FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! (To tell you the truth, every day feels a little like Friday right now since summer is here, my girls are out of school, and I don’t have to go to work at my day job at the school–every day a Friday is not a bad thing.)

This week, I have a great round-up of posts and podcasts about prayer, place, silence, life, and writing. It’s summer–read/listen to them by the pool or beneath your favorite tree.

And be blessed.

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For the Love of God and Place via Marlena Graves (ask the Lord how you can seek welfare in this place)

Examen Recordings via The Gravity Center (guided evening examen from Gravity retreats–a great resource!)

Rich Lewis | What to do in the Silence — The Centering Prayer Episode via Matthew Brough (on the Spirituality for Ordinary People Podcast, Matthew Brough interviews Rich Lewis on the practice of centering prayer)

Praying with the Power of Paradox via Julia Walsh (perhaps mystery is not a threat, but an awesome place to pray)

How Will You Live Your One Life? via Michelle De Rusha (on living the ordinary, unseen moments of life)

10 Ways the World is Getting Better via Leslie Leyland Fields (the news is often grim…but are there ways the world is actually getting better?)

Jane Friedman on the Business of Being a Writer (Jane Friedman talks publishing and debunks myths on The Creative Nonfiction Podcast)

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Next week, Friday Favorites will take a break while I am at a Writers’ Retreat led by Andi Cumbo-Floyd, Shawn Smucker, and Kelly Chripczuk. I’ll be leading a workshop/craft talk entitled “Write For the Market or Write For Yourself?” Will any of you be at the retreat?

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Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

 

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below.

This week’s highlights: learning to sniff, laugh, walk, stare into space, and network…among other things.

Be blessed!

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How silence stopped terrifying me, and started healing me via Anna O’Neil (letting silence heal us of our deepest wounds)

His Fresh Mercy via Ray Hollenbach (sniffing out God’s new mercies each day)

The Medicine Of Laughter via Lee Blum (when freedom feels like belly laughter!)

The Poetry of Liturgy via W. David O. Taylor (poetry as a way of accessing the heart of a people)

Writers Who Walk via Jane Davis (read excerpts from writers for whom walking is part of the creative process)

On Networking: Live-Blogging Jane Friedman’s _The Business of Being a Writer_ via Yi Shun Lai (good thoughts on what networking for writers really means)

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Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative Writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites, my weekly round-up of posts about prayer, writing, and living the contemplative and connected life. I hope you’ll enjoy this week’s finds.

As always, if you have someone else’s article or post you’d like to see featured, please let me know by Thursday at noon.

Be blessed!

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Love Each Other Deeply via April Yamasaki (a beautiful litany for Mother’s Day, which is this Sunday)

What’s the difference between Ignatian Spirituality and Centering Prayer? via Carl McColman (exploring the differences between two historical prayer practices)

For the Ones in Hiding via Tasha Burgoyne (what if our fragility is the one thing that we all have in common?)

You’d Never Know It From Looking At Her via Alia Joy (for those who need to know that they are not alone)

What To Do When Other People’s Words Leave You Feeling Bad via Traci Rhoades (when you’re haunted by hurtful words)

You Are Not The Problem via Heather Caliri (on the struggle of writing and learning to write)

Remember This the Next Time You Are Rejected via Courtney E. Martin (if you’ve ever applied to something or submitted your work, you need to read this letter)

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I also wanted to remind you, friends, about the upcoming Writers’ Retreat hosted by Andi Cumbo-Floyd, Shawn Smucker, and Kelly Chripczuk on June 22-24 in Radiant, Va. Read about it here and join us for 3 days dedicated to recharging, relaxing, and refocusing on our writing life.

Writers Retreat1

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Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative Writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

 

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below.

This week, more posts than usual focus on writing (and reading)—these are the ones that struck me this time around. I hope you’ll enjoy them and find something in them to nurture your own creativity. Be blessed!

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Humility Is Not Fun via Kaitlin Curtice (humility may not be fun, but it’s the road to the Mysteries of God)

Sabbath for Caregivers and Helpers via J. Dana Trent (making time for rest and sabbath, especially when you’re a caregiver or helper)

God of the Anxious via Leah Everson (finding the God who meets us in the wilderness of our anxiety)

Writing Saved Me from Drowning, and Other Tales of Creativity via Ashley Hales (on writing, creativity, and mothering–and giving our stories for others)

Elevating Women’s Voices at IVP via InterVarsity Press (an inspiring collection of women authors to read and follow) #ReadWomen

When The Art You Create Disappoints You via Shawn Smucker (what to do with the inevitable disappointment that comes with creating)

One Fiction Writer’s Manifesto via Erendira Ramirez-Ortega (a collection of statements on the craft of writing and a discussion of the question: why do we write and for whom?)

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Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative Writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome back to Friday Favorites after a hiatus of a couple weeks. I was at the Festival of Faith and Writing one week, and last week had some computer problems (I’m sure you know what that’s like . . .). I’m glad to be back and bringing you some of my favorite finds related to prayer, writing, and being and living well.

