic changes in my life in each successive September. As a Christian I love the way God weaves the Hebrew festivals into our New Testament understanding of Scripture. Our lives as believers in Messiah Jesus are a reflection of the type and shadow of those festivals God gave His people from the very beginning. I love being part of that. 35a52-sam_0246

You can find out more about Rosh Hashanah here.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has set eternity in our hearts. I think that’s why we sense God’s call to us, soul-deep, in this season. How about you? What are your favorite things about Fall?  I’d love to hear in the comments. And as always, If you’ve liked this post, would you consider sharing it with a friend? Email, Facebook, Twitter buttons are right down below. Thank you ever so much!

Remember to sign up for my bi-monthly newsletter “Random Acts of Writing” (next edition in November.) You can sign up right here.

3 Books About Books #readupstream

 

P_20180913_172559.jpgWhen I was 12 years old I spent a lot of time reading in my bedroom. As the oldest of 5 children, hiding in the pages of a book where no one could find me was a favorite pasttime. It also kept me away from the hubbub of my siblings.

Two books that shaped me as a pre-adolescent, bookish big sister were Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women  (1879) and Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter (1904). I loved Little Women because I so identified with the main character–Jo. Although my given name is Joanna, my mother always called me Jo; I liked it’s old-timey sound. Alcott’s heroine was also bossy (like me) and wanted to be a writer some day, as did I, although I didn’t know it at the time.

I identified with the story of Freckles, the orphaned boy who lived in a cathedral of trees, as I, too, had been orphaned in a sense. My birth father deserted our family when I was 5 and although my mother remarried, I spent the rest of my life looking for the man whose DNA was mine alone. Freckles was the first story I ever read where I understood the sense of a divine Creator who was intimately acquainted with my life.

To quote Thoreau, “How many a man (or woman) has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book!” For me, it was Little Women and Freckles. Although Little Women is long gone, the copy of Freckles I had as a 12 year old sits quietly on my living room shelf. Inside, neatly inscribed under my name on the inside front cover, is the address of my house with the hideaway bedroom.

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At their core, a good story will touch and shape us in ways we can oftentimes never explain. And there are so many good stories to choose from!

3 new books have just been released (on the same day!) to help you with What to Read Next. I’ll list each one below, but full disclosure, I have only read 2 of the 3 titles. So many books, so little time, right? 

1.  Anne Bogel–I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life

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You may know Anne from her website and podcast as Modern Mrs. Darcy. She has always been about all things bookish and finally gathered her thoughts in this lovely volume. Here is a recap of “I’d Rather Be Reading” from the Publisher’s Website:

For so many of us, reading isn’t just a hobby or a way to pass the time—it’s a lifestyle. Our books shape us, define us, enchant us, and even sometimes infuriate us. Our books are a part of who we are as people, and we can’t imagine life without them. In this collection of charming and relatable reflections, beloved blogger and author Anne Bogel leads you to remember the book that first hooked you, the place where you first fell in love with reading, and all the books and moments afterward that helped make you the reader you are today.

I’d Rather Be Reading is the perfect gift for any bibliophile and will command an honored place on the overstuffed bookshelves of any book lover.

The link above underneath the cover photo will take you right to Anne’s page to order a copy.

Karen Swallow Prior–On Reading Well

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Once upon a time I thought I might write a book about books and the way they’d shaped me. (I’d call it Book Report. So clever.) But Karen Swallow Prior wrote it instead. “Booked-Literature in the Soul of Me” was released in 2012 and I pored over the pages like a thirsty vagabond. The literature she discovered became a beacon for her own discovery of God and her journey resonated with my own.

Good stories can do that. 

Fast forward to September 2018. If “Booked” was like an appetizer for a banquet, “On Reading Well” is the feast. The book’s tagline reads, “FINDING THE GOOD LIFE through GREAT BOOKS,” said books being divided into 3 sections.

The Cardinal Virtues–Prudence, Temperance, Justice and Courage,

The Theological Virtues–Faith, Hope and Love

The Heavenly Virtues–Chastity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness and Humility.

Through classical and contemporary selections, Prior takes readers on a journey of discovering the lessons in between the lines. ORW is a more academic read than I am used to–Prior is a college professor after all–and I confess to taking things very slowly. I can see chewing on these chapters v e r y slowly, but it would be worth the time! I will come back to On Reading Well again, I’m sure.

You can order Karen’s book HERE.

Sarah Clarkson–Bookgirl

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I read way too much non-fiction. Always have; it must be the teacher in me, that desire to Know All The Things. But a visit to a gathering of Christian creatives this summer has opened my eyes to see the power of a good story to form us, not just inform. “All good stories lead to God,” my friend Laura used to say. I’m inclined to agree.

Enter Sarah Clarkson. As the daughter of author and mentor Sally Clarkson, founder with her husband of Whole Heart Ministries, Sarah was hugely impacted by her mother’s insistence as a child that she and her siblings read widely and read well. Now as a young mom, Oxford grad student and a prolific author, Sarah’s gift of enthusiasm about the power of a good story brings us this a breath of fresh air.

Bookgirl is a culmination of all she grew up with and believes passionately about being ‘storyformed.’ Rudyard Kipling, A.A. Milne, Tolkien and all 58 of the Nancy Drew books figure widely in Sarah’s childhood. There are so many other books that have formed Sarah’s life as a Christian and a voracious reader.

