• I travel on Wednesday for the first time to Ohio, heading to a retreat for Christian creatives with other like-minded folks, some of whom I'll be meeting for the first time. My flight was cancelled as of last Saturday and I had to scramble to re book it as well as rearrange a hotel room overnight and connect with my fellow car traveling friends with whom I'll be sharing a ride.
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This 4 days away has been in the works for nearly a year and the anticipation I feel is rumbling just below the surface. Sometimes I carry far too many expectations into a situation and God needs to gently tap me on the shoulder and say, "um? This bright idea you had? Yeah, let me have it, okay? And then trust me. 'Cause I'm really in charge of your life, even if you do plan it down to the hour."
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Can you relate?
Maybe you need this message today--to live your life with an open hand and let God fill it. You can trust Him in that.
#RefinetheRetreat #spiritualpractice #letgoletGod #friendswithpens #Christianwriters #christianbloggers #amwriting #retreats
  • Happy Friday to you! For those of you who are new here, a little about me:
I am a happily married (do those go together? Why, yes they do!) Nana of 5 grands and counting, a retired Elementary teacher and published writer. My husband and I are California transplants, lo, these 27 years ago, currently living in the Seattle area, which we enjoy immensely. I love watching birds and their antics at our feeders and consider gardening as free therapy, e s p e c i a l l y pulling weeds; I need to get outside a little each day for a dose of fresh air. .
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3 words that describe me would be Connector, Encourager and Communicator.
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I enjoy spending parts of my day by translating life into words for various places in print and online. I wrote my book (Living the Season Well-Reclaiming Christmas) for clueless Evangelicals like myself to introduce the liturgies and practices of the church year into the craziness of the Christmas season. Sometimes I help other people get their words out into the world, too. .
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One random fact about me:
When I was 40 years old I graduated with my teaching degree from Fresno State. I was 3 credits short-in Science! Blergh!-before I could begin student teaching in the Fall. I chose to make up the work during the summer by going on a weeklong backpack trip. We hiked over 12,000 feet above Yosemite with a motley crew of folks young and old. I nearly died (altitude sickness) but I will never forget the astonishment of sitting on a bare granite outcropping, staring up at the moon. It seemed close enough to touch.
Surviving that trip was one of the most difficult, memorable achievements of my life.
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I became a Christian during the Jesus Movement in Southern California and by the grace of God am still learning how to lean on my savior. We worship at a Foursquare Church where I serve every other month in our Kid's ministry or sing on the worship team when I have a chance. (Singing is right up there with breathing in my book.)
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Because I think folks could use a daily dose of poetry, you'll find a live video or two from me each week in my Stories or IGTV. 
What about You? What crazy impossible thing are you most proud of?
  • Unlike Rumpelstiltskin, when it comes to walking with Jesus we don't need to stand in front of a spinning wheel waiting for the alchemy that changes straw into gold.
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God promises us on the other side of loss, difficulty and hardship that He will take the comfort we've been given and turn it into a gift for others. No matter how long it takes.
Wherever you are in the process, know that God is in the habit of redeeming e v e r y t h i n g for His glory.
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Be patient. God is there while you mine the treasure buried beneath what looked like a tragedy.
#redemption #Godsgifts #gemsforthejourney #trials #comfort #Scripture #pregnancyloss
  • Know how it is when you decide to practice something and pay attention that God is speaking everywhere? Yeah, that. 
This is only the second year I've been observing Lent and my reading choices continue to contain one 'aha' after another. As if the Divine Librarian himself (as @llbarkat has said) were in charge of the books I read.
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When I have a chance, I begin each day simply, "Jesus what do you want me to give up?" And then He says, "Give up your rights. Give up your time. Give up your plans." The invisible heart-deep, hard stuff. Sigh. Giving up coffee or sugar or chocolate would be almost easier. (Almost.) But we don't give something up in order to be instantly sanctified. This is the negative side of holiness. .
