Tag Archives: Festival of Faith & Writing

In Which I Speak of Buying Books & Saying Hello


Golden Gardens Park, Seattle WA, end of summer jlc.

Dear Faithful (and new) Readers~Hello! You might remember back in January when I posted here about spending  my writing efforts in other arenas and that I would henceforth no longer be writing regularly in this space.
Well~things change and God nudges and it’s the first day of Autumn, always a marker for new beginnings. So I am writing to you anew. You may find more poetry here in the coming months as I’ve discovered a latent passion for both reading and writing it. You may also see topics a little more wide ranging than in the past; I look forward to sharing with you what comes to mind and pours out through my pen. Thank you for coming along.

In the meantime, let’s talk about books.

I know you’re as chagrined as I am that all things Halloween and Harvest are now overflowing at nearly every store you see. And alas, the holiday season isn’t far behind. (At my local Michael’s it’s already here. Sigh).

Thoughts of holiday gift-giving and receiving always bring to mind books I’d love to have or want to purchase. And I’m guessing you have many folks to consider as well when it comes to gifting, whether during the holidays or year round for birthdays and such. (Speaking of books about the holidays, I wrote one that I think you’ll find fun and helpful and encouraging–Living the Season Well-Reclaiming Christmas. You can purchase a copy from Indiebound, Books a Million and Barnes & Noble–all listed below). 

But here’s the thing about buying books. The behemoth that is Amazon has nearly swamped the world with its reach and taken the soul out of bookselling and buying. And while I enjoy the ease with which I can purchase everything from bubble bath, to my favorite music and new baby clothes for my granddaughter from my phone…. well, part of me just really wants to do the Christian thing and put the soul back into commerce and spend my money somewhere there’s an actual human.

Consider this my feeble attempt at holding back the tsunami that is ecommerce. (I live in Seattleland where Amazon is headquartered. This is no small feat.)

In the years that I have been attending writing conferences and workshops and retreats I’ve met some fine folks in person who actually are still in business as Christian booksellers and who could really use our money and support. (Two are listed below).

Continue reading

#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.)


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.
    peabiddies logo
    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.
    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 met Susan Mulder live and in person last April 2018 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.


  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.


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.” You can sign up right here.

“The Sage Ones”–Ten Faith Writers Over 50

After my April visit to the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College (Grand Rapids MI), I came home resolved to do two things better with my small place on the internet. One of those resolutions is to champion the voices of women faith writers over the age of 50, vastly underrepresented in the webosphere, in my humble opinion. Of course, being over 50 (over 60) myself, I was keenly aware of the lack of more seasoned, experience writers speaking into the lives of younger people.
To that end, I reached out to 10 women whom I had either met in person over the years or whose work I had been following from afar. Each one graciously said “yes! count me in!”, sending me their photos and bios (told in first, second or third person, just to keep you on your toes.) 
May I present to you The Sage Ones–writers whose voices of experience, wisdom and wit are a much-needed commodity in our youth-obsessed culture. I hope you’ll look for their words online and connect via social media channels, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. 
  1. Deidra Riggs                       Headshot 2018

I’m an author, speaker, and unashamed disco-lover. My husband and I are the happy inhabitants of an empty nest in Bloomfield, Connecticut. We are the proud parents of two adult children whom we love, practically to death, and Santana, our brilliant farm dog (we named her after Carlos, the musician), and Sasha Fierce, our high-maintenance Shi-Poo. 

My public writing and speaking most often seeks to gently nudge the status quo, introduce you to interesting people, and celebrate your right-now-right-here life, so that the best kind of love can take root in your soul.

I’m the author of two books: “Every Little Thing: Making a World of Difference Right Where You Are,” and “ONE: Unity in a Divided World.”

You can find Deidra online on her blog as well on Instagram.

  1. Diana Trautwein                     IMG_5651

You can call her Pastor Diana, Mom, Nana, Honey or ‘hey you, with the white hair,’ “all of them are who I am,” Diana says. Married to Richard for over 50 years, mom to three amazing adult kids (and MIL to three perfect partners for each), grandmother to 8 (ages 8-27), Pastor in two congregations after midlife, occasional blog writer, monthly essayist at SheLovesMagazine.com, writer of 2 e-books and a monthly newsletter/photo journal, Diana is retired from pastoral ministry and offers spiritual direction in her Northern California home and via Skype/FaceTime.

Diana’s words can be found at www.dianatrautwein.  She’s also on Instagram, Facebook and “very occasionally” Twitter @drgtrautwein.

  1. Elizabeth Stewart                       me

Elizabeth Stewart is a young at heart 60-year-old who is passionate about making the rest of her life the best of her life and encouraging others to do the same. She is a whole-hearted Jesus follower who has been married to her pastor husband for over 40 years. She has three wonderful daughters, three great sons-in-law, and six amazing grandchildren. Elizabeth is active in teaching God’s Word and mentoring others in her Portland-area church and through their various outreach ministries.

She writes regularly on her personal blog, justfollowingjesus.com and weekly for Woman to Woman ministries, and is pursuing her interest in writing, her love of photography, and her passion for all things creative and beautiful.