Many of today’s Friday Favorites feature writers I met for the first time at the Festival of Faith and Writing a couple weeks ago. It was wonderful to meet these writers in person, and it’s a joy to show you their work; I know that you’ll be blessed by these pieces.

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Saying Yes and Staying Humble: Lesson 1 from the Festival of Faith and Writing via Amanda Cleary Eastep (a report from the Festival about humility, God, gifts, and saying yes to books and writing)

Call for Creative Communion via Sister Julia Walsh (on worshiping, creating, and receiving in vulnerability and community)

In April (poem) via Prasanta Verma (a poem of awakening)

Dread Leads You Deeper via Tara Owens (Tara shares an excerpt from a wonderful new book, Mystics and Misfits: Meeting God Through St. Francis and Other Unlikely Saints, by Christiana Peterson)

Still Life via Michael Wright (I recommend this enriching newsletter about art, poetry, and life)

Speak Easy via Patricia Raybon (biblical counsel on keeping our words loving and short)

Being is the Greatest Act of Resistance via Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros (in the work of justice and peacemaking, we remain faithful to the call on our lives)

Write Your Own Obituary via Ann Kroeker (Ann suggests a unique exercise for creative writing and for life)

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The Contemplative Writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Friday Favorites are back this week! I hope you enjoy this round-up of posts on prayer, writing, and the contemplative life.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

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Feeling Frayed? Me Too. That’s Why We Need Advent via Tina Boesch (with the help of Annie Dillard, Tina explores why we need Advent in our wreck of a world)

The Image Advent Calendar via Image Journal (today, Image is launching an interactive Advent calendar!)

Marriage as a Spiritual Practice via Sarah Wells (what is the practice of marriage and how does it help us become more complete followers of Jesus?)

Gaining Me: A Plea for Self-Care via Cara Meredith (sometimes we need to advocate for ourselves as much as we advocate for others)

Rhythms of Gratitude in a Mass-Produced World via Ashley Hales (“how we can recover the simple art of remembering, nurturing small moments of sustained attention?”)

Kazuo Ishiguro: ‘Write What You Know’ Is the Stupidest Thing I’ve Ever Heard via Emily Temple (lots of hot writing tips from noted author and Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro)

Is It Too Late to Start Writing After 50? via Julie Rosenberg (yes, you can begin a successful writing career later in life)

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Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative Writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

New Book: Love Letters to Writers by Andi Cumbo-Floyd

Love-Letters-to-Writers_screen_72dpiThis is a great month for new books in our contemplative community! Last week, I reviewed Ed Cyzewski’s new book, Independent Publishing for Christian Authors. And TODAY is release day for a wonderful new book by Andi Cumbo-Floyd — Love Letters to Writers: Encouragement, Accountability, and Truth-Telling. I’m thrilled to offer an excerpt from this book below.

Andi’s book consists of 52 letters (love letters!) to writers. The letters share bits of Andi’s own writing journey and offer wisdom and encouragement for others on the writing path. For the times we’re in need of practical guidance, Andi’s book has advice, suggestions, and practices for getting our writing done each day. What about when we need a dose of hope? Yep, this book’s got that, too. With honesty and love, Andi’s letters encourage us and keep us company when the writing path is difficult.

Enjoy this excerpt from Love Letters to Writers on creating space so that our words can breathe.

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Giving Space

Dear Beautiful People,

If you would, close your eyes and imagine the most beautiful thing you’ve ever experienced. Let it pull you close . . . see the colors, hear the movement stilled for a split second, and lean into the void of nothing around the color or sound you experience. What I want you to feel, my friends, is the emptiness there. Let it tug at you, pull you in.

Now, sit where you are in this moment. Turn down the music. Dim the lights if you can. Walk outside or into a closet to quiet if you need. Feel the nothingness that is most of the space around you . . . then feel deeper, feel the energy there. Take a deep breath. And another. And another.

 

I’ve been taking a lot of deep breaths lately. This morning, I went out to the garden to harvest, as I do each morning this time of year. Usually, I put in earbuds and listen to a podcast or book, but this morning, I went out bare with the gentle intention of holding space for whatever I needed to hear or see.

I picked cucumbers and then started to walk by the asparagus beans, taking note that they had their purple blossom dresses on. But then, I slowed and bent nearer . . . and there were beans, three-foot long beauties that had been there for days—days when I had walked past this trellis fifty times. But each time, I had been so busy doing whatever it was I thought needed me that I had missed them . . .

I spent the next minutes twisting the bean vines up onto the trellis with gentle twirls so that I wouldn’t miss the beans again.

Here’s what I take from those few moments: I have to hold space to be surprised. I have to hold space to see the fruits of what I’ve done. I have to hold space for my words to find new climbing trellises. I have to hold space wide open and take the gifts that are given. 