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. "Holiness means something more than the sweeping away of the old leaves of sin: it means the life of Jesus developed in us." -Lilias Trotter, Parables of the Cross
Giving up something--tangible or intangible--is only the starting point, not the goal. It is a gradual realization, change over time, as Jesus makes us more like Him.
#Christianwriters 
#Lent2019 #sanctification #holiness  #LiliasTrotter #Listening #spiritualpractice
  • The heart of Lenten practices is to make room for God to speak. Jesus spent his forty days telling the devil the truth and mostly saying "no." .
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No, I won't take a short cut masquerading as freedom.
No, I won't take your slavery masquerading as provisions.
My God will meet all my needs--physical, spiritual and emotional. .
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I want to be reminded of the same in this season of listening.
#Lent2019 #listeningasaspiritualpractice #Scripture #freedom
  • A prayer for March 7th
“…he who would not be frustrate of his hope to write well hereafter in laudable things, ought himself to be a true poem, that is, a composition and pattern of the best and honorablest things—not presuming to sing high praises of heroic men or famous cities, unless he have in himself the experience and the practice of all that which is praiseworthy.” .
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John Milton, from Milton-The Laurel Poetry Series, 1968 **** Dear God, by your grace and the power of your Holy Spirit, may I experience and practice all this which is praiseworthy, bringing you glory. Amen.
#beautymatters #poetry #madethings #imaginationredeemed #Milton
  • Parts of Speech -Jody Collins 
Now
Let
And
Yet
How can the power of my surrender
Be wrapped up in three slight letters?
A mix of mercy in a single
Syllable?
And yet.
Placed just so, like fine crystal
Refracting evening sun into
Shards of light, they precede each
Sentence, illuming my way
To the next best yes.
#grammar #listeningasaspiritualpractice
  • "God is over all things, under all things;
Outside all; within, but not enclosed;
Without, but not excluded; 
Above, but not raised up;
Below, but not depressed;
Wholly above, presiding;
Wholly without, embracing;
Wholly within, filling." -Hildevert of Lavardin, 1125, from 'Meet the Austins', Madeleine L'Engle
#readupstream #Christianauthors #beautymatters #lentenrose #hellebore
  • In the last 5 years of my teaching career I worked with kids who had autism. I learned a multitude of survival skills (my own, not theirs) ; Violent actions and flaring tempers were a weekly occurrence. More often than not the outbursts stemmed from students who deeply felt their inability to be understood and communicate was a threat to who they were. .
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Kids with processing issues need a limited amount of input-visual, auditory or physical. Things like simple commands, short sentences and limited auditory noise to make sense of what we say. 
Overusing language was often my default mode and it got me into trouble more than once. ******
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Here's what I noticed lately in my conversations with God--I actually need to speak far less and listen a whole lot more.
I think that's why, when Jesus taught about prayer, he said, "pray like this" and modeled for us The Lord's Prayer. (Aside--why is it called The Lord's Prayer? It should be called the disciples' prayer.) We often focus on the part where Jesus says to steal away into a quiet place and make our prayer time all about being somewhere alone and hidden, out of the way. As if the holiness of the moment is framed by where we are when we talk to God.
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I think that misses the point. When Jesus mentioned how to pray He also said, "Don't be like the Pharisees and use so many w o r d s." Why? "Because your Father in Heaven knows what you need before you even ask him." When I come to God I don't need to overawe Him with my verbosity. He's given us the gift of his Holy Spirit to help us with those groanings "too difficult for words." Silence and surrender can go along way in my prayer time.
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I need to LISTEN more and talk less. And remember that My Father knows what I need before I ask. To rest in the presence of God and understand His Father heart, to accept his care and concern for me. And thank Him... With a whole lot less words.
#spiritualpractice #contemplativepractices
#quiet
#Listen #wordfortheyear2019 #prayer
  • "We invent nothing, merely bearing witness/to what each morning brings again to light:" Richard Wilbur, Collected Poems (2004) "Lying"
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#payattention #spiritualpractice #poetry #Godspeaks #Christianauthors