When Your Workout Includes Wait Training

I want to fly these dumbbells

up, down, up, down

quick! The momentum of each

lift rising at my side pushing past

perhaps what’s safe or wise

in the name of what? Speed

or yes, the checklist-exercise-

done! When I slow instead,

face the window and raise

these weighted arms slow,

slow, slow-up; slow, slow, slow-

down-the strain increases but the

work muscle-wise is longer lasting.

I feel the wait and wonder if speed

is highly overrated. Aware of the

answer, I rest into the process

lifting again, lowering at my leisure.

Repeat.Relax.Rest.Return.

And find a lesson in these weights,

an exercise written over taut skin,

reaching to my soul.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’m heading to the Cascade Mountains of Washington for a weeklong writing project (first draft of my little book!). I covet your prayers for this process–I’d like to speed it up, but God keeps reminding me He’s with me while I wait on Him for the words.

Start Small, Start Now

Yes, here I am on a Wednesday, writing a little something for you, dear readers.

I’ll keep it short–my random brain is considering a quarterly newsletter communique to stay in touch. In keeping with my ‘start small.start now’ mantra for the New Year–what practices will move you towards who God has made you to be?–I’m extending my reach with another writing avenue beyond this blog.

doubts-declarations

 

Tentatively titled, “Random Acts of Writing-the Miraculous to Mundane,” my newsletter will be a wrap up of life, faith and leftovers, so to speak, from my non-linear brain. Random Acts will also be an extension of the thoughts on “Glory Writers” our online Facebook group, sharing words to encourage, inform and uplift along with thoughts on writing, life and faith.

(By the way, if you’d like to join Glory Writers, just knock on the door. Glory Writers–Putting Faith into Words–is facilitated by myself and Emily Allen. From the description:

“Glory Writers–A vibrant community for Christian writers to find connection, inspiration & information about all aspects of writing, blogging & publishing. This group is a catalyst for encouraging and growing writers of faith from where they are to where they want to be, through weekly opportunities for sharing writing projects, questions and comments and Monday Facebook live videos.
Come join us!”  
We’re a closed group, but would love to welcome you.)

So, would you like to receive such a compendium? Perhaps your friends would? Let me know in the Comments by leaving your email address and I’ll add you to the list.

First issue–March 15th–woohoo!

 

What to Do When You’re Distracted

“I had more freedom now and I had to feel my way into it, see which barriers had fallen and which still were up… I couldn’t be satisfied until I knew the boundaries and where the openings were, if any.”   Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow, c. 2000

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When Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction…But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it,” I think He meant the words more as a protection than anything else. A protection and a promise. (Matthew 7:13,14)

I am very easily distracted, especially by other folks’ words. If there are conversations going on around me while I’m trying to listen to a friend, I have a hard time focusing. And when I have too many words—virtual or on paper, it’s almost as difficult to concentrate or hear. (I recently donated two enormous shopping bags of books to Goodwill because it was too “noisy” in my living room.)

In the wake of the recent Presidential election, I almost let the weight of All the Words crush me. Everyone had an opinion or argument, even fellow believers. Especially fellow believers.

dsci0003

Besides being easily distracted, I have a knack for people-pleasing and being easily influenced. I began engaging in online conversations just to have my say or prove my point. In the process, I almost forgot who I was and what God has called me to.

Of course, our enemy would like nothing better than for us to engage in conversations that add no fruit to our lives or further God’s kingdom. Distractions can be helpful in accomplishing this. Those verbal pathways don’t have to be evil or dangerous, but if they’re not part of my journey, I don’t need to be going there.  Continue reading

My Favorite Things, {Vol. Two} a.k.a. The Middle Pages


Lake Union Dock, Seattle, photo by the author
‘My Favorite Things’–sporadic gathering of posts you may have missed because they’re buried in The Middle Pages. You know what I mean, eight pages into the ‘A’ Section of the paper you find a story you think belongs on the Front Page.  “Why is that buried there? I almost missed it!” Well, you’re in luck.
 Here are few thoughtful gleanings from the virtual pages of the interwebs. Enjoy!
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1. Sometimes in the writerly world one feels bereft of energy and vision.  Does my voice really matter? Author Kimberlee Conway Ireton says yes. We write (well, she writes) for three powerful reasons:
Becoming Ourselves

2. I had grandiose plans to dive intentionally into God’s Word this year. You know, with a plan….then my friend Christy Tennant Krispin, who blogs at ‘Coffee Stains on My Bible’, came up with 52 Weeks of Wisdom.  I can’t quite keep up with her, but maybe you can? 
Christy’s Weekly Wisdom

3.  Ashley Hales is a little busy–four kids, blogging–at Circling the Story, oh, and a husband who’s starting a new church.  ‘Quiet time’ is not to be found–so she finds Jesus when she’s dancing.  This post for The Mudroom Blog made me smile. 
What if Presence is the Only Revelation You Need?