Maybe you are much better at this than I am, but if you’re not, try this week to hold space for two things:

  1. Hold space for nothing. Intentionally create short periods (or long periods if you have them) of time where you just wander or sit on the porch and stare or look out the window at the rain. Notice what you think about, what your mind feels like, how your breath slows.
  2. Hold space for your words. Writing is not something that happens spontaneously, at least not in my experience. We have to be creating space for it, space to think, space to let ideas percolate, space for the actual manifestations of language to be noticed, and space for the physical act of extracting those words and writing them down.

So this week, my friends, try slowing down. Stare at beautiful things. Listen to music without doing anything else. Read a book for three hours in a row if you can. Give yourself space so that your words can breathe, too.

Much love,

Andi

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Andi Cumbo-Floyd head shot
Andi Cumbo-Floyd is a writer, editor, and farmer, who lives at the edge of   the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband, four dogs, four cats, six goats, three rabbits, and thirty-six chickens.  She writes regularly at andilit.com

Buy Andi’s new book on Amazon!

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

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Dr. Gregory Hillis talks about 4th and Walnut via Gregory Hillis (on this podcast, Greg dishes about his Thomas Merton class, vocation, and what Merton means to him)

Theologizing with Julian of Norwich via Fr Aidan (Alvin) Kimel (we know that Julian of Norwich was an anchoress and a mystic; was she also a theologian?)

‘I’ll Push You’: Friends, one in a wheelchair, document their Spanish pilgrimage via Emily Miller (the moving story of two friends on the Camino de Santiago in Spain)

Tourists vs. Pilgrims via Drew McIntyre (“Am I a pilgrim, or a tourist?” A good question to ask yourself every day)

Pursuing Vision Without Power or Platform via Doug Bursch (in this podcast, Doug talks about defining success in the eyes of God; take a listen if you’re feeling discouraged or alone in your ministry)

Tomorrow via Brian Allain (“Tomorrow we will write, write and not waste time . . .”)

Revision, Co-Writing, Not Giving Up, and the Voices in Your Head via Shawn Smucker (why revision is your best friend, even if it doesn’t feel like it)

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Friday Favorites is back after a break last week! I love sharing my favorite finds related to prayer and writing, and I hope you enjoy this week’s selections.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

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On Discerning the Meaning of Spiritual Experience via Carl McColman (how do you know if a spiritual experience is God-inspired?)

Climate Change via Richard Rohr (can science and religion be partners in stewarding Creation?)

Daily Lectio Divina: Isaiah 43:14-15 via Laura K Cavanaugh (a guided lectio divina podcast)

Saying No In Order to Make Room via Grace P. Cho (saying no to embrace life-giving rhythms)

Hobbies With a Purpose via April Yamasaki (loving God and loving others in our “spare” time)

The Uncontrolling Love of God via Exile Liturgy (Ryan Cagle of Exile Liturgy interviews Thomas J. Oord about God’s providence, knowledge, and non-coercive love)

Don’t Back Down: Choose the Writing Territory You Can Defend Long and Fiercely via Ginger Moran (a guest post on Jane Friedman’s blog)

BOOK OF THE MONTH: HILDEGARD OF BINGEN: A SPIRITUAL READER

Week 4: Get Your Sparkle On

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In reading Hildegard of Bingen’s work, it becomes clear that she highly valued creation and creativity. In our final week exploring Hildegard of Bingen: A Spiritual Reader, we’ll see what she says about this theme.

Two songs that Hildegard wrote tell of God as designer and animator (the titles to these songs were added by Carmen Butcher, who compiled the selections in the spiritual reader):

The First Daylight

 

You’re the Word of our Father,
the light of the first sunrise,
God’s omnipotent thought.
Before anything was made,
You saw it,
You designed it, and
You tucked Your all-seeing nature in the middle of Your sinew,
like a spinning wheel
with no beginning and no end,
still encircling everything.

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The First Verb

 

The Holy Spirit animates
all, moves
all, roots
all, forgives
all, cleanses
all, erases
all
our past mistakes, and then
puts medicine on our wounds.
We praise this Spirit of incandescence
for awakening
and reawakening
all
creation.

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In her letters, Hildegard frequently reminded others of God’s creativity. To the Abbess of Bamberg, she wrote:

In the same way that the stars illuminate the sky at night, God made humanity to sparkle. We’re created for maturity. We’re made to give out light like the sun, the moon, and the stars. If a black cloud covered these, the earth and every creature in it would worry that the end had come.

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In a letter to Pope Anastasius IV, Hildegard makes a striking moral statement about creativity. She tells the pope that we must reject corruption, injustice, and evil because they are not creative. They are a form of anti-creativity:

Don’t forget that whatever God made, radiates. So listen. Before God made the world, He said to Himself, “There’s My dear Son!” and from this original Word, the world was formed. Then God said, “Be!” and all kinds of animals appeared. Our God creates, but evil is never creative. It’s nothing, merely the by-product of rebellion. Through His Son, God saved humanity, clearly rejecting immorality—stealing, stubbornness, murder, hypocrisy, and bullies.

 

That’s why you as pope must never collude with corruption. If you do, you confuse those who look to you as their leader, because, in effect, you’re saying to them, “Embrace what’s really nothing.”

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Read more.

For reflection:

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