Friday Favorites for Prayer and Writing

Thank you for joining us for Friday Favorites! Each week, Prasanta Verma and I round up our favorite links related to prayer, spirituality, and writing. We hope it will enrich your life and help you to find the best the web has to offer.

Read, enjoy, and be blessed.

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The Lord is My Everything: Psalm 23 in the Letter E via April Yamasaki (a paraphrase of a beloved psalm focused on the letter E… and other versions with different letters of the alphabet; what a neat exercise!)

How do we say goodbye? via The Red Hand Files (on regret, the past, and the privilege of saying goodbye)

Place and Pilgrimage via Lisa Colón DeLay (on this Spark My Muse podcast episode, Lisa and I talk about the resurgence of pilgrimage and a special event we’re planning for June 2020)

The Wonder Years Gathering (heads-up on two conferences in 2020 focusing on Christian spiritual formation for midlife women)

Self-Help for Fellow Refugees via Li-Young Lee (heart-stopping poetry)

The Hyphen Affair via Seth Maxon (why grammar nerds keep getting so furious with the Associated Press)

7 Common Mistakes in First-Time Memoir via Jessi Rita Hoffman (writing advice from a developmental book editor)

 

Friday Favorites for Prayer and Writing

Welcome to Friday Favorites! Each week, Prasanta Verma and I round up links that really struck us and that we’d like to share with you. We hope they will add to your writing and spiritual life. Without further ado…

Prasanta’s picks —

Postmarked via Shawn Smucker and Jen Pollock Michel (it began as a Twitter conversation but developed into a series of letters between two writers, navigating the terrain of creative work and family life)

How to Write Compelling Articles That Get Read and Shared via Nicole Bianchi (5 steps to crafting compelling articles)

“Birthday Poem for Roma Cady MacPherson Wilson 2 January 2019, aetatis suae XV” via Anthony Madrid (a stunning poem in Curator Magazine)

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Lisa’s picks —

Rhythms That Return Us to Ourselves via Marlena Graves (returning to “our senses,” or to the rhythms that once sustained and can still sustain us)

On Feeling Afraid and Finding the Edge via Kelly Chripczuk (on the subtle sway of fear)

Year of Pilgrimage – to be a pilgrim in Britain’s Green and Pleasant Land via Bess Twiston Davies (the year 2020 has been decreed the “Year of Cathedrals and Pilgrimages” by the Association of English Cathedrals. Read about the continuing popularity of the practice of pilgrimage!)

 

 

 

 

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Thank you for joining us for Friday Favorites! Each week, Prasanta Verma and I round up our favorite links related to prayer, spirituality, and writing. We hope it will enrich your life and help you to find the best the web has to offer.

Read, enjoy, and be blessed.

***

Lisa’s picks–

Breaking My Podcast Addiction via Julia Roller (social media addiction? who…me?)

Why We Must Seek God’s Presence in the Ordinary via Catherine McNeil (an invitation to see God in the ordinary moments of our days)

8 Prayers from John Chrysostom that get right to God’s heart via Kathleen N. Hattrup (little reminders that we are always in the presence of the Father)

 

Prasanta’s picks–

Recognizing Eternal Moments in Narrative Nonfiction via Kent Meyers (a craft essay on tracking down eternal moments in our writing)

The 2019 Madeleine L’Engle Conference — Walking on Water (coming up on Saturday, November 16)

Poetry from Kristin George Bagdanov (inspiring poetry from a finalist in the Omnidawn Chapbook Contest)

 

 

 

 

Friday Favorites for Prayer and Writing

Welcome to Friday Favorites, our weekly round-up of great reads and audios on the web. This fall, Prasanta Verma joins The Contemplative Writer, and she’ll be helping me bring you a selection of links to enrich your prayer and writing life.

Prasanta will be focusing on the writerly side of things, and she’ll also be making you aware of upcoming conferences of note. Prasanta is an accomplished poet and writer; find her bio here.

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Lisa’s links

Prayer as Mystery via Macrina Wiederkehr (calling on the Divine in times of trouble)

Changing Our Posture by Practicing Gratitude via Grace P. Cho (slowing down our minds and our hearts to remember, recount, and recognize…)

How Thomas Keating Gently Introduced Me to Centering Prayer via Ed Cyzewksi (discovering the gentleness of God in prayer)

 

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Prasanta’s links

Three Poems by St. Augustine via the Englewood Review of Books

Breathe Christian Writers Conference (encourages and equips writers to tell their stories; includes writers who have been featured here on Friday Favorites and is coming up on Oct. 18-19 in Grand Rapids, MI)

The Habit Podcast: Mark Meynell (this episode explores the writer’s responsibility in a culture of cynicism and contempt)

 

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Recommended Newsletters

 

We won’t always include this section, but this week, both Lisa and Prasanta have author newsletters to recommend. Consider subscribing to the following —

Charity Singleton Craig’s monthly newsletter (full of writerly thoughts and resources)

Hope Notes via Tina Osterhouse (a weekly letter with encouragement for your soul)

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WEEKLY PRAYER

A prayer from e. e. cummings:

i thank you God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any – lifted from the no
of all nothing – human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Source

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 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

CONTEMPLATIVE PROFILE: ST. AUGUSTINE AND DENISE LEVERTOV

Last week, I posted on a passage from St. Augustine’s Confessions in which Augustine longs for God to come into the house of his soul. A little home expansion is necessary, and this marks the beginning of a mystical journey–a journey inward to meet, love, and be filled by God.