4.  Kelly Greer and I met at the Faith and Culture Conference in Oregon two years ago and have been communicating virtually ever since. A bout with cancer kept her world sidelined for a while but now she’s jumping back in to blogging.  Kelly is one of our Glory Writers (come visit our Facebook page!)  Here is her guest post for Diane Bailey:  
Hello from the other side of the calendar

5. This post by Esther Emery for the Mudroom had me weeping in the library. Sometimes only your soul knows what’s buried deep, then someone’s words undo it all….

“I’ve been carried by revelations these last six years. God came for me with a long arm, like Jesus calling. I wasn’t asking in any way that felt to me like asking. I mean, I was asking, come to think of it, pretty desperately. But I was asking for knowledge that I could control. I was not asking for this other kind of knowledge, the kind that comes in backwards and tells you things that you don’t believe.”
What Revelation has to do with the Cheshire Cat (and other things I didn’t know)

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Linking with Missional Women for Faith-Filled Fridays

DWELL–Retreat Announcement–Join Us?



I’ve been waiting to share this almost-a-secret for two months–ta da!

After last fall’s Abide writing retreat, which Kimberlee Conway Ireton and I both felt was a little glimmer of Heaven, we were very excited to hold another retreat. This one will be different, of course but we’re going to try to keep the same spirit of waiting on God and communing with one another that characterized ‘Abide.’


This September, we’ll be heading back to Grunewald Guild for a weekend of worship, writing, sharing, prayer, and community. Our desire is to create a quiet, relaxed retreat for women writers—space to write and create, to pray and worship, to connect at a heart level with other women writers, and enjoy the beauty of the natural world.
For those who want to be social, there will be plenty of time for connection over meals, over an art activity, and during the sessions. And for those who want to be quiet or alone, there will be lots of time to simply be (or write or hike or sleep)—we are intentionally keeping the retreat slow-paced and contemplative. We want you to come home refreshed and rested and energized for the work ahead.

Our theme for 2016 is ‘Dwell: How does Jesus live through our art?’

We dwell in Christ—and He in us. How then does He live through our art? Over the weekend we will prayerfully consider this question and explore a variety of possible answers.  

Our key Scriptures will focus on Christ indwelling us, and our dwelling in God. 

We’d like to spread wide our narrow embrace to encompass more—more possibility, more creativity, more beauty. More God. We hope and pray that this weekend, like last year’s retreat, will be the beginning of that wider embrace. If you’re interested in joining us, here’s everything you need to know:

WHAT: a weekend of worship, laughter (and maybe some tears), and camaraderie among women writers of faith. Kimberlee will facilitate lectio divina with our Scripture passage, plus a writing activity or two (at least one involving POETRY, of course.) There will perhaps be a guided writing time led by Jody as well.
WHO: YOU, we hope. (Well, and Kimberlee and I 🙂
WHEN Friday, September 9 – Sunday, September 11, 2016
We’ll start around 5 on Friday evening and finish up around noon on Sunday.
WHERE: Grunewald Guild (http://www.grunewaldguild.com/), near Leavenworth, WA

HOW MUCH $$: We have several options for lodging that affect the price. All prices include 5 meals (dinner Friday through brunch on Sunday).
Option 1: Shared room (one roommate): 
            $219 early bird (by March 1); $259 regular (after March 1)
Option 2: Private room (your own slice of silence): 
            $259 early bird (by March 1); $299 regular (after March 1)
Option 3: Dorm-style room (up to roomies; twin beds, 1 bathroom downstairs–rooms are above the Library) $159 early bird (by March 1); $199 regular (after March 1)
All shared and private rooms have a sink in the room. Toilet and showers are shared among all residents on a floor. Towels and bed linens are provided. (Toiletries are not.) Please note there are a limited number of private rooms and limited beds in the dorm. We’ll be handing them out on a first-come, first-served basis. For that matter, there are a limited number of shared rooms, too.
All meals are eaten communally in the Dining Hall in the Main Centrum Building.
We’ve got room for 20 people, friends, so get your registration in ASAP to reserve your spot!

How to sign up: Shoot me an email (heyjode70atyahoo dot com) with your ‘Yes’, along with your name, snail mail and email addresses, phone number, and room preference. I will be setting up a Paypal account this year, so payment will be easy.

Your spot is reserved once we’ve received your email 
AND your payment in full. 
(Keep that early bird deadline of March 1 in mind!)
Please prayerfully consider whether Dwell is a place that God would like to meet you.
It’s not for everyone, but maybe it’s for you?

If you’d like to read more about last year’s time together, 
here are some links from my blog, Three Way Light