Discussing the term “Christian fiction,” Sarah cites the importance of discernment in reading wisely a n d widely. “Discernment has far less to do with creating an outward legalism than it does with cultivating our innermost hearts. Real discernment, I believe, springs from a heart so nourished by the true, the good, and the beautiful that what is evil simply cannot find room to root.” -from the Introduction

The timing of Bookgirl is helpful in this season as I’ve decided to add more fiction reading in my book repertoire. What it comes down to is searching for God’s kingdom–that invisible reality present between the lines of our visible world–and asking the Holy Spirit to show me the truth in the stories I’ve found.

Sarah’s book includes over 20 lists of books to begin one’s search. Lists like:

  • Novels to Help Cope with a Broken World
  • Books That Taught Me to Pray
  • Books for the Church Year
  • Poems That Opened my Eyes to Wonder
  • Books about Imagination (Why You’re Never to Old for Narnia)

“Stories shape our existence because we recognize in a deep part of ourselves that life itself is a story. The tale of the world opens with a sort of divine “once upon a time,” or “in the beginning.” -from the Introduction

From my first reading of Freckles I would concur that God has been speaking His own “Once Upon a Time” story over me and into my life since I was born. I look forward to discovering what other books He has in store to show me more of His presence and His kingdom. My copy of Bookgirl has just arrived and there is a treasure chest inside–I can’t wait to dive in!

You can order your copy of Bookgirl  HERE.

Happy Reading!


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Welcome to my Brand Spanking New Space!

Hello to readers new and old! ((Old and young? Recent and longtime?? I never know how to say that)).

How was your Summer?! Mine was busy with lots of travel–to Southern California and Santa Fe–remarkable and rich! Home remodeling–yay, a new sliding door! Plus full and fun (exhausting) visits with our five grandkids. But so.worth.it. 

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Santa Fe Sky, St. John’s College. Just God showing off.Since we last said hello around the end of July, my amazing Webgal Gretchen (whom I refer to as the Fairy Godmother), has been working behind the scenes to work her magic. I felt like all I did is dust off the furniture and move things around to make things more organized.  But s h e hung all the pictures.

Isn’t it gorgeous??

Why a New Look?

Glad you asked. As God has refined my presence and purpose here on the internet, I’ve discovered my gift to you, dear Reader, is to serve as a kind of virtual Bulletin Board where folks can find information, inspiration and encouragement. I’ll be sharing about everything from the particulars of writing and the journey of putting one’s work out in the world, to directing you to resources for illuminating poetry, new Christian voices and some helpful lists, too. (You’ll find a few up there under the ‘Lists’ tab right now).

After a visit last Spring to a Christian writer’s conference, I came back more committed than ever to also feature weekly essays about the work of two groups of people underrepresented (IMHO) in the blogosphere, Faith Writers Over 50 (The Sage Ones) and Christian Writers of Color. There will be interviews and book reviews for you to get to know these fine folks better. 

Weekly posts might also be ‘Listicles’–Articles in a List–like

  • 10 Things I Learned at the Writer’s Conference
  • 5 Travel Tips for Uber Novices
  • 5 Online Christian Communities to Visit
  • 5 Places on the Web for Women in the Word
  • 5 Non-Profits I Trust
  • 5 Female Pastors Who Write
  • 3 Blogs about Faith and Food
  • Five Female Faith Poets You Should Know
  • 20 Christian Poets of the Twentieth Century

You’ll find occasional poetry (mine) and a new book announcement at the end of the year.

Under Resources, you’ll find my Editing Services and soon-to-be-launched ‘Self Publishing 101’, a topic that has garnered interest among many writers. I’m also working on a Speaker page (if you’ve been part of a gathering where I had a chance to say a few words, I’d be so grateful if you could share your remarks in the Comments below. I’ll contact you if you don’t mind me using your thoughts later).

And, since I got a ‘big girl’ camera the first of June, I’ll be changing the photos from time to time at the ribbon across the top. Sunsets and flowers are favorite subjects. And the way light falls across a room. Or a floor.

I do hope you’ll subscribe for once-a-week posts from yours truly as I share the wonders of this wide world with you.  Simply enter your email in the “Sign up Here to Receive Exclusive Content” box and you’ll be on your way.

I also have the next edition of my newsletter waiting in the wings–for which you can sign up right HERE.

While things have been quiet-ish here, some of my poetry found its way into two fine publications–print and online.

‘Revelation’ is in the newest issue of iola magazine, ‘Bloom’. You can order it here (and get a free book!) There is much to love in this second edition and I’m honored to be a small part of this beautiful endeavor.

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And, although a serious topic, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a poem I penned about the suicide of a lifelong friend at the end of May. Wrapping words around the world is the way I process things, so I wrote a poem. You can read “For D.” here at Barren Magazine online. It was one of the Editor’s Picks for the inaugural issue; that kinda blew me away. 

While I think launching this new website is a Very Big Deal, I realize in the grand scheme of things it isn’t likely to do much for world peace or global warming. I can’t solve the U. S. trade deficit or make sure that hungry children in this world will be fed. 

What I can do, however, is pick up the pen (or the keyboard) that’s in my hand and offer you a glimpse of God’s glory through the people and the world He’s made. We are surrounded by beauty and wonder and creativity if we only could see it; perhaps my job is to hand you a telescope and say, “hey, look at this!”

Actually, I think if we all just did our own little square (instead of the entire quilt, as the saying goes) we’d make a whole lotta difference right where we are.

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That’s all for now. In the grand scheme of things.

Just one more thing: If you know someone who’d enjoy my work, please share the love.  Buttons are right below. Bless you!