Why Waiting Matters {and a quiet announcement}

True confession—I am a very impulsive person.  On the DISC personality test** I score as a High “I”—impetuous, impulsive, intuitive and easily influenced.

By the grace of God and years of practice I have learned how to not blurt out everything I think all at once. Strike that—I am learning.

Being still and quiet are also a job of work for me, practices I’ve been very intentional about for the past few years. I am desperate to hear God’s voice and listening for Him to speak takes significant effort.

But the greatest area of growth for me is learning to wait on God for my our good ideas to pan out. Hardest thing ever. When I receive an idea for something it is very difficult to understand that good things take time. And if the inspiration is truly a God-idea, not just a good idea, waiting is a wise choice.

I’m also a global learner; I process many, many thoughts all at once,  like the spokes of a wheel going out from the center. I think of it as my God-dependent mind being in the middle and all my scattered, happening-at-the-same-time thoughts circling on the outside.

Given my all-at-once information processing and do-it-right-now mindset you can clearly see why “slow down, take your time, think first” don’t always come naturally to me.

It’s pretty clear I’m not the only who struggles with this. Our society has normalized, not patience, but speed and hurry. We want what we want and we want it now.  This is not because we have developed such short attention spans, which is true to a point, but because we’re willing to settle for so little.

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I’ve been spending some time in Psalm 46 the last week or so, meditating on several verses, particularly the familiar v. 10, “Be still and know that I am God.”  Or, as the Amplified Bible puts it, “Let be and be still, and know—recognize and understand—that I am God.”

Here’s what I noticed: how many times the author says, “Selah.”  “Selah” is a musical term which means in the Hebrew ‘suspension {of music}, pause.’  THREE TIMES in this very short Psalm we read, “Selah”, pause, slow down, pay attention, think about this, these words are important.

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I am in a waiting mode right now, albeit an active waiting mode, because I am writing a book. I’ll tell you more about it in the coming months (or you can email me for the book synopsis). I am learning why waiting is worth it.

Launching a book into the world is a huge feat, as many of you know. I have to finish my book proposal by Jan. 31st, have it reviewed, begin writing the book, send the manuscript to an editor (scary!), incorporate edits, work on marketing, choose a cover, get it published and voila! you’ll have it in your hands.

By October. That’s ten months from now. However.

The process provides the time to tell the world about the book, to build anticipation and suspense, so when you finally hold a copy in your hands you’ll say, “This was worth waiting for.” Sort of like the Academy Awards but without the gowns.

Here’s the thing: I want the end product to be the best it can be so I’m willing to invest the time it takes to do it right.

I can skimp on costs for this book-to-be: cover and content, accelerate the production effort, neglect to market it, etc. etc. all in the name of getting my words out there sooner. End result? I’d be settling for second best. I want something beautiful, well done and a work that makes God look good, so I’m choosing to ‘selah’ early and often on this book journey.

Will you join me in the waiting. I’m counting on it.


**if you want to know more about the DISC assessment, click HERE

 

How Not to Be Intimidated by this Great Big Year

For someone who considers herself a writer (I do. I am.) it amuses me and surprises others when I announce, if asked, that I’m not interested in writing a book. Well except maybe my memoir–isn’t everyone writing a memoir? 

But writing an actual book? No. I know how much time and effort goes into such an endeavor–why would I opt for that?

Except that well, maybe I am. The book idea literally dropped into my brain the other night after the long ride home from a Christmas visit to my son’s. I had a few Deep Thoughts while traveling in the car, a reflective time of our four days together, but I had no idea my thoughts would turn into anything. When I sat down to download my thoughts on paper I ended up with an outline, chapter sections, an introduction and marketing plan.

I’m sure every author starts in such an inspired fashion. Of course the hard part, the seemingly impossible part, is to finish the job with the perspiration part, to misquote Einstein.

But this post is not about the book idea but the idea of a book. Those are two different things.

For everything we do begins with an idea. And it’s the DOING that sometimes keeps us from even beginning.

Our pastor’s message last Sunday was about Nehemiah’s rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. Prodded by a broken heart for the condition of God’s city, Nehemiah asked for permission from the King to return to Judah and assess the situation. He began the task alone under cover of dark, surveying the project and noting what needed to be done.