4. Karen Swallow Prior             drPrior-52-edit-b

Karen Swallow Prior is Professor of English at Liberty University in Virginia, where her academic focus is British literature, with a specialty in the eighteenth century. She loves this period for its emphasis on philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, and community, as well as its efforts at correcting the universal human impulse to gravitate toward extremes.

Her writing appears at Christianity TodayThe AtlanticThe Washington PostFirst ThingsVoxThink Christian, The Gospel Coalition, Books and Culture and other places. She is the author of Booked, Literature in the Soul of Me (T. S. Poetry Press, 2012), and Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More–Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist (Thomas Nelson, 2014), and the forthcoming On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Literature (Brazos, 2018).

Karen and her husband live in rural Virginia with sundry dogs, horses, and chickens, where she is currently recuperating from being hit by a bus. That story is here. Although, judging from all her posts on Twitter, it hasn’t slowed her down much. 

5. Lancia Smith                                          Lancia 1 v6 4x6 fade

Lancia E. Smith is an author, photographer, teacher, and business owner based in northern Colorado. She is founder The Cultivating Project and editor-in-chief of Cultivating, the quarterly online magazine dedicated to encouraging and inspiring believers engaged in creative endeavors. A grateful lover of the Triune God and passionate about spiritual formation, Lancia teaches in conferences and workshops across the United States and in England.

She and her husband Peter run a thriving environmental and engineering firm and try to keep up with their rambling house and gardens in Colorado, called House on the Way. Lancia has been blogging and running websites since 2005 and writing since she could hold a pen.

6. Laurie Klein                              Laurie-Klein

Laurie Klein’s poetry and prose appear widely in Christian and secular journals, anthologies, audiobooks, music resources and recordings. She is the author of the classic praise chorus, “I Love You, Lord,” and the poetry collection, Where the Sky Opens (Poeima Poetry Series, Cascade). A past recipient of the Thomas Merton Prize for Poetry of the Sacred, Klein also served as co-founder/consulting editor for Rock & Sling: A Journal of Literature, Art and Faith (2003-2008).

These days, helping distracted, heart-weary people refocus on God in creative ways that spark hope and wholeness enlivens her, and inclusion in Jody’s company of women generates more grins than one aging face can hold.

Klein loves her life in the Pacific Northwest: family, friends, and an elderly Labrador, fierce crossword puzzles, too many books, gardening, travel, photography, exercise class, kayaking, collage, and calligraphy. Writing bios sharply reminds her that God works wonders, over time, through surrendered lives. Visit her at lauriekleinscribe.com.

7. Leslie Leyland Fields                         l l fields

Leslie Leyland Fields is the award-winning author/editor of ten books including the newest release, an anthology of essays, The Wonder Years: 40 Women Over 40 on Aging, Faith, Beauty and Strength.  She teaches and speaks around the world on writing, forgiveness, discipleship, parenting and faith.

Every September, she runs the Harvester Island Wilderness Workshop, a writing workshop on her island in Alaska, where this year she welcomes Ann Voskamp as her guest writer. Last year Leslie hit 60 and decided that age (along with her new neck wrinkles) is cause for humility, wonder, new friends and reckless joy! 

She blogs at leslieleylandfields.com where you can also find information about this September’s Workshop. 

8. Michele Morin                                  michele m

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener in Maine who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles.  She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 30 years, and together they have four sons, two daughters-in-love, two grandchildren, and one lazy St. Bernard.

Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family.  She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.”

She blogs at Living Our Days because “the way we live our days will be, after all, the way we live our lives.”  

9. Nancy Ruegg                             Nancy R

Nancy is mother to three grown children and Nana to three granddaughters.  She is a former Elementary school teacher (26 years) and has been writing on her blog since November 2012.  Nancy loves interacting with other online writers, offering encouragement and becoming friends, especially meeting these friends face to face.

She is in the process of self-publishing a Bible study, Weaving a Tapestry of Worship. Another Bible study, Catching a Glimpse of God’s Glory, is in the wings. “Years ago” she authored a devotional booklet for Haven Ministries, Children of the Heavenly Father. More recently one of her stories was published in the anthology, Abba’s Promise (Cross River Media, 2016). Reading, writing, Bible study, playing with grandchildren, coffee with friends, and the occasional craft project fill the many happy hours of her present life-chapter called retirement.

       You can find Nancy’s blog From the Inside Out here.  

10. Shelly Hunt Wildman              shelly h wildman

Shelly Wildman is a former writing instructor at Wheaton College and author of First Ask Why: Raising Kids to Love God Through Intentional Discipleship (Kregel). Shelly holds degrees from Wheaton College (BA) and University of Illinois at Chicago (MA), but her most important life’s work has been raising her three adult daughters.

She and her husband, Brian have been married for 33 years and live in Wheaton, IL. Shelly speaks to women’s groups in the Chicago area and spends much of her free time mentoring young women. When she has time, she loves to cook, read, and travel.

        You can catch up with Shelly here.