Recently I found a poem by Denise Levertov (1923-1997), an American poet, which riffs on this passage from the Confessions. It’s a wonderful tribute to Augustine that sheds light on the spiritual restoration for which the saint yearns.

Take a moment to relish Levertov’s poem:

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FOR THE ASKING

‘You would not seek Me if you did not already possess Me.’

-Pascal

 

Augustine said his soul
was a house so cramped
God could barely squeeze in.
Knock down the mean partitions,
he prayed, so You may enter!
Raise the oppressive ceilings!

Augustine’s soul
didn’t become a mansion large enough
to welcome, along with God, the women he’d loved,
except for his mother (though one, perhaps,
his son’s mother, did remain to inhabit
a small dark room). God, therefore
would never have felt
fully at home as his guest.

Nevertheless,
it’s clear desire
fulfilled itself in the asking, revealing prayer’s
dynamic action, that scoops out channels
like water on stone, or builds like layers
of grainy sediment steadily
forming sandstone. The walls, with each thought,
each feeling, each word he set down,
expanded, unnoticed; the roof
rose, and a skylight opened.

***

In the last stanza of the poem, we see another theme shared by many mystics, such as Julian of Norwich–the idea of finding God in the seeking; being answered in the asking. Like Levertov, Julian of Norwich often said that seeking God is the same as finding God. But back to the matter at hand.

As I think about my own formation, about what I need to get my journey started (and in many ways it begins anew each day), I like to read Augustine and Levertov together. Levertov’s poem helps me receive Augustine’s words and provides a model for how I might converse with him.

Augustine and Levertov, a Church Father and an American poet, help me to believe that soul-expansion is possible. It starts with nothing more than a cry to God. May this spiritual expansion be mine and yours today–may a skylight open in the house of our soul.

Source

HOLY SATURDAY’S WORK: A POEM BY KELLY CHRIPCZUK

Today is Good Friday. Instead of posting our usual Friday Favorites, I thought it would be more appropriate to give us a beautiful piece on which to reflect as we head into Easter weekend.

So, today, I’d like to share a poem by Kelly Chripczuk, an amazing writer and a friend of The Contemplative Writer. Her poem, entitled “Holy Saturday’s Work,” is from her new book, Between Heaven and Earth. I hope that you’ll savor Kelly’s words today and especially tomorrow as you wait in the already-but-not-yet of Holy Saturday.

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Holy Saturday’s Work

(for that which is already, but not yet)

Go outside and kneel
beside still-sleeping beds.
Strip away all that’s dead;
the leaves, brown and curled,
and the dry, empty stems
of last year’s flowers.
Straighten, one-by-one,
the scallop-edged bricks
that have stood, leaning,
all year-long like forgotten
gravestones. Roll the giant
flowerpot aside and wonder
at the sound of stone
scraping against stone.

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Kelly Chripczuk is a writer, speaker, and spiritual director who lives on a small farm in Central PA. Read more and sign up for her monthly email reflections at www.thiscontemplativelife.org.

Kelly's book
Kelly’s new book of poems, Between Heaven and Earth, is available here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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, we’re exploring posts and podcasts on Lent, writing, and #WOCwithpens. Do you have an article/post to recommend? Please let me know! 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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There is a Burning Bush Inside of Me via Tasha Burgoyne (a powerful post on embracing our weakness with God’s power) #WOCwithpens

Walking in the Jesus Way: A Lenten Journey via Diana Trautwein (Scripture and poetry each day for Lent)

3 Companions for the Wilderness via Lisa Colon DeLay and Lisa Deam (are you in the wilderness this Lent? Listen to Lisa DeLay and I talk about the desert fathers and two medieval mystics who can guide our journey)

Love Matters More Than Logic or Experience (Lectio Divina Diligens for the Third Sunday of Lent) via Carl McColman (Carl takes us through a lectio divina exercise based on a Scripture reading)

What keeps the darkness via Glynn Young (a poem after 2 Corinthians 12)

The Case for Writing in Coffee Shops: Why Malcolm Gladwell Does It, and You Should Too via Open Culture (does a coffee shop offer just the right kind of distraction for writing? Where do you write best?)