After Nehemiah gathered the information, he returned to the King and asked to begin the work. Permission was granted; Nehemiah solicited help and commenced building, stone by stone, day by day. And 52 days later they were done.

The point of the message: Start Small. Start Now.

Maybe the tasks or ideas before you will take more than 52 days to complete–life changing work usually does–but that shouldn’t frighten you from taking the first step.

What is your small step?

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

Beauty in a Broken World

       “The whole universe was stilled as though listening for a voice. For the space of one heart-beat there was peace on earth. For one fraction of a moment there was no deed of violence wrought on the earth, no hatred, no fire, no whirlwind, no pain, no fear.  Existence rested against the heart of God, then sighed and journeyed again.

        “…in each of them there was an infinitesimal change. A moment that comes perhaps once in a thousand years had touched them in passing and though the experience of perfection is feather-light it brands like fire.
        “It all stopped making a noise,” she said. “And God said something in a small voice.”                                     ‘Green Dolphin Country, c. 1945, Elizabeth Goudge           
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         A few weeks ago I changed the tagline of my blog to “Words.Beauty.Books.” to signify a shift in my focus and thinking.  Originally my blog title was a banner for writing posts that would “shine, reveal and reflect God’s Glory.”  My pieces were Scripture-focused, lesson-filled, full of my bright ideas—to encourage people in their faith, share my opinions and often make a point (because everyone’s entitled to my opinion, yes?)
       In a slow genesis of change I realized my own inspiration came from reading books filled with great story, beautiful language and from poetry that did the same. As a good friend says, “All good stories lead to God.” 
     I see God in the creativity of gifted writers online** whose words leave me breathless with their expression and creativity, pulling me upwards, beyond myself, to come up higher.
        “Words.Beauty.Books”,not  because I didn’t want to talk about The Book, the only one that matters, but because I want my readers to find an oasis away from issues that divide and distract, to rest in a small space that would fill them and add to their lives. To inspire them to search for the God of beauty, the author of all that is good and creative in this world.
      There’s a foolishness, I suppose, in ignoring the disheveled state of this world, its disarray and discord, disaster and discontent. We have a role and a right and a calling, many feel, to speak to the issues and events of our day, to frame them in a Godward way.       There are many believers doing just that, though I often wonder if the crisis of the day isn’t becoming just one more distraction to keep us focused on the present horrors rather than looking to Jesus to find how He would have us respond.
      If, to keep my soul and sanity, I cast my eyes instead to truth and beauty—words, music, art—am I really playing the fool or dabbling in some wisdom on that same Godward side? If I focus on filling my heart and soul on the triumph that can overcome trials, not because they aren’t there, but because I can see past them, that is a good thing, in my humble opinion.
     And if I pass on that peace, the pleasant prose that might heal instead of add to your heaviness, wouldn’t that be a good thing, too?
     It is no secret that there are horrific, evil events toppling many corners of the world today. The terrorist attacks in Paris and the accompanying concern over the flood of immigrants has shaken us worldwide. 
     But to keep my center and marshal my emotional and mental defenses, I find my health and vigor comes when I’m reminded there is also a power for good in this world that will never be defeated. Sometimes that power comes from the simple act of writing a well-turned, lavish line of poetry or prose, pointing still and again to the Author that will always have the last word.
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 “How to Avoid a Noisy Soul” John Blase(the beautiful due)
November 12, 2015
How do you keep a soft heart in an exhausting
culture where a little colorblind boy in
baseball cap with coffee in one hand
and a gun in the other gets a viral hard-on
and we’re the ones who stroked him?
How do you keep your sanity in a crazy
time when self-hatred poses as forward thinking
and we rip off every god-given outer
detail so we can look at one another
with what, super duper x-ray vision?

In other words, how do you avoid a noisy soul?
Our thousand answers converge here:
     You must keep something beautiful in your mind.
Hold it there like a treasure.
When thieves come, and they will,
bare your teeth and growl and bark NO.
Such meekness will walk away with everything (wink)
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**Lanier Ivester comes to mind
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Joining other like-minded bloggers over at
Thought Provoking Thursdays link – up.
Join us?